(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Allasander was written by V. P. Allasander.)
Kelly stood on a balcony overlooking the castle’s green gardens. This place was breathtaking. A few other guests of the castle meandered through the elegant, impressive estate, but Kelly preferred to simply watch people and imagine this gray castle being someplace in her imagination.
However, a butler approached her with another individual, and Kelly glimpsed their way then smiled as she turned to face them. She had informed the butler that she was expecting a guest, and he had done well to bring him to her. “V. P. Allasander?” She raised her brows as he drew near. “I’m Kelly Blanchard. So nice of you to come. I must say, this is a lovely place.” She gazed over their surroundings once more before smiling at him again. “Thank you for recommending it. So, how would you like me to address you? V. P.? Or Allasander?”
“Anything you prefer, Kelly,” he said, stepping into the balcony. “Both suit me just fine,” he continued, taking in the view he so greatly adored.
Kelly smiled as she nodded. “Allasander then. It’s nice to meet you.” She turned to take in the view as well. “So, Allasander, tell me about yourself. What is it that you do in real life? If I recall correctly, you run an editing business of some kind or something?” She raised her brows as she glanced back at Allasander.
“Editing is what I have started with. I aspire to take it beyond that. I have already started with the magazines. Others will be rolled out soon in the future, like an online book store for those who self-publish.” He shifted his hands a little and said, “And I do this full-time, happy, with no regrets. It feels good polishing a scribe’s dreams.”
“Wow, that’s quite impressive.” Kelly smiled at him then motioned to the path leading down into the gardens. “Shall we walk the gardens?” And they headed that way. “So, before you set out with your editing business and magazines, what did you do?”
“Frankly, I have always been a lost soul.” He meanders in thought for a while, trying to sift through his not so distant memories. “I used to do various things. I dropped out of post-graduation because I felt it was monotonous and computer science wasn’t exactly my preferred field. I was in it only for the money. I left it before the stress of the job could overwhelm me.” He sighed. “Then I shifted to event management. I was going good and bad luck struck once again. I do not want to talk about it of course. Brings back bad memories.”
The gardens came into view, the marbled path lined by rows of colorful flowers on both sides. He smelled in the fresh air before he continued, “When I got over the depression and everything that accompanied it, I shifted to writing freelance. And then last year, I opened my own business, that is Pen Paper Coffee, and I feel really good about it. It is going well.”
“Well, I’m glad you’ve found your way.” She offered him a kind smile as they walked down the path. “So let’s talk about you and writing. Have you always been a writer, or did something inspire you to write?”
“Being a writer is in my genes, I think,” he replied, returning back her smile as they turned left on a path that led to the fountains. “But yes, it was only after I read J R R Tolkien when I was like nine-years-old that I wanted to write. I have been a member of many English literature clubs and writing clubs, in school and in college. However, I only took writing seriously when I was twenty one.” He continued down the path, leading Kelly on. “You might say, writing inspired me to take it seriously.”
“But what happened when you were twenty-one that made you take it seriously?” Kelly raised her brows as they came to the fountains. She sat on the edge of the fountain and swept her hand through the cool water before looking up at Allasander to hear his answer.
“Well, my the then girlfriend heard my fantasy takes and read some of my earlier works, that I am now embarrassed about, and pushed me into writing.” He smiled, remembering her.
A kind smile touched Kelly’s lips as she heard this, and she withdrew her hand from the water then rose to her feet once more. “I’m glad she was able to inspire you to keep writing. That is one good thing that came from the relationship, regardless of the outcome of that relationship.” Kelly motioned for them to resume walking at a casual pace down a shadowed path. “So, Allasander, what do you write these days? Do you have a work you’ve published or are working on getting published?”
“Actually, I have two stories I am working on getting published. One is A Goodbye Never Said, which is a romance. It is actually based on how I got into writing and even now when she is dead, I am still inspired by her very memories.” His eyes become teary as he said the last few words, but he quickly composed himself. “And the other one is The Girl In Cinders, which I am co-writing with a writer friend, who has been my friend for like ten years. It is a dark fantasy retake on the fairy tales, emulated in a high fantasy style.”
Kelly saw the shift of emotion in him, and she had to stop him. “Wait…okay, I’m sorry to ask this but…your girlfriend—the one who got you into writing…did she die? Is that who you wrote about in that first story you mentioned?” She really hated bringing up any sad and painful questions, but she had to be certain.
“Yes. She died in a car accident. It is her story that I am writing in the first one. I am the scribe. She is the protagonist.” He takes in a deep breath and said, “She is the reason I keep writing. She is also the reason I have strong female protagonists. Well, she is the reason I am so many things.”
Kelly nodded. “I’m sorry to bring up her memories, and I’m glad you’ve put her into a story. In that way, she will live on forever. Words are immortal, you know.” She tried to give him an encouraging smile, but she knew it had to be hard to talk about. “So, which of these two stories would you like to go into more detail? Unfortunately we only have time to focus on one.”
“I would like to talk more about the second one,” he replied, knowing that talking about the first one would send him into a depressed mood again. The water gushed from the fountain, cold droplets falling onto his simple yet in a way regal dress.
“Very well.” Kelly nodded, glancing back at the fountain and watching the way the water flowed. “So, you said you’re co-writing this one with a friend. What is it about?”
“Have you read and/or watched Cinderella? I am sure you have.”
“Yes, of course.” Kelly nodded.
“Well, let me say, The Girl in Cinders is a dark retake on the story. It is inspired from the Grimm version though and events and characters have been twisted to form its own versions, yet the foundation lies.” “There is going to be gore, there is going to be violence. There is going to be magic and the most badass villains ever. And in all this is set a wonderful romance,” he smirked.
“The Grimm version was pretty dark, and you’re making it darker?” Kelly raised her brows as she looked at him, but then she shook her head and smiled. “I always love a retake of an old, familiar story. So what inspired this story though? And you’re co-writing with a friend, so whose idea was it?”
“I love writing dark, creepy tales, as well as reading them. So you can expect some horror in this one as well. As for the idea, it was mine. This story contains both action and heavy emotion. My friend is quite good with bringing out emotional depth in the characters and I am good at drama, politics, warfare, etc. So, it was a good idea to co-write,” he replied with a smile. “Our styles match and we both write high fantasy. Add to that, our friendship of ten years. We understand each other well and we all know that where there is teamwork, there must be good understanding.”
“That’s brilliant!” Kelly grinned. “I love to co-write with some good friends of mine, so I know exactly what you mean.” Then she glanced up at the sky as if to read the time in the sun and sighed, looking back at Allasander. “Our time’s about up, but we have a little bit longer, so tell me…there are a lot of fantasy stories out there, lots of retakes of traditional stories and such. What makes yours so different, and is there anything you’d like your readers to take from it and remember even after they’ve read it?”
“The readers will be able to identify with the characters. They are much more realistic. They have their own flaws and strengths. My stories usually have a moral lesson embedded in them. There is always a philosophy and like my friends have said always, even the smallest of my excerpts can make them think about what they are doing. So yes, even though my stories are dark, my characters teach my readers and myself to embrace the light. Because where there is light, there is hope.”
He glanced at the sun as well. “It is set in an alternate universe, so there is a history and mythology as well. Also, it is part of a series. The second book is titled The Snow Queen and the third is titled The Hunters in Green.”
Kelly smiled at this and nodded. “There is always hope. Your story sounds fascinating!” Then she looked at the sun again and frowned. “Well, Allasander, unfortunately our time is up. It was fantastic meeting with you and talking with you, but I have another appointment to meet. I hope you the best with all your endeavors because you sound very busy! Keep me posted, all right? I’d like to hear how things are going for you.”
“Sure, Kelly. It has been a pleasure talking with you as well,” he responded, a tinge of sadness in his voice. He was feeling sorry that their talk had come to an end. Looking up, he cursed the sun.
Kelly smiled at his reaction but then gestured with her hands and conjured a plate of cookies and offered them to him. “You look like you could use these. Have a great day. Stay in touch.” With that, Kelly offered him one last smile then walked away.
Watching her walk away into the dark silhouette of the castle, he chomped away at the cookies. “These are good!”
V. P. Allasander’s novel ‘The Girl in Cinders’ is not yet published. Release date is set in August. His other upcoming works are The Father of Lies (Releasing on June 3) and The Witch-Heart Chronicles Season 1 (Starting from July 14 and finale in November).
Follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/VPAllasander
Visit his website: https://vpallasanderbooks.wordpress.com/