(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Kyleen was written by Kyleen Valleaux.)
Kelly was in the back of her Muse Shop, standing at a table, hands braced on the table as she looked at the map she had pulled out of storage and unfurled. Her gaze watched the map move. It was almost like Google Maps but on actual, ancient parchment, and it was even better because it showed the locations in real time and everyone who was there at that moment. She had forgotten about this map.
The chime of the front door of her shop yanked her head up, and Kelly straightened. “Coming!” She headed for the front of the shop once more.
By the time she came up front, she saw a woman glancing around at all the strange antiques and trinkets on the shelves, in display cases, and dangling from the ceiling. Kelly smiled at her wonder. “Hi! I’m Kelly Blanchard. You must be Kyleen Valleaux. Welcome to my shop.” She made a sweeping motion. “All these are gifts and trinkets from story worlds. Do you want to come on back? I was just taking a few things out of boxes, so I can put them on display. I trust you’re having a good day today?”
Kyleen looked up with a smile and a nod. “It’s been good so far, just busy!” She moved to follow the other woman to the back. “What are you getting out?”
“I had forgotten about a box of stuff from a story of mine, and honestly, I can hardly recall what’s in the box, but…” She led Kyleen to the table she was at earlier and motioned to the map. “This map is just captivating!” But then she shook her head and gave a little laugh. “We’re here to talk about you, so…please, have a seat if you’d like.” She gestured at the chest at the table. “Tell me about yourself. What is it that you do? Is it related to writing at all?”
Kyleen laughed. “I used my creative writing talents to compose really good zoning submissions. I work for a telecommunications tower company. I do the leasing, zoning, and building permits for towers all over the country.” She paused and glanced as the map as she sat down, wondering if somehow that could be worked into a story. “What I really enjoy doing is writing stories though,” she said. “I am not genre bound, but rather write all types. That’s been a bit challenging while trying to decide which story I want to put out first. I think a lot of writers get associated with whatever was first read by someone, no matter what the genre is.”
Kelly shrugged. “Maybe, but before we go into talking about your story, how did you get into writing? Were you always a writer? Or did something inspire you?” As she asked this, she rolled up the map and set it aside then pulled out what looked to be an ordinary notebook, but she knew it was far from ordinary, but Kelly didn’t want to open it yet as she wanted to focus on Kyleen.
“I was a really good day dreamer as a child,” Kyleen said with a bright smile. “But that also meant I was a terrible student. I loved to read, but do do things I was assigned… I wasn’t so good about. I started writing silly fanfic stories when I was probably 11 or 12 and then continued on. I didn’t know there were fan fiction because this was in the dark ages before the internet.” She glanced over at the notebook that Kelly had in her lap with interest. Kyleen had more notebooks than she knew what to do with. Her office was piled with different kinds. She’d made herself a promise not to buy another until she had filled up at least two of them.
“Then in College I studied English because that was the best fit for me,” she said. “My degree is in English with a minor in Advertising. I’ve changed careers about four times, but I’ve always been writing my stories. All sorts. I don’t really watch TV for my entertainment, but grab my laptop laying in bed, writing. I gleefully torture my characters when I’ve had a bad day. Writing is cheaper than therapy.”
Kelly laughed. “Isn’t it bad that we take such fun in torturing our characters? But you’re right! It is good therapy.” She shook her head with a grin and scooted the notebook aside as she sat across from Kyleen finally and rested her forearms on the table. “So what story are you working on? What’s your primary focus?”
Kyleen brightened and leaned back. “I’ve got this one ‘story’ that I’ve been working on for over 10 years. It’s really ongoing and can fill about 8 or 10 books right now. It’s something that I really wanted to be a comic book when I started writing it, so it’s got that sort of anime weaboo sort of vibe to it. It’s called Chronicles of the Garlon T’zen. It’s a web serial novel. It tells the story of a young woman, who is the high princess of the Garlon T’zen. They come to the earth and make it a preservation. It’s about her story, and the story of her sisters, and why the earth is important to them.”
Kyleen drew in a deep breath. “This is a story I love and I’ve had so much fun with, but am absolutely terrified to share because it’s one of my ‘babies.’ The plan is to update the website three days a week with a small section, and then eventually put the novels together in ebook and print on demand on Amazon.”
Kelly smiled at Kyleen’s excitement about her story. “Yeah, it’s terrifying to share your ‘babies’ with others, but think of it this way–other people will likely love them too, and so you can all share excitement about them, and that’s just the best thing ever!” She grinned widely as she sat back. “So you told me a little about this story, but tell me more. These people come to Earth to make it a preservation? Why? And is it fantasy setting? Modern? Futuristic? Or a mix of all or what exactly?” She furrowed her brows as she asked these questions.
Kyleen nodded. “It’s the earth as we know it, not the future or the past- but every day life. So this vast galactic empire parks their warships in orbit, says you can’t make back door deals with other Aliens anymore, and then plants a military presence on the planet. As you can imagine, it created panic and there was some battles involved.” She shifted in her chair and crossed her legs. “I know it’s going to be a bit before this makes your publications, so I’ll give you a few spoilers that will be general knowledge later. The princess, her name is Kiku, is actually from the earth. She was kidnapped when she was about 12 and sold off buy rogue aliens. She was rescued by the Garlon T’zen because she and the four other girls with her were “celestial chosen” and important as part of a prophesy to cure a curse.” Kyleen laughed. “It’s a silly premise, but I really love these characters. The Garlon T’zen aren’t that nice either. They are all ‘humans’ – and the Earth does play a larger role as to why they are all human later in the story.”
“Ohhh, a prophesy and a curse! Always fun to work with those.” Kelly had to grin. “All right, so is Kiku the main character or someone else? And what about the antagonist?” She tilted her head to a side as she listened because she always enjoyed hearing about people’s stories.
“Our main characters are Kiku, who is the high princess of the Garlon T’zen. But then there is the Exalted Leader, who is Dessalen. He’s very much an anti-hero and Kiku’s love interest. Another main player is General Lysis. It turns out that Kiku has a twin brother who’s name is James Davis. He finds his way embroiled into the story.” Kyleen mused for a minute, there were so many threads and directions the story actually went, it was really hard to sum it up. “There is a lot of political unrest in the empire due to the nature of the curse. The curse was brought on the Garlon T’zen by Dessalen’s mother, the former Queen. Because she did something terrible and arrogant, the Celestials cursed them by killing off every Garlon T’zen female alive. Forgiving the curse involved finding the Celestial chosen and then returning them to their rightful home. You would think this would make most happy, but there are lots of political factions that don’t believe this is going to be the way about restoring their race. So not only do they deal with war with others, but they have a lot of internal insurrection as well.”
“When dealing with politics, you can never make everyone happy.” Kelly shook her head, still trying to grasp the whole idea of the story. Finally she locked eyes with Kyleen. “It sounds like a *lot* is involved in this story. I can see how it could take up multiple books!” She beamed. “So tell me, what inspired this story?”
“A misspent youth reading comics and watching anime.” Kyleen laughed outloud. “No, really it’s true. I got the baseline inspiration for many of the characters from different stories I read. There is a lot of appeal to a central hero that is truly good, that only wants to protect her family. That’s Kiku.” She glanced at the clock with a smile, seeing their time together was drawing to a close. “And really, this isn’t a story for kids. Because I wrote this for me in the first place, it’s very rich with adult themes and smut. But I always like story with my smut, so it’s easy to just sort of flow with it.”
“That’s understandable.” Kelly nodded with a smile. She took looked at the clock. They still had a little of time though, so she looked back at Kyleen. “So, what would you like your readers to take from your story when they finish it? What would you like them to remember most about it–if anything?”
“This is pure fluff and escapism. I want the readers to crush on and root for these characters like I do,” Kyleen answered honestly. “I don’t think there is any real life lesson to be had from it other than to forget about your problems and live in the story.” She drew in a deep breath, “And so far, there hasn’t been an end. That’s part of the reason why I call this a serial. It’s got story arcs, but it’s not a total compact “story.”” She shrugged in an offhand manner. “I figure people are either going to really hate it, or really love it. I doubt there will be much middle ground.”
Kelly chuckled. “Hey, that works, and having no end–that’s cool too! Just means there’s more to read and more to love. Now, remind me again, what’s it called again? I know you told me earlier, but…you’ve said a lot of awesome things since then too.” She smiled as she rose to her feet—Kyleen doing the same. Kelly led her back to the front of the shop while listening to her response.
Kyleen smiled and handed Kelly a card that had the website and art for her serial novel on it, www.garlontzen.com. “It’s called Chronicles of the Garlon T’zen, and the first novel that will be done is “Manor Town.” You’ll have to let me know how you like it. Thank you for having me here today.”
Kelly took the card. “Wow. thanks! And thanks for meeting with me. It was great chatting with you and hearing about your story.” She smiled, and they finally approached the front of the shop. “You’re welcome to look around if you’d like. Just watch out for the plot bunnies–they bite.”
Kyle Valleaux’s story ‘The Chronicles of the Garlon Tzen’ is published on her site: www.garlontzen.com Book 1 ‘Manor Town’ is scheduled to be released soon. Follow her on social media for more updates because she had many more books she has planned to publish in the near future!