(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Adrienne was written by Adrienne Devine.)
Ideas, ideas—too many ideas swirled through Kelly’s mind as she sat on a couch off to the side in the coffee shop with hot chocolate in hand. She had hit a tangle in her story and was listening to all the characters voicing their opinion of what should happen and what should wait. A few times she mentally hushed the louder ones in order to pull the quieter ones aside to determine why they did what they did, but Kelly realized there was a lot being unsaid, and she didn’t have the time to untangle it all.
The door of the coffee shop chimed as someone entered, and Kelly glimpsed up. She locked eyes with the woman and smiled as she rose to her feet with hot chocolate in hand and went to greet her. “Adrienne Devine?” She raised her brows as she shook her hand. “Kelly Blanchard. Thanks for coming. Do you want to get something to drink?” She motioned to the counter.
“Certainly!” Adrienne smiled at the woman as she greeted her. “I’m glad to be here.” She started towards the counter. “I’m equally as glad to see coffee!” As she turned her head, she felt the classic tug near the top of her head that was her hair starting to come down, so she reached up and tugged it down. The bright blue and pink strands near the front of her face fell into their spot as the rest of the auburn cascade fell nearly to her waist. She corralled her hair back into a low ponytail and smiled again. “I’m going for an iced mocha.”
“Go ahead. I’ll be here.” Kelly smiled at her, and Adrienne went to the counter and soon returned with her mocha, and the two sat across from each other at a small table.
One comfortable, Kelly nodded at Adrienne. “So, I always seem to start with this question with interviews, but it seems like a good place to start. Tell me a bit about yourself—what it is you do and how it ties into you being a writer.” With this, Kelly sat back in her chair, took her drink in hand, and took a sip as she waited for an answer.
Adrienne folded her arms on the edge of the table and chewed on the end of her straw for a moment. “I wouldn’t quite say that what I do ties into being a writer. Something I’ve done in the past was a slightly better match for writing, but it wasn’t enough to live on.” She sat back in her seat. “Currently, I work in an assisted living facility for the elderly. The main perk is I work overnights. The main negative is that the overnight shift is 10PM-6AM.”
Adrienne made a face. “We really only deal with about six of the thirty odd residents, and for the most part, they don’t really tell us stories. In the past, I worked in a bakery café. I spent a lot of time while working there simply paying attention to names and body language. I also saw some of the coolest things. Yes, most of those things were later written down in a little notebook and added to a massive idea file that I keep a copy of on every computer I have, as well as in all of my emails.” She laughed. “I think that means I have about nine or ten backups of everything anymore.”
This caused Kelly to tilt her head to a side as she smiled. “People watching is always fun.” She leaned forward, settling her elbows on the table, and the smile remained, “So, you hinted at witnessing some of the coolest things—such as??” She raised her brows.
“I think my favorite things included…” Adrienne paused for a moment as tears fill her eyes. She pulled the napkin out from under her cup and dried up her eyes. “My favorite things included the Romeos, as they called themselves. And you’ll have to forgive me, their number grew smaller a couple of years ago, I still get teary when I think about the whole group and their shenanigans. A couple of other favorites included our knitting club, Wally, and the Principal and his wife. There are a few other one-off people that amused me as well, like the guy who pretty much always came into the store wearing a utility kilt. And there was the lady that I rang up one day who had the coolest eyes. Dark blue at the rims of the irises, fading to white at the pupil.”
Adrienne shook her head. “I still go and sit with the Romeos from time to time for breakfast, and on Saturdays I have brunch with the Principal and his wife.”
Kelly was touched by Adrienne, and she gave her an encouraging smile as she sat back in her chair. “So what was so unique about these people that they’ve touched you so deeply?”
Adrienne took a sip of her drink and leaned her head back. “The Romeos were a group of anywhere from four to ten retired old guys, their words—not mine—who would meet for coffee starting around 7:30am and they’d basically take over the two tables in front of the fireplace until the last one left anywhere between 9:30am and 10am. There was a guy who was an entomologist, but always was dressed like an archeologist. Occasionally, he would bring in these framed things of perfectly displayed bugs. Most often it was butterfly collections. The one who passed was a stained glass artist in his retirement, though he’d been in the army and had been a big time marketing executive with IBM. The others had equally as odd combinations, and somehow they’d managed to be friends for over forty years through several cross country moves.”
Adrienne shook her head. “The stories I can tell of them would take days, sometimes.” She laughed. “Wally was this African British man. Moved to our town from London with his wife thanks to a job, and everyone else had the hardest time understanding him. I had no trouble at all, and actually enjoyed talking to him. I’ll never forget the day I flat out asked him what we should call him, because ‘large coffee British dude’ just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. He told us his name, and we clearly made faces because he immediately told us to call him Wally. It was something like Olawale with a couple of accents somewhere. That year was our store’s second Christmas, and it was the first time he brought us cashiers a gift.”
“The principal and his wife have practically adopted me as a spare child. At least once every couple of months, someone will come up to us as we’re having brunch and ask if I’m their daughter. I look enough like his wife that we understand where the idea comes from.”
“Amazing.” Kelly smiled as she took it all in. “So did your experiences there at all influence your writing? Did you ever find yourself putting elements of those people in your stories?”
Adrienne began to rotate her cup in her hands. “The Romeos know full well that they’ve been entirely kidnapped and turned into professors for one of my stories. I needed about ten professors and was having issues figuring out how to keep them individual, so one day I sat down with a notebook in the middle of their cluster and started taking notes. Notes on things they said, what they did, how they moved. Parker, the one who’s gone now, noticed first and wanted to know what I was doing, so I told him, and suddenly they were all excited about it. They also helped me figure out what the courses they would “teach” were.” Adrienne shook her head and laughed. “When I left the café job, I had to take a notebook to their table and get all of their contact information so I could get a hold of them when I self-publish the book and can hand it off to them all.”
“The principal and his wife are basically my cheering squad. She’s really good at asking what my word count is during NaNoWriMo, and making sure that I’ve got backups of things. He’s just a goofy mess. I love them anyways.”
“That sound like fantastic people! I’m glad you have such an awesome support team.” Kelly flashed her another smile then sipped on her drink before lowering her cup and asking, “Okay, so we’ve got to focus on your stories. What genre do you write? Have you published anything? And what are you working on now?” Then she paused, “Sorry for bombarding you with questions, but they come to me all at once, and I’m curious!” Kelly gave her an apologetic shrug with a smile.
“Don’t worry about it!” Adrienne smiled and took a sip of her own drink as well. “I tend to write sci-fi and fantasy the most. Occasionally, I’ll sneak out into urban paranormal, but that’s really only one of the many WIPs that live in my currently working on pile.” Adrienne rested her elbows on the edge of the table and put her chin on her hands. “As far as publishing goes, I haven’t gotten anything accepted, and I don’t want to self-publish something as short as the one story I’ve got finished. It’s only about 5,900 words, so most would balk at buying it. It does have a couple of stories that go with it, so I’m working on finishing those and I’ll release a whole set of short stories at once. I’m not actively working on those right now, however. What I’m actively working on are my steampunk fantasy and my urban fantasy. With some of the mental things I deal with, it’s easier for me to focus if I’m constantly working on at least two stories at a time. The urban fantasy is what the Romeos helped me with, and the steampunk was my first NaNoWriMo win. It’s got some pretty ugly plot holes and about a quarter of it consists of a few pages with the phrase ‘stuff the war in here’, so it needs some serious work.” Adrienne laughed. “My region often thinks I’m crazy because during NaNo, I’’m usually working on anywhere from three to four stories, and possibly plotting out another.”
Kelly shook her head. “Wow! You have quite the imagination, and I applaud you for it. No idea how you keep it all straight.” But she smiled at her. “So, of all your stories, which one do you want to discuss with me right now?” She raised her brows.
Adrienne took a deep breath and smiled. “I’d like to discuss my steampunk chaos, as it was the first time I actually managed to figure out a complete plot while entirely winging it.”
“Sure thing!” Kelly nodded and set her now-empty cup on the table then flashed Adrienne a grin as she leaned forward, resting her forearms on the table. “So, tell me all about it! What’s it about? Who are the characters? What are the conflicts they encounter?”
“It’s about a window of time in this world where magic has begun to evolve. But the characters aren’t entirely aware that that’s what’s going on. It opens with a kidnapping. The main storyline is trying to rescue the kidnapped individual. The three main characters are Aili, Aydan Elisyndra, and Quail. Aili is the leader of the Magi Council. Aydan is the Captain of the Revanta company, and commands the airship Revanta. Quail is a six-year-old boy who witnessed an event that is one of the major clues that what’s going on is bigger than just a kidnapping.”
Adrienne shook her head. “There’s a small army of other important people who pop up in the story, but it’s mostly those three. Well Aili’s assistant slash ladies maid Erin is almost always found with her mistress.” She smiled down at her coffee cup. “One of the major things that they encounter spawns from a major event in the Revanta’s history. The former XO of the Revanta itself had been in love with his captain, but Aydan didn’t like him. She rebuffed him about six times, and then one day, he attempted to blow her up. He succeeded in blowing a hole in the side of her ship and taking out about 200 of her crew. He’s in one of the cities they have to visit to figure out what’s going on and get more military support. They don’t realize he’s there until they’ve been there a couple of days. It causes a bit of chaos.”
“Very interesting!” Kelly’s eyes lit as she heard the summary of the story. “And of all the characters, who’s your favorite? And who’s the most fun to write?” She cocked her head to a side as she smiled.
Adrienne laughed and scrunched up her nose. “Without a doubt, it is my absolute favorite thing to write the scenes where Aili and Aydan are in the same room. Once upon a time in the history of this world, Aili was a lower rank than she is now, and she served on the Revanta as the company’s lead Magi. These two women use sarcasm and sass on each other at such a level that half the time the newer crew honestly thinks they hate each other. The older crew just takes bets on how long it will take them to just basically declare a sass and sarcasm war on each other.” She shook her head. “Aydan truthfully uses sarcasm and sass as a defensive mechanism, Aili had figured it out and also figured out a way through it. They’re really good friends, and to this day in the series, Aydan actually hasn’t replaced Aili. It’s been maybe five or six years since Aili left the ship.”
She tilted her head to one side. “Aili is complicated. She’s been a powerful magi since she was young, and something like 20 years ago, she was called upon to handle a situation that is related to the current mess. It didn’t quite turn out how she thought it would, and to this day she still feels like she failed. Aydan is the only person alive who knows how involved Aili was in that mess, and is perhaps one of the only people who knows how thoroughly Aili is going to be beating herself up about it in the present.”
“Sounds like quite a pair of characters, and I love it.” Kelly beamed. However, her eyes caught the clock on the back wall, and she frowned as she straightened. “Woah, we have gone quite a bit overtime! I’m sorry about that. Totally lost track of time because I was enthralled with everything you were saying, and unfortunately though, I need to get going. I’ve got another meeting. Ek!” Kelly gathered her purse. “I’m sorry about ending this abruptly. These interviews can go forever, and I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with that, but Real Life beckons.” She sighed heavily but then smiled at Adrienne as she rose to her feet. “Thank you for coming though! It was great meeting you and hearing all about your work. What is your story called, by the way? That way I can be on the lookout for it.”
Adrienne looked at her watch. “Yikes! I’ve got to go as well!” She scrambled to her feet and scooped up her own bag. “The steampunk story has a bit of a long title, but it makes sense to me. It’s ‘Of Mage Lights and War Machines’ and I’m most likely going to be self-publishing it in the first half of 2016, if everything goes according to plan.” Adrienne grinned. “It was great meeting you!”
“Great! Keep me posted about it, but for now I’ve got to run. Thanks again for meeting with me, and stay in touch!” The two walked to the door, exited, then parted ways—Adrienne to her life, and Kelly to her Muse Shop, and Kelly walked with a smile. It was always great meeting another author.
Adrienne Devine’s story ‘Of Mage Lights and War Machines’ has no set publication date. Be sure to stay in touch with her on social Media: