(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Tasha was written by Tasha Reese.)
Kelly sat on a bench under a shadow with a notebook and pen in hand, and she tapped the pen against her chin in thought. All around her was the peaceful, beautiful gardens of Cuskelom’s palace. Directly in front of her, a small waterfall cascaded, and Kelly could get lost staring into the falling water, but she heard someone approaching, so she snapped out of her thoughts and looked down the path.
Seeing someone coming toward her, Kelly closed her notebook, pocketed away her pen, and rose to her feet to greet this individual. “Tasha Reese? Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. How are you doing today?”
Smiling at Kelly, Tasha rubbed her moist palms on her faded blue jeans before she held out her hand, “Kelly? I am doing alright. Just nervous. Never done one of these before.” Looking around she smiled and nodded, “It is very beautiful here.”
Kelly smiled at her warmly. “Totally understand the nerves. It’s quite normal, but you have no reason to be nervous. Come, care for a walk?” She gestured for Tasha to follow her down one of the garden paths at a close pace. “So, Tasha, tell me about yourself. What is it that you do?”
She laughed softly as she nodded and followed, “Thank you. I work with kids with disabilities and work on my novels when I am not working with them. I do so love the kids though they can be very trying.” She looked around a bit before lifting her gaze to the beautiful sky. “I have worked there for about four years and I have seen and met some amazing kids. Things about myself, hmm,” she chewed on her lower lip for a moment, “well I am the middle child. I have adopted children, they adopted me as their mom.” She smiled proudly, “My daughter is actually the one that did the cover for my book that I just had a book signing for.”
“That’s amazing!” Kelly smiled. “All your work with those kids! So, does all your experience with the kids and such tie into your writing?” She raised her brows, and they came to a water fountain, which Kelly smiled at then ran her fingers through the water.
She shook her head no, “Not really although I must admit that some of the Mandt moves, it is something we are taught to help handle certain situations, I have put those to use as my Eris is learning about balance and such. Granted she is learning it to fight but still it is useful. My kids at work, they just…hm…well they help me see the good in so much and the emotions and feelings they bring out in me are reflected more in how some of the older characters treat my younger ones.” She closed her eyes for a moment and motioned to the fountain, “Would you mind sitting for a bit here? It has a balance of the elements that is calming to me.”
“Not at all.” Kelly moved to sit on the edge of the fountain. She quite enjoyed the water too, and she motioned for Tasha to sit as well. Kelly watched her. “So how long have you been writing? Have you always been a writer?”
She moved, sitting beside Kelly, blushing a little as she slipped her sandals off and started kneading the ground with her toes, “I have actively written since at least the 8th grade. I remember my first story ‘The Guardian’ it was about 40 pages. I was so proud of having written something so long. That was the true beginning of the characters for my books. Since then, even if I cannot write, they are still there in my head, telling me their stories. It makes me proud that they want to keep telling them to me, even when they tell me some it can make me cry. My friend Kerry told me she loves how I am with them, that I get lost in their world.”
“We writers are blessed to have other worlds in our minds to escape to whenever necessary…and our characters keeping us company is wonderful too.” Kelly nodded with an understanding smile and scooped her hand through the cool water of the fountain. “You’ve been writing for such a long time, but do you remember what inspired you to really get serious about it?” She lifted a brow as she glanced back at Tasha.
“Death,” she nodded without hesitation, “Death and Fate. Those are their names. I guess to put it in a better context for people. I am not Christian. I believe in many Gods and Goddesses. I further believe that every religion has the same Gods and Goddesses they are just named differently to connect more to each religion and people. Death and Fate are ones that mean so much to me and so they encourage the writing. In fact, they are in everything I have written just as is Eris, though while Eris changes names depending on her life, Death and Fate stay the same. Beyond them, I have had a lot of encouragement from friends and family. The biggest encouragement came in 2005 when my English Comp I Professor told me about NaNoWriMo. I wanted to write to that goal. For that, I will always be thankful to him.” She continued smiling, leaning back so that her long hair fell back to touch the water in the fountain, her eyes closed as she enjoyed the warmth and comfort of the sun.
“Interesting…” Kelly mused as she took all this in with a nod. Writers always came from different backgrounds, and that was unique unto themselves and allowed them to show the world through different eyes. Kelly smiled at this thought and looked back at Tasha. “Well, I am glad you are writing and have been encouraged by others to do so. That is fantastic. Now though, what story of yours you would like to focus on? I’m sure you have many, and I’d love to hear them all, but we only have time for one.”
She laughed softly, nodded and opened her eyes, “Don’t worry. I don’t try to convert people. I have grown up trying many different religions: Baptist, Buddhism, Wiccan, Lutheran, etc. Those taught me that everyone has a right to their beliefs. Though I do not mind talking about them with different people just to see how people think.” As she continued to knead the ground with her toes she thought for a moment, “Perhaps just a basic understand of all my stories, where they come from might be best. The basis of all the books is a Goddess that lives as a mortal among them. She is looking for what she calls her Soul. It will help her bring balance and balance is one of the most important things. The current book that came out was set in very ancient times before even Romans and such. Though the one I am working on now is set in ancient Greece and Rome.”
Kelly hadn’t been concerned about Tasha trying to convert her. She had her own beliefs, but she never forced them on others. She preferred to show by example rather than preaching, so she nodded her understanding and took in everything Tasha had said about her story. “By balance though? I mean, how is it, in the story, one of the most important things?” Kelly leaned forward, setting her elbows on her knees and planting her chin in her palm, curious. “What else, in addition to balance, is important?”
“Being who you are. Not letting someone else sway you from your path. Protecting those that cannot protect themselves. Family. These are the underlying concepts of my stories. I know that the protection of those that cannot protect themselves has always been in me and my kids bring that out even more. Thus, many of the characters in my books have confrontations with these things.” She drummed her fingers on her leg for a moment and then stood up and stretched for a moment, her eyes shined with love and pride as she spoke of the stories, “One of my favorite parts of my book that is out now is how Lily is forced to make a choice to keep people safe. The choice she makes…well most people probably would not have done it. But she did what she had to, made sure that she would be able to protect those that needed it. The fact that others saw it as wrong did not stop her.”
“Intriguing.” Kelly nodded with a smile as she straightened and watched Tasha standing before her. Kelly sensed their time was coming to an end, so she rose to her feet. “Shall we walk a bit more?” As they continued down a path, she asked, “So tell me about your characters. Antagonists, protagonists, and what their main struggle or conflict is.”
She dropped down to a crouch and picked up her sandals, before straightening and starting to walk down the path again, “Mainly it is Eris, who is Lily, Calypso and many other in one. She is looking for her soul to basically save her because Set, whom you will meet at the next interview as he has said he is going to talk, is trying to force her to be his wife. He wants her power and is kind of a butthead. Excuse my language,” shaking her head a moment she growled a bit, “sorry he does seem to irk me. Death and Mira have the job of watching over and protecting Eris, in whatever form she is, and keeping Set from finding her. After all if he can tie her to him before she Becomes then she would lean towards darker aspects which would be bad for the world. It would be Chaos and Discord. Whereas if she can find her Soul and he is worthy then there would be the balance needed. Almost like a guiding force to keep her from destroying everything and everyone.”
“Wow, sounds like quite a story! And I really wish we had more time to go into more details, but that’s what the character is for, eh?” Kelly gave Tasha a small smile and a slight shrug. She hated cutting the conversation short, but their time was up. “Unfortunately, our time is up, which is frustrating because I want to hear more!” She sighed disappointed. “But remind me again, what’s the title of your story? That way others can check it out too.”
She smiled and turned to Kelly as she offered a handshake, “I could talk about ‘Birth of the Shadewalker’ for a long time. Any of your readers are welcome to find me on Facebook. I hope that everyone gets a chance to enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And thank you so much for your time, Kelly. It was a pleasure.”
“The pleasure was mine! This was quite enjoyable! Come on, I’ll walk you out.” Kelly gestured for her to follow back into the real world.
Tasha Reese’s book ‘Birth of the Shadewalker’ is available on the following site. Also, be sure to follow her on social media!