(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Alexa was written by Alexa Smith.)
The campfire sparked back to life when Kelly stabbed it with a twig and tossed in some more dry wood. She then lifted her gaze and looked up at the bright, clear sky on this crisp night, and a smile came to her face. This was lovely. It might be a little nippy out, but it was just refreshing to breath in this clean, country air.
She glimpsed over her shoulder at the cottage there. If they needed more marshmallows, she could always go back inside and retrieve some, but for now she waited and shifted her gaze back to the dancing flames of fire.
A portal opened not too far from the campfire, and Kelly lifted her gaze as she watched her visitor step out into the night. Kelly stood to greet her, motioning her over. “Alexa Smith? Great to meet you! You said campfire outside a cottage, so here we are! Have a seat. Care for a marshmallow?” Kelly offered her a stick and the bag of marshmallows.
Blinking a few times from the bright portal light, Alexa laughed and smiled at the sight. “I did, beautiful place.” She nodded her head, as she walked into the firelight, “Marshmallows sound good!”
She sat beside the fire, and took the offered stick and marshmallow. “This is breath taking.”
“Thank you.” Kelly smiled and began roasting yet another marshmallow. “So, Alexa, tell me a bit about yourself. What is it that you do?” This was the question she always started with, but it seemed like a good place to start since everyone was different, and Kelly was curious.
She leaned forward as she poked the marshmallow through and holds it over the fire. Pulling a piece of hair back from her face, she shrugs. “I work in a grocery store at the moment. At the service desk, it’s a small store so it works out well for me.” Pulling the marshmallow up from the flames, hoping it wouldn’t burn, “I work part time so I can spend my days off on writing and catching up on other chores.”
“So I bet you deal with all kinds of people! Anyone you care to put into your story…for better or for worse?” Kelly chuckled, lifting her brows, but then decided her marshmallow was ready, so she withdrew it from the fire.
Alexa laughed, “Definitely all “kinds”. Only a few, situations, have made it into my characters.” Shaking her head, “With the recent spike in lottery, I’m getting all kinds of people who have never once bought any tickets and look at me like I know all!” She smirked with a shake of her head. “Never played lottery a day in my life.”
Kelly shook her head. “Yeah, neither have I. So, when did you begin writing? Or have you always just been a writer?” While waiting for Alexa to answer, Kelly tried not to make a mess with the marshmallow, but it was sticky.
Alexa pulled her own marshmallow back, pulling off sticky pieces to eat. “It started when I was eleven, I had a very over active imagination, and played pretend for years. But not in front of my family after like age seven or eight.”She shook her head, “Shy personality, and we went to Florida for Christmas for years. Which meant a month of lots of family close together, I have three younger brothers. So I couldn’t play pretend and my mind was churning with all these ideas. That just one night in the car on the way home, I just started to write all the random ideas down. And found I enjoyed it.”
Kelly finished off the marshmallow and decided not to try another one just yet. For now, she just leaned back and enjoyed the fire and the company. She smiled at Alexa’s story and could relate about being stuck with family for a long period of time. “I’m glad you started writing so young. That’s really awesome. So what kind of stories do you like to write?”
Alexa wiped her hands off, and shrugged. “It started out, writing female leads in medieval fantasy stories. Because my dad read me so many books where it was always the guys. Lord of the Rings, Terry Brooks’ Shannara.” Her eyes traveled down to the fire and smiled. “Then it kinda just evolved. I enjoy writing survival stories. It’s an odd kind of story. It’s unlike the ones nowadays where people want to overthrow the government and make everything better. Mine recently has just been, ‘how do we survive this?’ I guess that is something that interests me.”
“That is interesting.” Kelly nodded as she gave this some thought. Then she sent Alexa a look. “Is that what you’re working on now?”
Alexa nodded, “Yeah, I came up with a post-apocalyptic world where the apocalypse was Fey creatures destroying humanity. It’s a series of books I’m planning, where people are attempting to survive it.” She rubbed the back of her neck. “The one I’m working on has the main character just trying to get home and find out what happened to his family. No big overarching plot, just survive long enough to find out.” She shrugged, “I think that human instinct fascinates me. What we are capable of when we are in those kinds of situations.”
Kelly poked at the fire with the stick to keep it burning. “Survival instinct is quite incredible, but what inspired this story? It does sound different because you say Fey creatures are destroying humanity, but how did you come up with this idea?” She smiled as she sat back then glimpsed up at the clear night skies briefly before looking back at Alexa.
Alexa tilted her head as she leaned back, “I came up with the idea a few years ago actually. There was a video game I played, that was post-apocalyptic zombies, but the scenery made me stop and just look around a lot. And I wondered what else could throw humanity into such a downward spiral. And well, I have a penchant for loving magic and all kinds of fantasy and wondered how the world would fare if, let’s say: Trolls, Goblins, Sirens, and the like existed or just appeared one day.”
“I love it.” Kelly grinned. “Fantasy is definitely one of my favorites too, and I love what you’re doing with it.” She shifted to lean forward, resting her elbows on her knees. “So, who are the major players in this story? I know you’re focusing on survival instinct, but what exactly are they up against? Is there a specific Fey antagonist or something?”
Alexa smiled, “A few actually,” she stretched her legs out, as she looked at Kelly. “I’m working on rewriting the book right now, but it’s divided up by cities they travel through and only one Fey creature follows them the entire story.” Rubbing her hands together, she smiles. “He’s a creation of my own actually. I call them Guardian Spirits. They are pure magical creatures who can become untouchable, they pass through walls, people, they can be invisible to the naked eye. But their goal, is to help and help things grow.”
“Well, once through the Fey portal, one Guardian Spirit decides that tormenting the humans is a better idea because he is no longer under the constraints of the Elders of his race. And he finds, that human life is a good source of magic if drained.” She shook her head, “He’s wholly unpleasant. But interesting to see him try and stalk humans is interesting. Other than that however, they run into problems in every city, Fey and human alike.” She leaned forward again, with a shrug of her shoulder.
“I love that fact that you made a creation of your own! Very original, and that’s awesome.” Kelly grinned at her. “So, what sort of thing would you like your readers to walk away with and remember about your story?”
Alexa stared off at the trees, “I want them to remember that you can survive. I think that’s what the whole series is about. No matter how bad it gets, even some of the most horrible of situations. You can still survive it.” She had a smile on her face.
“And that is always important to keep in mind.” Kelly nodded but then looked at her watch and frowned. “Our time is almost up, but we still have a few more minutes, so…” She looked back at Alexa and smiled. “What’s your favorite thing about the story? It could be a character, a scene, a theme, or anything.”
Alexa laughed, “My character definitely. The main character is Kane Aiden and I came up with him about 4 years ago. He just waltzed onto the page of another book and I really wanted to find his story. He’s gruff, sarcastic, military man, and just something about him makes him my favorite character I’ve ever written.” She grinned, looking at the fire and then back at Kelly. “He’s just been waiting for me to find the right story and I think I finally found it!”
Kelly grinned when she heard this. “Characters can be like that. They’re all ‘I’m here, and I’m awesome’, but they won’t tell your their story right away, and when you finally stumble upon it, they’re like, ‘About time!’.” She wagged her head as she still smile.
Finally though, Kelly sighed and rose to her feet. “Well, Alexa, unfortunately we need to bring this conversation to a chat since our time is up, which is too bad because I’ve been enjoying this! But before we go, do you have a title for your story?”
Alexa smiled, “Well, it’s a simple title really. The series is Survive. So the title of the first book is Survive: Kane Aiden.” She rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly as she smiles. “I like the simplicity of it.”
“Simplicity is good.” Kelly nodded. “It’s easier to remember that way.” But then she looked up as another portal opened, and Kelly nodded to it. “There’s your way home. Thanks so much for coming and chatting with me. It was really a lot of fun. I enjoyed it, and I hope you the best with your story! Keep me posted on the progress, okay?”
Standing up, Alexa smiled, “Of course, thank you for having me, this was fun!” She waved as she stepped through the bright portal.
Kelly watched her go and watched the portal close, and she sighed, looking back up at the heavens. That was fun. She couldn’t wait to hear more about the story whenever Alexa was ready to publish it.
Alexa Smith’s story Survive: Kane Aiden has no release date set yet, but you can follow her on Facebook for more updates: