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What’s your favorite sweet treat?
Raw cookie dough. My current favorite is homemade chocolate chip cookie dough, but instead of chocolate chips I add in a mix of butterscotch chips and white chocolate chips. Since my family usually eats it raw, I use egg substitute to avoid food poisoning concerns.
Ideal summer vacation.
I don’t like the heat, so I’d much rather do a winter vacation. I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and stay in one of the shelters with glass ceilings so that you can watch the Northern Lights. During the day I’d hike glaciers, visit the hot springs, and see a volcano.
You’re stranded on a desert island—which character from your book do you want with you? Why?
As I said before, I don’t like the heat, so I’d like to get off that island ASAP, even if its gorgeous. The most powerful character to save me would be Kalakanya, since she’s a Crowned One, and with her metamorphosis complete, she can now star beam to any location. She’d get us both somewhere cool with ice coffee in a flash, quite literally.
Favorite pizza toppings.
Extra cheese, hot Italian sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and jalapeños.
Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?
All Nighter: Coffee ice cream with chocolate-covered expresso beans & caramel swirl.
While I don’t usually listen to music while writing, I almost always listen before writing sessions to figure out the day’s scenes. My favorite music for planning The Calling is Two Steps From Hell’s album Invincible.
However, recently I began making playlists for all my characters that will eventually be on my website. I created a general playlist for The Calling that I’ve linked below. It’s on Spotify, and if you download the free Spotify app, you should be able to access the music. The following is my spoiler-free reasoning for adding each song.
The first song is Hearts of Courage by Two Steps From Hell. When I imagine The Calling as a movie, this is its theme song. It starts out with a base beat that reminds me of the humans living below ground. Its joined by another higher and contrasting theme including a chorus that reminds me of the ethereal star beings. The two themes interplay and then reach a somewhat settled conclusion at the end.
The other songs are for the characters in order of appearance. For eighteen-year-old Bleu Reinier, who is constantly called by nature to leave his home and venture onto the Surface, I chose Into the Unknown by Idina Menzel. This song also fits chapter two where Bleu discovers he and his mother have an unusual connection to someone outside of Northern Haven.
For fifteen-year-old Ayanna Reinier, Bleu’s wild kid sister, I chose I’m Going Slightly Mad by Queen. Ayanna contracts the strange Sickness that is plaguing the teens and makes them lose their minds.
Commander Savas spends much of the book enjoying guns and mad at Educator Girak (Atsushi and Ayanna’s science teacher) for being a ‘traitor.” For Savas, I chose Traitor by Daughtry.
Bleu and his best friend Stamf (also 18) are the number one team in the holographic games arena. Stamf enjoys strutting his stuff in front of the women, so I chose Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, which I can imagine Stamf playing after a big match and trying to get Bleu to dance to.
Fifteen-year-old Atsushi has a sweet crush on Ayanna, but never knows how to quite make his move. I do Adore by Mindy Gledhill fits him well.
For Educator Girak and his wife Josefina Girak (both scientists), I chose The Science Love Song by ASAPScience. Their love is adorable and full of the humorous banter this song contains.
Star Being Characters:
The star beings have a vastly different culture and music based on their goal of Crowning, or metamorphosing into a near-enlightenment state of existence. For 16-year-old Rana, I chose Adi Shakti: Bhangra Mix by Sada Sat Kaur because of its danceable beat and mantra invoking the divine feminine. Rana wants to Crown more than anything, but fears she won’t because her parents were both rare failures at Crowning.
Rana’s best friend and possible love interest, Kahali plays the drums and is one of the best dancers around. For Kahali I chose Ceremony of Passage by Vas, because its one of the best songs I know that’s mainly drums and he’d love playing it.
Eka, another star being who also likes Rana, is more into wood carving. I struggled to find a song for him, but chose I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers because despite his anxiety, when he commits to something, he’s all in.
The final star being is Kalakanya, the only main character to have already Crowned. We Are Peace by Snatum Kaur is slightly dancey, a bit playful, but also has a strong message. It fits the way Kalakanya sees the world even when its falling apart around her.
The Calling is a multiple point of view sci-fi adventure novel that features the POV of Bleu, Atsushi, Commander Savas, Rana, and Kahali. Step into their world with their playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/403roJ5G7O7Gqt5G162Kdu?si=9CYv3zBITSWlj9yoDGRFFA
When Bleu’s little sister shows symptoms of the deadly Sickness, a strange vision directs him to leave humanity’s subterranean haven and seek the cure on Earth’s glacial surface. Joining the expedition team, Bleu expects extreme temperatures, not a surface ruled by ingenious predators.
Rana and her fellow star beings have co-existed with Earth’s top carnivores since the humans disappeared. But when her peers transform into Crowned Ones, the final stage of star being development, she fears remaining Uncrowned like her parents. To prove her worth, she undertakes a dangerous mission—contacting the hostile and nearly extinct humans.
But Rana’s plan backfires, and Bleu’s team retaliates. As war with the more advanced star being civilization looms, both Rana and Bleu separately seek a way to save their people.
Read an Excerpt
“All right, get out, men.” Savas had never experienced such peace on the last mission. This was truly pleasant. They climbed out of the rover, and he tripped on his own feet as if drunk.
Laughing at himself, he reminded the others, “Guns out. Stamf, take the lead. I’ll bring up the rear.”
He paused, swaying a bit, while the other two men passed him and then proceeded slowly down the left branch. Sparkling light from farther down the tunnel lit their way. With a quick glance back toward the entrance, he took up the rear.
Then a voice as ethereal as the wind sang, “Caaaaaahm heeeeeeeere…caaaaaaaaaahm heeeeeeeere…”
What the hell?
Savas shook his head, blinked, and tapped his ear communicator. Stamf and Abdul, farther ahead, had frozen and appeared confused, swaying in place.
Something was terribly wrong. Was this cave filled with noxious fumes? Had they all gotten cold sickness? The databases talked of arctic workers becoming weak and confused by the extreme temperatures.
Think! Think. Savas wanted to lie down and nap. What’s wrong with me? Images from his childhood tumbled through his head. Not now. Not again. I control my own mind.
“Caaaaaaaaahm heeeeeeeeere,” the voice lulled, endlessly peaceful.
They all mindlessly continued forward, as if in a dream. A small part of Savas’ brain screamed in warning. I. Control. My. Own. Mind. He grunted with the effort. Fighting the urge to relax, Savas forced his hands to raise his weapon.
About the Author:
Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her previously published works include contributing to a nonfiction yoga book, wellness magazines, and her published science fiction novella, Silence of the Song Trees.
Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735915998
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