You can’t always expect mushrooms to be important in a book. But they are to this little kopala (brownie)! He lives in Shinwano, a fairy tale world of mystical creatures—courtesy of author Kandi J. Wyatt’s imagination. She slipped into Shinwano and interviewed a kopala named Cantharellus just the other day. We were lucky enough to catch the interview here.
Enjoy ~ Ian
Interview with a Brownie
By Kandi J Wyatt
Recently, I had the privilege of crossing the time-space continuum into Shinwano, a land of mythical creatures. As I did, I met a kopala, what we’d call a brownie. Upon first glance he appears to be a teddy bear, but then he moves and you realize he’s a living breathing teddy bear. Don’t try to treat him like one—I learned that the hard way. He’s rather cantankerous.
Hi, what’s your name, kopala?
The brownie looked up from where he sat with a mushroom in his hand.
I’m Cantharellus, and you are an adamiani, aren’t you?
Yes, I’m human. Have you met my kind before?
Cantharellus savors his mushroom before replying with a shrug.
Can you tell me about it?
Why should I?
Look, I was told you could tell me about life here in Shinwano, but if you’d rather eat your mushrooms, go ahead.
The little bear-like creature stands and brushes leaves out of his coat.
Why didn’t you say so in the first place? Who told you? Khe or Ladaku? You’d think I was along just for the ride and didn’t have anything to do with helping the Zavnili free Shinwano from the boroti.
I hold up my hands in confusion.
Wait. Who? What?
Adamiani! The creature sighs. I’d forgotten how much they don’t know. Fine. Did the fairy or the sanraksaka tell you about me?
He crosses his arms and waits for me to answer.
The fairy, but what were the other words you used—zavneelee and bore-oat-ey?
Cantharellus doubles over in laughter. When he composes himself, he still grins.
Zavnali. He draws the word out—zahv-nah-lee. He’s the adamiani who came here to help us. After all, he was the one to bring the boroti—evil one—to Shinwano.
So, how did you help the Zavnali?
The brownie searches the ground, bends over, and plucks a mushroom.
I was able to help track the disturbance the boroti brought to the land. Then when the boroti trapped the zavnili, I used my magic to destroy the barrier.
He breaks off a section of the mushroom and offers it to me.
No thank you.
Cantharellus shakes his head. You don’t know what you’re missing.
How was the boroti so evil?
That’s like asking how this mushroom is brown. What would you call someone who hacks off a unicorn’s horn, or strips the scales off a dragon, or pins a fairy to a tree by its wings?
Tears form in the creature’s deep brown eyes, a sight that causes me to swallow and gain my own composure.
So what’s it like living in Shinwano?
He looks around at the leafy, green trees and then turns back to me.
Most of the time life is perfect. I get to eat mushrooms to my heart’s content. Sometimes, I’m even invited to a fairy party, but it’s the sanraksaka that know how to roast mushrooms to perfection! Oh, and they’re so big, they make a heaping pile.
He pats his belly as if remembering.
Who or what are sanraksaka?
Cantharellus laughs. They’re the keepers of the dhoka’s, that’d be portals for you adamaiani. You know, the large, hairy creatures. Surely, you’ve seen them.
I stare around in confusion, and the brownie throws his hands in the air before scratching his ear as if he’s thinking.
I think the other adamiani called sanraksaka bigfoot or sass-something or other.
That was it. They have the best roast mushrooms.
He lickes his lips as if savoring them.
I wish I could try them. They sound delicious.
A cry overhead catches my attention. I look up and see a large bird, blink, and realize it’s no bird.
Is that a gryphon?
What? Oh, that? Yeah. They roam the mountains across the lake.
What other creatures live here?
There are dragons to the north, fairies in the woodlands and in the plains, fauns and centaurs here in the woods around the lake, unicorns, and of course kopala.
There are more of you?
Yeah, what of it?
I try to placate the creature by smoothing the fur on his head down. He thanks me by brushing my hand away with a growl.
If that’s all you’re going to do, I might as well head home.
You live around here? What’s your house like?
He puffs air out.
If you have to know, it’s a tree. I sleep up in a eucalyptus tree. The leaves protect me from the rain and make a wonderful bed. Now, I think that bed’s calling me.
He walks off, but turns for a final glance back.
If you ever run into an adamiani named Ana, with one ‘n’, would you tell her hello for me? I miss her.
Sure! I stare in surprise as he saunters into the underbrush.
More in book three of The Myth Coast Adventures
Protect a mythical realm or his family?
Sixteen-year-old Franklin follows a Sasquatch through a portal to the realm of Shinwano and discovers a world full of mythical creatures he never expected to actually exist. Upon returning to Myrtle Beach, Oregon, he vows to protect the land, not realizing how difficult it will be to keep his promise, especially when a poacher, an NSA agent, and his friends are interested in the portal—and all for different reasons.
When the poacher threatens his family, Franklin must reconsider his vow to protect this new world to keep his family safe. The consequences of his decision reach further than just a rift in the space-time continuum. Can Franklin live up to the trust placed on him and save this new world from an even greater danger?
Overall, I loved this book. A wonderful alternate world with such fantastic descriptions of the mythical creatures. I would love to go there myself.Beta Reviewer
Other Books in the Series
About the Author – Kandi J Wyatt
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt, had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.