(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Ryan was written by Ryan Kells.)
“I never understand the importance of electricity,” Heldon stated as he watched Kelly pace back and forth in the clearing of the garden.
“Of course, you don’t. You’re prince of a medieval kingdom. There is no electricity here, and you’re fine.”
He frowned. “So…why are you flustered?”
Kelly willed herself to close her eyes and take a deep breath, and then opened her eyes to look at the prince before her. “You know how Lorrek has magic?” When Heldon nodded, she went on, “That’s a bit like what electricity is for us. Imagine how he’d be like if one day he didn’t have his magic, but thankfully the power is back on now in the real world, but it just puts me behind a bit. That’s why I came here early. Wanted to relax before the interview.” With that, Kelly sat on a log in the shadow of a tree, and she glanced up at Heldon with a smile. “You’re just the unfortunate one to be around when I rant.”
He chuckled. “A pleasure, I’m sure…”
However, before they could continue, a portal opened in the clearing. It rippled, and Kelly hopped to her feet because she knew her visitor would be coming through there in a moment. She motioned for Heldon to make himself scarce, and she folded her hands before her as her visitor passed through the portal. “Ryan Kells, very nice to meet you.” She reached a hand out to shake his. “Welcome to Cuskelom. I trust you’ve had a much better morning than I have?” She smiled warmly.
He stepped through the portal and stumbled a bit at the shift of ground beneath his feet. Catching himself he straightened up and accepted the offered hand in a firm shake. “It’s a pleasure,” he said. “Cuskelom?”
“A medieval kingdom in one of my stories.” Kelly nodded. “My characters here have been gracious enough to let me borrow their gardens for several interviews.” She motioned to their green surroundings, and then she glimpsed back at Ryan with her brows raised. “Care to join me for a walk across the stream? There’s something you may like to see.” At his nod, Kelly smiled then turned and led the way to the narrow part of the shallow stream and jumped over it.
Once Ryan had crossed as well, Kelly gestured for him to follow her through a well-worn path of the forest. “So,” she glanced his way as they walked, “When did you start writing?”
Ryan almost missed the question at first, distracted by attempting to keep his head on a swivel. There was so much to see and such beauty in the Gardens.
When Kelly hopped the stream he did step into it at first and grimaced, shaking one soaked before jumping across to join her. “I’ve been writing since I was a child, to be honest. Little stories, many of them awful. But eventually I started to get the hang of things and my work improved. I look at it as a constantly evolving skill set,” he added the last with a smile. “Only in the last two or three years have I been considering writing as a real career option.”
Kelly slowed her pace—mentally reminding herself that he wasn’t used to this place and might want to take in his surroundings. She kept forgetting that. Shaking her head with a smile, she heard what he said then furrowed her brows as they walked on. “And what helped you make that decision to make writing more of an actual career?”
He considered the question for a moment, lips pursed in thought before blowing out a breath. “I’m not honestly sure. I enjoy writing. I enjoy crafting a story and creating characters that readers will connect to.” He shrugged. “I was thinking about that saying, the one about if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life? Well I love to write, so why not? If I can make a living at doing something that I love to do, wouldn’t that be better than putting myself in a day job that I hate?”
Smiling, Kelly slid him a glance. She totally understood that, so she nodded. “I’m glad you’re taking the risk to do what you love. It’s a hard a difficult road, but if you don’t give up, and if you really believe in what you write, you can become great.” She smiled at him but then set her gaze on the hill they had to hike in the woods and started up it as she pondered her next question. “What exactly do you write? I mean, not genre—yes that too, but I mean, short stories–novels? Both?”
Ryan kept an eye on the ground as the hiked the hill. Twisting an ankle was not on his list of fun activities but he kept a focus on the discussion at the same time. “I started trying to write short stories. Now I have an issue with anything less than Seventy Thousand words in length,” he said with a quiet laugh. “I try to keep to a novel length format whenever possible. It gives me more room to develop the characters and to put them through their own personal kind of hell.” His smile had a bit of a wicked bent to it and he seemed quite pleased with himself.
She laughed, “Oh yeah, that’s the fun in novels—get to extend their torture.” With one last smirk his way, she took the final steps up the hill then halted and gestured to what was on the other side—castle ruins being overtaken by nature. “They call this the Garden of Ruins—an ancient fortress that predates the kingdom of Cuskelom itself.” She cast Ryan a smile. “I figured you might enjoy this part of the garden.”
At first sight of the ruins Ryan froze and took them in, eyes tracing rapidly back and forth across the scene. The slow battle of nature to reclaim what man defiled was breathtaking and terrifying in the same breath. “That is amazing,” he breathed. “It kind of reminds you how futile things are, doesn’t it? We can fight and scratch out our towns and cities but in the end, when we’re gone, Mother Nature is going to reclaim what’s hers, isn’t she?”
“And it’s a tragic and yet beautiful battle where not a single drop of blood is shed.” Then Kelly paused, mused, and then shrugged. “Sorry, get poetic right now. Let’s go explore, shall we? Just….don’t hurt yourself. Would hate for anyone to die in my imagination.” That of course got Kelly wondering what would happen if someone real did die in her imagination, but she dismissed the thought and led the way down the other side of the hill into the ruins where stone archways still stood and pillars lined what once were grand hall.
As they walked through the midst of the ruins, Kelly plucked another question out of her mind. “So what story are you working on now? What’s it about?”
Ryan followed carefully along as Kelly led the way into the Ruins, making careful note of anything interesting that he saw. Never could tell what might be useful in a future story. “Well, right now I am working on a Paranormal Romance Erotica. The Moon Forged Trilogy,” he said and stepped carefully over a collapsed column. “The short answer is my male character is the Son of a type of Werewolf Packs Alpha, the leader. His father is killed by a Hunter and so he goes off and kidnaps the hunters Daughter. His plan is to use her as a bargaining chip to secure the position of Pack Alpha for himself but things rather quickly go sideways on him.”
“But of curse. Can’t have anything go right for anyone, or else there would be no story.” Kelly bobbed her head and finally stepped through a doorway. Here, although vines and plants and trees grew, the main structure of this room remained intact with half-broken walls lined with pillars forming a courtyard where in the middle was a well.
Kelly went to the well, looked down into the darkness—knowing it was a long way down, but she shrugged, dismissing any danger, and turned, and helped herself onto the stone edge of the well as she face Ryan with a smile, gesturing to their surroundings. “You’re welcome to explore while we talk. Just be careful climbing stuff. I am not responsible for any injuries.” As he went about, she watched him and found another question. “So what inspired this specific story of yours?”
He tugged at his short beard for a moment, a habit he had acquired somewhere along the way but couldn’t remember when. “I’m honestly not a hundred percent certain. I remember I was thinking one day about paranormal storylines. And I started to think about how similar or dissimilar the paranormal creatures might be to their mundane counterparts.”
He poked around the corners of the space, looking into shadows and climbing around debris as he talked. “Wolves have packs. An Alpha rules the pack. There’s a structure, a hierarchy. So why wouldn’t werewolves have the same? My mind just sort of filled in the blanks from there and I decided to focus on the power struggle when an Alpha is killed unexpectedly. It mixes human attachment and emotions with animal instinct in a fun way, I think.”
“Are there vampires in your story? I ask only because where there are werewolves there are usually vampires. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Kelly shrugged. “Just an observation I’ve made.”
“Not in this story, no. I’m sticking to werewolves, or Wolf-kind, as they prefer to be called.”
“Good.” Kelly nodded her approval. “They need their own story sometime.” She watched Ryan probe their surroundings and knew he was gathering inspiration for his stories, and this made her smile—glad something here might be of use. “So…” She crossed her ankles as she sat on the edge of the well and swung her feet slightly. “Of all your characters, who is your favorite to write? And why?”
He straightened from peeking under an old stone bench and turned around to face Kelly. “William Rees. The main character for I Am The Alpha. He’s been a lot of fun. Going from kidnapper to revealing that he’s a good guy in a difficult situation. He’s got a soft side, an artist’s soul, but he’s hard as iron when needed and not afraid to fight for what’s his. I see William as a guy I’d like to have as a friend. Someone I would trust with anything. He’s a fun and fascinating character to me.”
“And was there any specific inspiration from the world you took to create him, or did he just speak to you?” She raised her brow curious, but soon she decided sitting on the edge of the well wasn’t comfortable anymore, so she hopped down and circled it, tracing her fingers on the moss and vines that had climbed through the cracks of the stone floor up the short wall of the well and began reach over the opening of the well. Then she glimpsed over her shoulder back at Ryan, awaiting his answer.
“Nothing in the real world really inspired him. He just spoke to me, developing as time went on in my head.” Ryan shrugged again, one shoulder lifting negligently before dropping again. “His house in the book is a different story. Practically my dream home that I’ve had for years.” He stepped over and looked down into the well. “How deep is this thing, anyway?”
Kelly looked down into the well and felt the suddenly urge to say, “I don’t know. Let’s find out,” and made to push him down, but she refrained herself though she chuckled and shook her head. “I’m not sure. But it’s quite a ways down. I hear once upon a time this castle was once a great fortress, but there was a battle, and the defenders lot. All the bodies of the slain were cast into the well, so no one would ever live here again. That’s one reason why it’s abandoned, but…” She looked down it once more. “We don’t know if that’s true or not. Myths and legends, you know.” She pulled back smiling at him.
However, she had to sigh and frown because she was aware of the time that had past. “Unfortunately, we need to head back to the clearly.” She motioned for him to follow as she led the way out once more. “So, with your story, if there’s a lesson in it to be learned, what would that lesson be?”
Ryan followed again, walking closer beside her on the return trip than he had on the way there. “That’s hard to say. Determination not to give up. Finding the strength to fight when you need to. The challenges that William and Chloe face in the story shifts both their views of the world. Chloe in particular as she never knew her father was a Hunter or that the Wolf-kind even existed. If anything, I like to think the love they find in each other gives them much needed strength. I think that’s the real lesson,” he said with a hint of surprise, as if the thought had just occurred to him. “Life throws a lot at us. Finding something to fight for, to stand strong for is important. And if that something is a person that you can share your life with who truly loves you and who you love fully in return? I think that’s rather beautiful.”
“It is very beautiful indeed. If only people didn’t get sidetracked looking for that person but just living your life and let that person come along.” Kelly shook her head thinking of too many people she knew in real life. But shaking her head, she glanced at Ryan with a smile. “Your story sounds intriguing but with beauty—a good balance. Will this be your first book to publish, or have you published others?” While listening for his response, Kelly reached the top of the hill and headed down—carefully. Some of the soil here could give way easily, and the last thing she wanted to do was stumble downhill, but she’d made this trek many times, so she knew the way.
“This will be my first publish. AJ Downey actually gave me the push I needed and co-authored the book with me. Without her push I would still be working on it instead of publish this August.” He set a foot down and cried out in surprise as the soil slipped away and his foot flew out from under him. He landed on his back with a heavy thud and kept yelling as he slid down the hill and tumbled a ways across the rich soil.
When he finally came to rest he laid on his back, staring up at the sky for a moment before he started to laugh. A deep belly kind of laugh that bubbled up and out of him until he was gasping for breath and tears streamed down his face. “Oh, man,” he gasped. “I must have looked like an idiot right then.” He barely cooked out that much before he fell to laughing again.
At first Kelly gasped and tried to reach for him when she saw him falling, but she missed him. She didn’t even stop to watch him tumble his way down, but she was already hastening down and managed to get to the bottom a second after he did.
By the time she came to his side, he was laughing, and Kelly placed her hands on her hips but let out a sigh of relief and shook her head. “Well, at least you’ve still got your sense of humor.” Then she looked him over, didn’t see any broken bones—thankfully—so she locked eyes with him and gave him an apologetic look. “Sorry. It’s a bit slink after some rain. Are you okay?” She offered him a hand up.
He accepted the hand and let himself be helped to his feet, still laughing quietly. “Totally alright. I really should have been watching my step.” He attempted to wipe the damn dirt from his clothes, black jeans and shirt with thick work boots bit eventually gave it up. “Just let me find my hat…” He looked around for a moment until he located the black Trilby and set it back on his head at a rackish angle before he turned and held his bent arm out toward Kelly. “Shall we?” He asked.
Kelly looked at the bent arm then at his face again and had to laugh. “Sorry, but forgive me if I decline the offer of the arm. You’re the one falling—not me, and I have absolutely not intention of ending up on the ground if you fall again.” She smiled widely but then shook her head. “But thank you—very gentlemanly of you. Now though, we really need to get back. And now I can’t even recall what other questions I was going to ask you.”
Ryan grinned and sketched a bow with a great deal of unnecessary flourish. “No offense taken at all,” he said as he straightened. “I apologize for derailing your train of thought though.”
“It’s okay. That’s life.” Kelly shrugged with a smile. “Now let’s go. The good news is, when you pass through the portal, you’ll emerge into the Real World clean, so…that’s a nice perk.” She then motioned for him to follow, and soon they were crossing the stream once more, and already the portal was open in the clearing of the garden.
Kelly turned to Ryan and held out her hand to shake his. “It was a pleasant chatting with you, and when you publish the book, let me know, so I can inform others. I hope you the very best in that endeavor.”
Ryan wiped off his hand again before he accepted hers and shook. “I will absolutely be sure to inform you. It was a pleasure and I hope we can do it again sometime.” He turned and stepped into the portal, but not without another startled cry as he stumbled over something on the other side.
Kelly shook her head as he stumbled through the portal. Maybe she needed to create a waiver for people to sign, so she wouldn’t be held responsible for whatever happened to them during these interviews. With a slight smile, Kelly turned back to the garden. She had another interview here in a few hours, so she had time to go into the palace and find something to eat.
Ryan Kells’ novel ‘I Am Alpha’ is published and can be found on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XJ42R3M Be sure to follow him on social media: