(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Ryan was written by Ryan T. Nelson.)
Standing in front of the enormous windows with nothing but the blackness of space spread out before her, Kelly watched fighter jets to and fore before her, chasing one another, shooting at one another, dodging each other. She stood with her hands tucked behind her back and felt very much like the commander of this ship, but no, she was merely the creator of it, and General Cephas was gracious enough to let her meander through the ship when she mentioned she needed a setting in this story.
A portal opened beside her, but Kelly didn’t take her eyes off the fighting happening outside. She saw an individual step through the portal and the portal vanish, and finally she glimpsed his way and smiled. “War games.” She nodded to the fighting outside the window. “If they get shot three times, their craft is immediately immobilized until the game is finished. It’s like Tag in a way. That’s why we’re allowed to be here, and why this Bridge…” she motioned to the occupied bridge behind her of people—each person in their station and observing the game. “Isn’t so chaotic.” She then locked eyes with her visitor and smiled. “You said you wanted a science fiction setting and for me to surprise you, so…hope you like this!”
Ryan stepped through the portal that opened, briefly wondering how the swirling indigo aperture operated, but all thoughts of portals were quickly swept from his mind as he took in the view before him. “Holy…” At a loss for words he simply looked around and stepped up next to Kelly at the windows. “This is amazing!”
Kelly beamed as she tucked her hands behind her back. “Thank you! If you’d like, we can watch the games play out.” She motioned him closer to the window. “Or we can go exploring the ship. General Cephas agreed to our presence here as long as we don’t cause any trouble, which means I’m not allowed to push any buttons, which is unfortunate if you ask me! So which do you prefer? Stay here or go for a walk?” She cast him a glance. “Either is fine with me.”
“Go for a walk? In a Spaceship? Space station? Doesn’t matter that’s a no brainer.” Ryan offered a beaming smile and turned, gesturing for kelly to lead the way. “Let’s see what else this bird has to offer.” He reached into a knee pocket and pulled a dark brown leather notebook from his pocket. He opened it somewhere in the middle, produced a pen from another pocket and began scribbling away.
Kelly led the way out of the Bridge into a wide corridor which on one side had a view of space all the way down the hall. Kelly made sure to walk at a slow pace to allow Ryan to take notes although she did wonder how he’ll take notes while answering her questions. “So, you’re a writer—or else we wouldn’t be here. How did you get into writing? And what sort of stories do you write?”
Ryan nodded as he listened, writing in a quite description of the hallway with its open view and cold metal interior. “Getting into writing wasn’t much of a stretch. Like most writers I love to read. And every time I read a new book I would think how awesome it was to be able to do that.” He glanced over at Kelly and shrugged. “I wanted to draw the ideas I get. Like, I can picture these amazingly detailed and vivid images in my head. But I couldn’t draw my way out of a paper bag if my life depended on it. So writing it is.”
He stopped to look at a glowing panel set into the wall at about chest height. Words and symbols scrolled across it in a language he couldn’t begin to fathom and he scribbled some more in his notebook. “As far as what kind of stories I write that’s a tough question. I’ve got a story idea for almost any Genre. Any of the basics at least, not some of the more specialized ones. Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Superheroes, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal suspense, modern day detective series. I’m even working on notes for a tesla punk series set in a post apocalyptic city in the heart of the Australian Outback.”
“Wow, that sounds fascinating! Totally out of the ordinary, and I like that.” Kelly smiled at him but then thought of a part of the ship she knew he’d like to see, so she selected another corridor and motioned for him to follow. “You’ll like where I’m taking you. Come on.” As they walked, she chose another question, “So what are you working on now? Or have you published something recently?”
He tripped slightly, but caught himself and with a reluctant sigh tucked away his book. He would just have to remember to fill in notes later, otherwise he might end up walking into a wall, again. “Well right now I’m working on a few different projects. I have a Vampire novel that’s being published in a few months and the sequel is well in the works. I have the first book of another series that’s actually live on Amazon. It’s the Human+ series. Bunch of High School aged kids end up getting super powers and it all goes crazy from there. The first book is Gravity+ and I’m working on the second book in that series, Video+”
Kelly nodded as she listened to all this, and then she gestured the take a passageway on the right. “So, which of these stories do you want to talk about today? Unfortunately we don’t have time to discuss all of them right now.”
“Human+, definitely. I’m rather proud of some of my plans for the series and looking forward to getting all fifteen books out and into the hands of the public.”
They came to the end of the passage and stepped onto a balcony overlooking the ship’s main hangar.
Kelly placed her hands on the railing and looked around. The primary color was a cool metallic silver, and the structure of the bowels was massive—big enough to hold lots of fighter crafts, several larger shuttles, and a few even larger crafts. Narrow catwalks zigzagged along the walls, across the ways, connecting with one another on multiple levels that it looked like the interweaving of a skeleton to Kelly. In one way, everything had an order to it, but that order made absolutely no sense to Kelly. She figured if she ever saw the plans of the ship, she’d come to appreciate its layout.
People hastened to and from their stations as fighter crafts flew in and more flew out. The noise was overwhelming of all the engines, so Kelly motioned for Ryan to follow her up some stairs to an enclosed room to oversee the operations. “I don’t think I need to explain what’s going on down there.” She smiled at Ryan. “So tell me about this book. You say it’s a series? Fifteen books is quite a lot! How many of the books have you written?”
Ryan almost didn’t notice Kelly motion for him to follow her at first. He was rather engrossed in watching a crew service one of the sleek fighters that was sitting on what looked like the runway. A half a dozen men and woman scurried around the ship like worker ants servicing their queen and within minutes they had all cleared away and the ship took off and out into the battle.
“Yes, the Human+, and that is pronounced as the word ‘plus’. It’s going to be fifteen books and it focuses on a group of High School students.” He stepped up to the window and kept watch as more ships and people continued to scramble about in a mad sort of organized chaos. “One of them get’s into an altercation with some of the school bullies and a fight is arranged for later that evening. The rest show up to try to stop him from doing anything stupid and in the end all of them end up seeing a space craft land nearby. Kids being kids, they decide to investigate.”
“Things get weird after that and they each wake up in their own beds at home the next day with no memory of how they got there. Over the next couple of days some of them start to develop powers.” He turned and leaned back against the window with his arms crossed over his chest. “Each book is from the first person perspective of one of the main 6 characters. Book one is from Carlos’ perspective and briefly details how they become the Human+, a name his friend Richard comes up with for those with powers.”
“Right now only the first book is finished and as I mentioned it’s on Amazon now. The second book is almost finished and I’d like to have the first three done and published before the end of this year.”
“So what inspired these stories? And how exactly would you say they’re different from all the other stories about teenagers who get superpowers?” She raised her brows before glancing back out the window to watch them work. A pilot climbed out of his craft and began arguing with one of the crew members before storming away, and Kelly frowned at that.
He frowned for a moment before answering. “The inspiration is tricky. As a kid, I loved a book series called Animorphs that had a similar set up. First person perspective with a different character each book. Those kids could all turn into any animal they could touch. Once they acquired its DNA through contact it was stored and they could change into the animal at will.”
“I have a couple other books with characters that have unusual abilities, outside the human norm. So that got me thinking about how it started, where they got their powers and how, that kind of thing. I thought of Animorphs, and a cartoon I would watch when I was still in High School called Static Shock, that one was about a gas cloud that gave people powers, and some people it mutated in weird ways.”
“After a couple of weeks it all started to come together in my head. I’m a big comic book and superheroes fan and I loved Spiderman growing up. But I always wondered how these superheroes went about things. The stories with younger kids, how did they ever manage to go fight crime without their parents noticing? How did they deal with missing class, or getting their homework done in time? I kinda want to explore that juggling of hero responsibilities with regular life.”
“I’ve tried to give a good spread of personalities as well amongst the characters. Richard, for example, is the hothead that got himself in trouble in the first place. He’s the one that always wants to jump in with both feet before he even checks if there’s water in the pool.”
“And, aside from them exploring and learning their powers, each book has its own story, but mixed in is a much larger arching storyline that spans across all fifteen books leading up to a really explosive conclusion. There are some things that are similar to all super hero stories, and I think I’ve thrown in a few twists. I’ve taken some recognizable powers and given them my own twist as well.”
“So you’re going to explain how they can fight crime without their parents noticing and not skip classes?” Kelly lifted her brows. “Not I would read that because I’m very curious to see how that’s done.” She smiled at Ryan but then gestured that he follow her as they left the hangar. “Our time’s about up. I figure you’d like to see more of the ship before the portal opens to take you back home.”
Returning back to the main corridor, Kelly inquired, “So, you said you added a twist to recognizable powers. What’s an example?”
“One character has a power known as Creation. Literally the ability to create anything he or she wants out of thin air. God-like power in other words.” He pushed off the wall and fell into step beside Kelly. While he talked his head kept turning, taking in their surroundings. At one point he had to step quickly to the side to avoid being run down by a knee high machine that came barreling down the hallway at high speed. “Now having a character that can make anything they want out of nothing? That’s a bit much. Serious overpowered ability for a kid, or for anyone to have really. So I gave it a limitation. To use that power the user has to understand what they’re trying to create, down to a molecular level. So if my character wants to make something like a motorcycle, for example, they would have to know every single bolt, wire, electronic circuit and every piece and part that goes into making it. they would also have to understand the materials each piece is made out of on a molecular level. Metal, plastic, rubber, etc. It helps prevent the character from just waving their hand and fixing everything in a blink, but leaves possibility for serious growth as the character begins to study and learn in order to better utilize their power.”
Kelly rubbed her forehead then shook her head. “Wow—that’s…I wouldn’t want that power. I’m hoping that character is a fast learner and probably studies a lot of everything.” She smiled at Ryan. “I like your story. It has a lot of potential.”
Finally they returned to the Bridge just as General Cephas gave the command for all ships to dock. The war games were over, and they had much data to sort through. The general—a tall man with hardened features—nodded at Kelly and Ryan as he walked past them, and Kelly guided Ryan through the chaos of people moving about through the Bridge, collecting their data and changing shifts with others.
At last they ended where they had begun, but outside the window this time was only the sight of crafts coming toward this main battleship in an orderly fashion.
A flash of light caught Kelly’s attention, and she saw a portal open near them, and she nodded to it. “That’s your way home. Sorry time just seems to fly by during these interviews! But it was great hearing about your story. Keep me posted on them, would you? I’d love to keep others informed.”
“Absolutely, I would be happy to. We’ll talk later, I might be able to set you up with an ARC of Gravity+. It’s a short read for the first book, meant more for the YA audience, but the other books will be longer and I’ve had many adult readers comment that they enjoyed the book.” Ryan took one last look around before he sketched a quick little salute and stepped through the portal.
The first of book Ryan T. Nelson’s ‘The Human+’ series, ‘Gravity+’ can be found on Amazon here:
Be sure to follow him on social media for more updates as he continues to write and publish his books!