Thank you for joining me today for a hybrid Interview / Reveal Extravaganza for YA Paranormal author Cally Ryanne’s big debut, ECHOES OF BALANCE (which is, in case you were wondering, available now!) Today we’re going to be talking about Cally’s journey, and then finding out a little bit more about Mikhail.
ECHOES OF BALANCE by Cally Ryanne – Click here for more info!
Now, without further ado, let’s meet Cally!
Cally Ryanne is a vegetarian, with a serious avocado habit, in search of the perfect leather jacket. Echoes of Balance is her debut novel and the first in The Ways Trilogy, a Young Adult urban fantasy.
V: Welcome, Cally! Tell us a little bit more about yourself, why don’t you?
CR: I’m just your basic avocado addict, really. I went to a four year college near my hometown, graduated, and got the **** out of there. I presently live in New York City (uptown all day everyday) and can be spotted on most west side trains most days of the week.
I have a very simple minded cat who can’t keep his tongue in his mouth to save his life. The most important man in my life right now is Netflix (I’m a little married to my apartment). I love Udon noodles and peppermint tea. I hate the kind of thick dried fruit that feels like an old lady’s ear and cross town buses.
If I were a fictional character, I think I would fall – very accurately – somewhere between Liz Lemon (30 Rock) and Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s). If Truman Capote was still alive, I think we would have frenemy potential.
V: I like to think that Arthur Conan Doyle and I would’ve been as well. Now, how about giving us all the low-down on ECHOES OF BALANCE?
CR: Echoes, the first book in The Ways Trilogy, follows Chloe Moraine, the youngest of the Naimei, an ancient line of beings charged with keeping the universe in balance, as her family struggles to prevent the return of Pan and Damonos, the original demons. Their return basically spells destruction for the whole world; and while most sane people would be scared, the Naimei are used to big threats. It’s kind of what they do. So they aren’t nervous about this potential outcome – they write it off enough to give Chloe the joke job of following a human girl who ‘might be involved, maybe.’
But then their Ways, the ancient instruments that guide the balance, begin to fail, and Chloe’s family finds themselves at a loss for what to do. Simultaneously, Chloe is approached by Josef, an unnervingly charming vampire who seems to know more about the original demons than any creature should. Chloe is faced with a choice: continue to trust the traditions of her family, or put her faith in Josef and go against everything she’s ever known. And she has to decide: fast.
V: Oh no, not the Ways! JK I’m super anti-establishment, so I say DOWN with the Ways! So, ahem. What inspired you to write THIS book?
CR: Echoes has been a really long time coming, and there is A LOT of backstory and A LOT more story to come!
Chloe got dreamed up some time around sixth grade, when the majority of my time was spent holed up in my room writing stories and reading vampire books (Amelia Atwater Rhodes, anyone?). When she was first created, she was total silliness with no real story, and any story I put her in was riddled with plot holes and in conclusive plots that just didn’t really fit.
When college and life hit, I had to take a break from trying to write Chloe’s story – a story she actually deserved – and she and all the other characters that had sprung up to exist in her world with her sort of slid to the back burner. Fast forward to a super boring part time job with a lot of down time – Chloe and company came back out, and with a little prodding from an awesome coworker, I started pumping out chapter after chapter. There was finally a story that fit Chloe’s life and adequately told her story, and that served as some pretty solid inspiration.
V: What’s your favorite thing about Chloe?
CR: I love how flawed she is. Chloe puts on this front of having things under control, and I think maybe consciously she actually does. But subconsciously, she’s like twelve shades of messed up; she’s never really had healthy friendships, or relationships, and her family cares about her but doesn’t really know how to show it. It’s why she even bothers to entertain the idea of strange vampire wanting to help her even if said vampire may or may not have been stalking her for months.
Chloe is basically a more intense Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed.
V: Haha, could you imagine if Drew had a knife in NBK? Yikes! If you could ask your readers to picture ONE thing in their minds, as they’re reading ECHOES OF BALANCE, what would it be?
CR: When I was in college, we used to go to this one coffee shop a few streets away from my apartment to do work during finals. It used to allow smoking in the upstairs, and it had this constant smell of cigarettes/incense/coffee/tea/books, and we would camp out during first semester finals until it closed at 1am. Whenever we left it was always really cold and/or snowing outside, and the mix of that cold smell and that warm inside coffee smell combined with productivity of getting work done and exhaustion just made it feel like anything could happen. So if you have a similar feeling, hold that in your mind.
If you don’t, keep in mind that there is a lot before Chloe and there is a lot after Chloe. Let the world expand.
V: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to face on the road to publication? (Also, how did you survive?)
CR: The most cliché and obvious thing to say is that there are a lot of rejections on the way, but I guess it’s cliché for a reason. It’s a strange feeling when you feel like you’ve created this amazing book that you love but then no one else cares about it but you and you only have one shot to make them care and it has to be good and also fit the market and also you have to find someone who wants to take the risk on you – there’s just a lot of moving pieces to order all at once.
But I think the roughest part is once your book gets accepted somewhere, and if it’s your first time, you think, oh cool, that was easy. And then you find out all the stuff – edits, titling, covers, publicity – that goes along with being published and you still have to work a day job and you’re still working on writing more books – that things get hard.
But you survive it just like all things: stick a smile on your face, stay up early/wake up late to get it all done, and push through. Preferably with a really great playlist on.
V: If you had to give one piece of advice to yourself (as an aspiring author) ONE year ago, what would it be?
CR: Don’t buy that Netflix subscription, it’s nothing but trouble.
V: TRUTH. Thanks so much for joining me, Cally! Before we get to the Bonus Character Prelude, here is where you can find (and stalk) the author of ECHOES OF BALANCE:
And now, for an EXCLUSIVE alternate character prelude from ECHOES OF BALANCE! Introducing… Mickhail:
by Cally Ryanne
“Is it typical for your sort to come back to one place this often?” The voice was as soft as the careful footsteps that had preceded it through the foliage.
Mikhail had been aware of the footsteps for awhile – they picked up about two miles into his walk through this particular forest, one he knew well, and they had paced him until boredom brought them closer. They didn’t worry him. As his rounds had showed, this patch of land was safe and desolate save for the usual inhabitants.
“Thought I’d check in,” he grunted, glancing over his shoulder to the figure carefully stepping over a patch of brambles. Though it had been something on four legs tracking him before, this person was quite human.
She was roughly Mikhail’s height, and though she was slight, the thick leathers that wrapped her torso and legs made her look sturdy, somehow. Her hair hung wild about her face, her cheeks pink tinted and wind whipped as if much of her life was spent outdoors. Though they had been in the forest for some time, her feet were bare.
“Everything is the same as it was last month. And the one before that, and the one before that,” the woman said calmly, crossing her arms over her chest. A few dark inked tattoos snaked about her arms: a few of them seemed to match the ones that were stamped into Mikhail’s own biceps.
He sighed, turning his gaze forward again. “Things seemed… unbalanced.”
“And you assumed that meant you would need to come here? These things you always speak of, they pointed you here?”
Mikhail rolled his eyes, turning to face her. “No, but – “
“But you were worried,” she cut in, her posture remaining rigid. “Were there signs? Are we in danger?”
He ran a hand through his shaggy hair, glancing down at the dirt. “What starts will spread.”
The woman tilted her head to the side. “So that’s a no, then.”
“It’s been a decade, Mikhail. Several decades, in fact. What happened was horrible, but she’s been gone. I know you miss her, but we’re not helpless. And you sticking around, waiting to save us? That’s not going to bring her back.”
He raised his gaze to meet her. “Are you telling me I’m not welcome?”
She sighed, taking a few steps to close the gap between them. “You always have friends amongst us, Mikhail. You know that. But you also have your own family, your own sister, your own kind, your responsibilities…” Anja let it trail off there.
Mikhail pressed a smile onto his lips. “Right as usual, Anja.”
“Go home, Mikhail,” she said, the corners of her lips twitching upwards. “Make it so we actually miss you before you show up again.”
He gave a nod. Anja tossed her hair and smiled in earnest before turning her back to him, stepping into the flora once more. He watched her retreat – watched her shadow melt into the trees – before he ever thought to move.
Go home, Mikhail. That would be easy if any Naimei knew where home was.
Note from V: For more information about Cally’s World, ECHOES OF BALANCE, the Ducante Originals, or Mikhail, please visit http://reuts.com.