An Unexpected
Literary Podcast

Every week, host Adam Sockel interviews a popular member of the literary world about their passions beyond what they're known for. These longform, relaxed conversations show listeners a new side of some of their favorite content creators as well as provide insight into the things that inspire their work.

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CosPlay like a champion with Ryan La Sala

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The internet’s Ryan La Sala is this week’s guest! You might know Ryan from such massive books like Reverie and Be Dazzled and he has a new book that you absolutely have to go get called The Honeys.

On today’s episode, Adam and Ryan discuss one of Ryan’s MANY passions… Cosplay! Ryan explains how cosplay helps him manifest his dreams and how his second book Be Dazzled went from being partially based on real events to literally becoming a “truth is stranger than fiction” actual moment. Ryan shares his experience in the cosplay world and also discusses potential costumes for the future.

You can view the episode transcript here.

Enjoyed this episode? Be sure to rate and review us on whatever platform you listen to your podcasts and send your feedback to [email protected] If you email us proof of your review, Adam will send you a personalized book recommendation via email! Thank you to everyone who did so after the first few episodes!

Adam Sockel (00:27):

You're listening to passions and prologues a literary podcast for each week. I'll interview an author about a thing they love and how it inspires their work. This is Adam SoCal. And if you are joining for the first time, thank you so much for tuning in. I really, really appreciate your support. If you have listened to the first three episodes, thank you for coming back. It means the world to me, in case you missed last week, it was an interview with Julia Whelan, where we talked all about her, truly masterful ability to pack a bag for a vacation. And I just can't explain to you how much fun that strange topic turned out to be. Instead of doing some positive feedback from all of you, wonderful listeners, I'll just do it. I'll just read a tweet that Julia said about the episode. This was an absolute delight.

Adam Sockel (01:11):

Adam asked me about my only hobby and you can very clearly hear what I sound like when I cannot shut up about something. So just a really, really fun episode. Check out if you haven't already today's episode is with Ryan LaSalla and we'll get to the main aspect of our conversation in just a moment, but you might know Ryan from his two already published books, bedazzled and RRY, and he has a new creepy horror novel called the honeys coming out on August 16th. So if you are listening to this, when it comes out, there's still time to pre-order, which extremely helps the author. If you're listening to this after August 16th, go get your copy. Wherever books are sold. Uh, before we get to that specific conversation, I wanna offer you a book recommendation that I'm really, really enjoying. And then I'll also do a TV show, which is a rarity for me <laugh> but I just finished the woman in the library by Ary Gente.

Adam Sockel (02:05):

And I feel like readers. There's a very specific, uh, group of readers. If you are a reading glasses fan, this is a reading wheelhouse situation, but readers love books about books and specifically books about libraries. And of course we all of a murder mystery, and this is a book about a murder mystery that takes place within a library, but it's also the ultra rare book within a book within a book <laugh> um, the story kind of goes back and forth between these four new friends who met by chance in the Boston public library. They were in a reading room when they heard a woman's terrified scream and it ends up being a murder. This is not a spoiler. It takes place on like the first few pages. Um, but these four friends, these four people become fast friends, and then they kind of realize that they think one of them might be the murder as well, but it bounces back and forth between their story and this epi conversation back and forth between, uh, a very big fan of the person who's actually writing the story you're reading.

Adam Sockel (03:05):

And so it's this person giving notes to the author about different things that she could edit. And it's just really, really creepy and unsettling and interesting. Um, but to me it's like a perfect Agatha CTY novel. It's like one of those books where someone is murdered in a room that's lacked from the inside and all there is, is a, you know, puddle of water on the ground and you have to figure out what happened. So truly incredible. The woman in the library by sari Gentil, highly recommend it. Uh, the other thing I wanna recommend is the TV show, the bear on FX. And if you've watched TV at all, you may have seen it, but I'm not. It's hard for me to fall for a television show. I just don't like watching TV. I don't like long drawn out things, but the bear is a 30 minute kind of drama comedy about this world class chef who goes back to his roots in Chicago, after his brother dies by suicide.

Adam Sockel (03:59):

And he tries to save the like family owned sandwich shop basically. And it's just this incredible cast of characters and it is so true to life, to the food industry. And it's really incredible. So highly recommend the bear highly recommend the woman in the library. Both definitely check him out. Okay. Today's conversation with Ryan lasal I promise that the format of this podcast is pretty standard. I find a person to talk to. We talk about a thing that they're super passionate about. I jokingly said in episode two with Brad Meltzer, that he didn't know what we were gonna talk about, but he knew it was gonna be the Muppets, but that was me deciding this is slightly different because Ryan didn't tell me what we were gonna talk about until we were live in recording. So he gave me a few options and, uh, I'll let you hear what we ended up picking.

Adam Sockel (04:46):

But Ryan is just a, one of the funniest people around. I've constantly said, he's the best follow on all of social media, but he's hilarious, but he's also intelligent and such a wonderful writer. And he just really understands how to tell a story in a way that keeps you kinda, it sinks its teeth into you and you can't, you know, you can't let go and you, you ride it out to the very end. So, uh, the honeys is the exact same way and, and you're gonna love it if you've loved his other two books. So, okay. I'm not gonna keep you in this intro any longer. I'm so delighted about this conversation. So I hope you do enjoy this discussion with Ryan Las on passions and prologues. So hello. Hi, hello. This year, the first person who has come on that I have no clue what you're gonna say when I ask you this first question and I can't wait mm-hmm <affirmative> so Ryan, what are the, what's the thing or things you're crazy passionate about?

Ryan La Sala (05:54):

Oh my goodness. I have been waiting my whole life to be asked this question. I feel like I am just somebody who has a whole life that happens to write books. And that's like a really minor part of like my world in my mind, but it is the only thing that I get interviewed about. And so occasionally someone will ask me this and it's very exciting. So I have a bunch of stuff that we could talk about. So I'm gonna give you like a choice we can talk about. We could talk about anime, specifically, sailor, moon. You know, I love sailor moon. We can talk about cats, the musical. That is always a hot topic with me. Okay. I can see you flinching already. <laugh>

Adam Sockel (06:30):

No, we'll listen. I'm not flinching so much. No. Keep going. We'll see. We're always in.

Ryan La Sala (06:36):

We can talk about, um, cause play and like con culture. That's what I thought we would talk about when I was thinking ahead of like, what would actually be sort of like fun to talk about. That's probably a good one. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, we can definitely talk about working out exercise actually on my list. When we were originally supposed to record this was gonna be rollerblading, but literally then my friend broke their wrist right before we were supposed to have this interview. So I think we should take that off the table, but I'll see if I can like slip it in somewhere.

Adam Sockel (07:02):

Okay. So tell you what here's, what we're gonna do because I have, I have, we've had, I've done a recording with someone. We talked about power lifting. I

Ryan La Sala (07:09):

Heard I

Adam Sockel (07:09):

Heard and it was, it was wonderful. And you, you are well known as well for being a very in shape person. I, I love every time you post, honestly, the way that you post stuff about again, like when you, I think you, my favorite tweet of yours ever was you were like breaking news, my arms or something.

Ryan La Sala (07:26):


Adam Sockel (07:28):

Let's do cosplay. Cause we can work in anime and cats. Technically there I can, yeah. Are out there for people who have read your work for dazzled is task play connected, but it's more so crafting. Right? So let's start from there because I do think actually before the, I think like before I ever interviewed you for re I think I did get to know you as an online person, through your frequent posting of mm-hmm <affirmative> things that you created. So when did you start getting into cosplay? What interested in you about it kind of like take us through your introduction to cosplay.

Ryan La Sala (08:04):

The year is 2017 and I'm dating a really hot guy. And this is actually also, this is probably how you found me, because this is like when book Twitter became aware of me, it's because I was dating this like really cute guy that everyone was like head over heels in, in like a book Twitter world. Everyone's like a freaking nerd. So if one of us KNS like a civilian, especially a civilian with like a nice jawline and a symmetrical face, it's like big news to everybody. And so I was dating this guy who was super cute. And this is like the thing that like I was known for my like really cute boyfriend mm-hmm <affirmative> and also we would take a lot of photos at the gym. And this is how I got known for wearing like exclusively short shorts to the point that I attended a book event this same year, as people were starting to learn my name and someone literally came up to me and said, oh my God, God, Ryan, Ryan Las, I didn't recognize you as pants on pants had.

Ryan La Sala (08:59):

Yeah, this is like the middle of February in Boston. And I was like, well, well I do wear pants except of course, like at the gym. So this guy he's great. His name's Sal, he would not care about me mentioning his name. We're very good friends. I'm literally like I was texting earlier today. I'm gonna go support him at like a marathon. We're no longer dating <laugh>. So that, that factors into the story. But at the time he was like, you are really creative. You're really crafty. Cause I used to throw all these like costume parties mm-hmm <affirmative> and this was like, this was an amazing thing to him. I was throwing these amazing costume parties and he was like, I would love to see you like Coplay by which he meant, I would love to see you make me a Coplay <laugh> so that we can go to like ComicCon together. Cause I'd never gone to like New York ComicCon or like anime, Boston or any of these big conventions. And he had, and he knew that like, if you can craft something, if you can create a cool costume, like you become a celebrity for the day and these things, and he saw his bid for power in my hands, like I could create that for us. So that's how I got into the world of Coplay. It was through like this guy and making a costume for the first time, which we debuted at com Kong

Adam Sockel (10:10):

For the record. I think the reason that I discovered you was I think sexy angler fish was making

Ryan La Sala (10:17):

Yes. Oh God. Yeah. For those that don't know, one of my most iconic costumes is a sexy female angler fish, which is this like horrific fish costume that just like up Heights, the upper half of my body with like all these like teeth and then like really sexy legs with pumps on <laugh>. Yeah.

Adam Sockel (10:35):

Like I genuinely remember saying that before, like I think our interview was scheduled and I saw that and I was like, I am so excited to talk to this human being. <laugh> that was so great. Um, so what was, do you mind talking about what the first like cosplay was of what you guys created and things like that?

Ryan La Sala (10:50):

Yeah, absolutely. So the very first cosplay I made, I, I should say we made cuz he did help, but it was fundamentally sort of me making everything cuz like it was in my apartment. I'm the one that like bought all the goods. Like I did all the research, but it was Hawkman from the DC universe mm-hmm <affirmative> and at the time I was like, Sal, we should not both be Hawkman. That doesn't make sense. Like I'll be Hawk woman. You can be Hawk man. And he was like, no, I want us both be Hawk man. So it was very strange. It was like the two of us dressed with like the same cost. So I had to make the same cost like twice, twice. Yeah. And we did a really good job, but it, uh, looked great. But the thing is, it was like how I learned how to make stuff at like that kind of scale.

Ryan La Sala (11:30):

Right? Like it was the most like put together off that I had ever made. And the result was, I didn't really know what I was doing. So we went all the way to, to ComicCon and I was like, so sleep deprived by the time we got there, um, we hadn't really had time to put anything together or on our bodies. So like the day that we wore was sort of the first day that we like tested anything out and like low and behold, everything fell apart during the day. Like things just like would fall off our bodies. Like things were breaking. We were like hot gluing on the con floor. I literally had a hot glue gun with me plugged in at the Javit center. I don't even, I don't even think that's legal, but yeah, definitely not. <laugh> so it ended up being this like really tumultuous state for me, of course, like the guy that I was dating, like he was having a great time. Cause we were like taking photos with everybody and uh, I remember thinking like, wow, we're having really different experiences because I made this costume. But like you look better in it. So we were like getting all the attention and I'm like hot Glu in the background. And the day after I called my agent and I was like, Hey, I think of a good idea for like a romcom. And that became bedazzled mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Adam Sockel (12:28):

So when you are putting together a cosplay, cause I feel like this is one of, I feel like there's a lot of areas of the internet that I am a, like a lurker slash mm-hmm. <affirmative> like, I've never done cosplay, but I watch so many TikTok, Instagram reels and accounts where they're putting together their cosplay. Yeah. And like the really elaborate ones where they have like MEChA like mechanisms in there and stuff. And I'm always just blown away because I don't even like putting together a Halloween costume that takes more than like me going to the thrift store. Yeah. And so when I see people that are spending that much time on it, what, honestly, the thing that I always am left wondering, and I, I ask you is how do you decide? It's almost like a, I guess almost like when you decide what book you wanna focus on for, you know, six months or however long it takes you to write the first draft. Like how do you decide on a cosplay costume that you're like, okay, I wanna spend X amount of weeks on this and X amount of dollars mm-hmm <affirmative> to, to go towards like, how do you hone in on what you want to do next?

Ryan La Sala (13:27):

Well, I think fundamentally it's like, which character do you resonate with? Like whose like role do you want to step into? Cause that's what you're doing. When you put on a costume, you're making the fantasy, a wearable artifact that you can sort of step into. So like I think that probably is the main thing that factors into a lot of people, right? Like whose power do you want to kind of become mm-hmm <affirmative> however, for me, because I've only created sort of this one really big Coplay. And then the one that I made last year, I created like a HN costume. If I look at like what's between those two, it's usually like revenge <laugh> is kinda the reason that I end up make some, making something really elaborate. And what I mean by that is that after this whole incident at New York ComicCon years ago with this guy, we, uh, we did end up breaking up, not because of like anything that happened at the con, but for like, you know, other reasons.

Ryan La Sala (14:16):

But the, in the aftermath I did end up like having, it was like the next year. And it was like a month before ComicCon and I did end up having to like help him with his costume anyways, like a month after breaking up. And then, and then the year after that he stole my idea. Like I had had this idea for us to work on and he took it, he took it, it was him from the power puff girls, which is like one of my favorite characters ever. And no one had read, be dazzled. I had only just finished writing it, but all of this like happens in that book. And I had written it before it actually happened in my real life. So I don't know if I like manifested it. You manifested for what? Yeah, it was really weird. And so it was a little spooky. And when I finally was like, okay, I'm gonna actually make something really cool. Cause I have, I have time. This is like the, in the past year. And it was cuz of COVID, you know, I have a lot more time at home. The thing that my mind kept returning to was I'm gonna do justice. Like for the version of me that sort of exists between my books in between real life that like never got to like actually do this. And so that's how I picked creating the HYM costume that I wore last year.

Adam Sockel (15:17):

I love that you like secreted in the universe of a negative, like a,

Ryan La Sala (15:23):

Yeah, it was, it was weird. And I'm like, I'm like, I better keep this like pattern on the DL. Cause my next book is about like horror and people dying and I don't wanna manifest that. So I just, I don't wanna repeat incident <laugh> of yeah. Stuff happening. Um,

Adam Sockel (15:37):

When you are focusing on a cos place, I here's why, I'm glad that you gave me a few other things that you like talk about. Cause I'm gonna see how I can do this. Yeah. Do you stick to like, I wanna do stuff in like the anime world, like have you thought about doing a sailor moon? Are you thinking about doing a rut tugger? Like <laugh> yeah. Was it ski shanks? Like, are you gonna do a cast? I think those are, think those two, Mr. S are the three cats that I know. Do you have a, because obviously cast is such a wide thing and, and it can be obvious obviously a lot of the, because, but the people are going to wear to a specific con is gonna be themed around whatever that con is. Mm-hmm <affirmative> do you tend to find yourself sticking to like anime cartoons that you like? Like how does how's your process work?

Ryan La Sala (16:23):

I am so taken in by like the theater of everything and like the fantasy of all the things that I really love, that I can see myself doing costumes for any of those things. Like the second I walk out of like cats are really like, I saw wicked recently too. And the second I walked out, I was like, oh, I like want to try recreating like half the things I saw. And that's what I'm thinking about when I like watch shows or anything. I'm thinking, how can I make that? Cuz something that I've always had is this inclination to kind of manifest my dreams in reality. I mean, that's what Rey, my first book is literally about. Right? Yeah. Like the theme is taking something that's fantasy and creating it in your world. And that's been something that I've tried to do my entire life, both with my books, but that's kind of how I got into crafting.

Ryan La Sala (17:02):

That's how I got into like fashion and wardrobe alteration in General's cuz in high school I consistently would see clothing, like women's clothing that I thought was so much more interesting, but you know, wouldn't fit me. And so I would, I would alter it. I would buy like fabric. I would make my own clothes. I would buy like, you know, boys' clothing and like paint on it, make it interesting. Mm-hmm <affirmative> basically make it really flamboyant looking. And the, the urge to kind of create things for myself and to do stuff with my hands sort of underpin all of it. So yeah, I could definitely see myself making something from sailor moon or something from cats, actually one of my next cause plays will be a sailor moon Coplay. I think.

Adam Sockel (17:42):

So some of the other conversations I've had, I've had to like, I've talked to the, the authors and we kind of have to like squint and be like, how does that thing connect to like, um, like Neely Siegel who I know, you know,

Ryan La Sala (17:52):

I love them. Yeah.

Adam Sockel (17:54):

So Neely's wonderful. She talks about hockey. And so I was like, how,

Ryan La Sala (17:57):

How does this

Adam Sockel (17:58):

Work? And like, we found a way through it, but it, I mean, to me, it sounds like when you're talking about the process of going to like pick out clothing and then changing enough, like, is that process similar to when you're writing a book? Like, do you see through lines between the two?

Ryan La Sala (18:11):

Absolutely. I only started writing because it just felt like a cheap way that I could kind of continue doing this like art of manifesting dreams. Right. Like when I was a kid, I would draw actually still draw a ton. And I was like, I wanna be an animator. I wanna do comic books. And then I was like, no, I wanna be a pop star. I wanna be on stage. Like all of these kind of come from the same place of like, I want to express myself somehow mm-hmm <affirmative> and writing truly writing just felt like something that like, it was cheap. It was easy. I was always gonna have pen and paper or like a word processor on like a computer and you know, famously, you can get into writing with like $0. Right. You don't need to buy anything to do it. And if you're traditionally published, like you don't pay anybody. Right. You eventually get paid. So that's kind of how I got into writing. I just wanted to make stuff and it just felt simple to kind of go that route mm-hmm <affirmative> but yeah. Does that make sense?

Adam Sockel (19:04):

Yeah, absolutely. And I actually know, I, I love that you mentioned the whole, like, you don't really need any money to become a writer. Like mm-hmm I told you before I started querying and as people are probably getting tired of hearing me say, or before we started recording. Yeah. I'm querying this week. I, I got like I'm I feel like I'm officially in the like writing community. Cause I got my first group of rejections, which didn't amazing.

Ryan La Sala (19:21):

Yeah. Yeah. That's great.

Adam Sockel (19:23):

Like the thing about it that I honestly really did enjoy is like, I was able to find these literary agents who, because I've been in the literary world for a long time, like I know their name and I emailed them and like just even the thought, like those people were like, Hey, read your query. And like, they commented on they're like, this is the part that I liked. I'm gonna pass on it. But I really appreciate like, even just that little like, oh, I, I wrote this and there was no dollars towards it. And like, I didn't ask anybody for anything. And it was just like, I, this person responded like that in, in and of itself is, is lovely. And I watch

Ryan La Sala (19:51):

You're in it. Right. Like you are, that's what the rejection means is like you are engaging, it's now a dialogue rather than you monologing to yourself and your creativity.

Adam Sockel (19:59):

Right, exactly. But one of the things I wanted to ask you about is you were, you know, talking about these different things, like you said, like watching an anime or going to a show or seeing a piece of clothing that you wanted to kind of to change up. You, I feel like we're similar in a situation where thinking through your books so far, like re and bedazzled and then the honeys, which is your next one coming up where it's horror, like there are different types of genres and you all you jump through, like there's all these different things that you're interested in, like cosplay and anime working out and these different things that you put yourself out online. And I love that. It's not like, I don't wanna say people who just do like one genre are just one thing, cuz it's not true, but are you the type of person? Cause I very much am like I never wanna be defined by one thing I wanted. I want to do all these different things. Like, do you think about that when you're planning out your next, your next stories?

Ryan La Sala (20:47):

I have so much going on in my head that I feel like <laugh> the, the thing that like comes to mind is like I so much going on in my head that I, I sort of worry about like the day when we can like broadcast our thoughts. Like if I was Jean Gray, the world would just be obliterated because I would have no filter over it. And all the people around me would be going insane. Mm-hmm <affirmative> with all the stuff that I like think about. And so I'm amazed when people can focus and sort of just do one thing and do it really well. And like again and again and again, but that'll never ever be me. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I sort of have like a, a lot of energy and I spent a lot of it. Like the thing that kind of gives me energy back is pushing it into all of these different types of projects.

Ryan La Sala (21:27):

And like writing is the only thing that I've ever done where after I'm done doing it, I feel even like more energized, more myself, more like calibrated towards mm-hmm <affirmative> it, it just, it feels good to do. And same thing with like arts and crafts creating. And so, yeah, I mean, I do think about kind of the whiplash that I've given to people because I am in so many different places. Um, but unfortunately that's just like a fraction of like what I have to deal with every day living inside my own head. Yeah. So, sorry, sorry to the people out there, but I don't know. I'm strictly I'm of the mindset that, especially because I come at things from the point of view of like a queer creator mm-hmm <affirmative> like, I'm never gonna have enough lifetime to further my agenda of proving that there's not a genre where like queer people don't belong mm-hmm or there's not a space where like queer people, like can't do it well, and I'm also delusional and spiteful.

Ryan La Sala (22:16):

And so I also come from this from the angle of like, well, I can actually do it better. Yeah. So I can do it better and I can do a lot of things really well. So I'm sorry if you're exhausted by like how kind of pop is that sounds, but like I'm not gonna stop that, that, that's kind of like how I approach like something brand new is that I'm, I'm gonna do this. I wanna do it my way and it's gonna be awesome because it's mine and it's gonna be super gay and you're not, you're not gonna be able to compare to anything.

Adam Sockel (22:39):

Yeah. And, but the thing is like, I, I mean maybe I don't think that sounds pompous because I also feel that same way. Like when I'm writing something, I'm like, well, I'm writing this because no one else can tell this story and that's why it matters. And that's why it should be out in the world. And I, I like what, honestly, the way that I think about what you're saying is like I read RRY before, you know, obviously those was your first book. So there weren't, there was like a second book to go to. But then like when I read, but dad's with after RRY I was like, holy shit, these are completely different. I can't wait to see what he's gonna do next. And so to me, I feel like that's how I, I hope in anyway, that's how other people approach your books is.

Adam Sockel (23:12):

Like, I am imagining the person who reads the honeys as the first Ryan Las solid book that they ever read. And then they pick up RRY and they're like, what the mm-hmm <affirmative>. But like, I don't know, to me that's an exciting thing. And that's how I feel a lot, like you were mentioned this about writing and creating, like, it can be an exhausting process to read a book or I imagine to create an entire cosplay costume, but then seeing the final product. Does that give you that same feeling? Almost like, look at this, watch this here's how professional podcaster almost like working out does where you're exhausted at the end, but then you want to keep going and doing it again. Cuz you can see the results.

Ryan La Sala (23:45):

Absolutely. The whole reason I like working out and you know, arts and crafts, like the thing that those have in common is that you start a project and you can actually see the results on like a day to day basis. Like when you are a writer, so much of that process, it's just embedded deep in your subconscious and in your brain and you know, maybe on the file on your computer or like a notebook, but you can't really hold it. Right. Like it's just like a physical thing that lacks an actual like Al form. Yeah. So you can't interact with it in like material reality. Like you can like working out or something like that. So I really love those other things because they give you that feedback right away. And there's something like really, like, it kind of embeds you in reality when you're actually making something with your hands or if you're like exercising, but I'm lucky enough that now that I'm like in my career as an author, I can actually hold these books and I can actually like pick up an idea that I had once. Yeah. And that's a really cool feeling. It's really cool to say, you know, this is the actual like bound version of a dream that I once had. And like here it is. And further it's cool to know that it's, it's in a bunch of places it's in libraries and stores and it's changing sort of the, you know, those microcosms of reality out there, like one by one as well. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so yeah, it's, it's really neat to kind of see that influence take place in real time.

Adam Sockel (24:58):

Do you, when you're working on cosplays, do you show like friends what you're working on or do you kind wait for the big reveal at the end?

Ryan La Sala (25:07):

I will show friends. I have a few friends and they're actually the people that be dazzled is like the, the cast of that book is all modeled around. Like people that I actually know. And there's no like one to one parody just in case these friends, listen, they know this, but I have to point it out that like there's no like one character per person. It's loosely inspired by my group of friends. And I will in and date specifically my like one with Christina, who's named in the book as well. I will inundate her with like progress photos and she'll do the same for me. Like we both, like, we work on things, we compete together. We actually competed in like a cause by competition. Yeah. In November, which is a great story. If you wanna hear it, but no we'll send each other like progress photos in the progress models look bananas because what I think people don't understand is like, and this is true for all costuming.

Ryan La Sala (25:51):

Like even like, you know what you see the Avengers wearing, like before it looks good in final, it looks so bananas, cuckoo crazy. Like there are photos of me with like wrap wrapped around my entire body and like then duct tape place over the Seren wrap, cuz that's how you sort of get like a mold of your body that you can then like adhere like armor to and things like that. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and those techniques like they're used like up the food chain in terms of <crosstalk> too. So I have a treasure trove of very awkward, very ugly photos of myself and like all of these states of like getting ready. And then finally at the very end, there's like a gorgeous photo. That's what goes on the internet. That's what everybody else sees. No, I, I take a lot of progress photos. You also have to take progress photos if you wanna compete so that you can prove that you made the thing that you're wearing mm-hmm

Adam Sockel (26:34):

<affirmative> well, and I love that. You mentioned also that, like you said, like the, the things that you do are the same things that people are doing all the way up. And, and I do think that's one of the, the fascinations I have with, um, with cosplay, with writing, with, um, looking like, like bakers online and stuff is like, you see these people, like, I, I follow people probably wouldn't think about this knowing me, like I follow a bunch of makeup artists on Instagram. Like the ones that'll do, they'll like they have their, and it'll BEAC to like, they'll do like a little bit of sketching. And then they kind of like turn and their dramatic, you know, reveal is like their entire face is like, it looks like a prison cell or it's like it just these insane things. Yeah. And so I love what you said because you're right. Like knowing that in theory in 2022 and beyond like someone could start a cosplay channel or they could start writing. And it's the same process that people who are making endless amounts of money and getting notoriety for like, if you just keep working on it. And that feedback I imagine with like the cosplay community online is to be super like active. And how did you get into a competition with your guys' costume?

Ryan La Sala (27:40):

Okay. So my friend, Christina texts me and she's like, Hey, like, cause play seasons coming up. Like, are you gonna make anything? And this is like the precise moment when I felt that like Ember of revenge flare back to life. And I was like, oh my God, now's the time I'm gonna create the like him costume from the power gr girls. It's also what Rafi and B dazzled like creates for his big competition. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I don't know if you've ever encountered this. You definitely will. In your writing career, like there's always this sort of like gap between like, you know, cause we're writing about phenomenal people, right? Like these heroes and there's always this gap when people like meet us, the author being like, oh, well, you know, you know, you are not cat as Evergen in. Like I like, well, yeah, of course.

Ryan La Sala (28:21):

Cause we're right. We're making our people mm-hmm <affirmative> and that I'm self conscious of, you know, is that I am a crafter, but I can't craft at the level of, you know, the, the kids that I'm writing about. But I am like heavily researching it. And I know when people look me up, they're probably expecting like someone who knows what they're doing. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, there's no really, you know, there's no evidence of that. So I was like, okay, this is my chance to actually show that like, I can do this mm-hmm <affirmative> and I'm not planning to like compete. I'm just planning to like, make something cool and that'll be it. And of course that wasn't it. I ended up making it and we ended up like entering into, you have to apply to compete in the first place mm-hmm <affirmative>. So I appli to compete.

Ryan La Sala (28:54):

We get into the competition and like, suddenly it's on. And this is at, um, anime NYC, which is like the biggest anime. Yeah. East coast huge deal. So we get into the competition and Christina and I like, we make our outfits. And again, we are now acting out, be dazzled as like a pair, cuz this is like, again, like the friendship that like takes place in dazzled. We get to like the behind the scenes during the day of, and we immediately like are crust fallen cuz the people that are showing up for this competition, like, and we're in the beginners category and the people that are like the master's category have these like massive transforming calls plays. Like they, they press a button and in a Bluetooth device, like lights up a sword, like they look amazing. It is truly like fantasy walking in real life.

Ryan La Sala (29:38):

It was cool though at the same time. Cause you're getting to see all the people that you see, see like you see online and like they're real people. And again, it's that like you're confronted with the fact that like, you know, dreams are being made into reality. You're like, wow, you made this with your hands. Like, you're just, you know, you work at like Panera bread and then you go home and you like do this incredible skill that is extremely coveted. Like mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that's awesome. I love that. And so we, like, we have to present to the judges, the judges are, I end up like you present to the judges and this all takes place before, like the sort of pageant portion of it. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, it's just like the, the like behind the scenes where they get to see everything up close and the judges are like, like they hear my story about how, like I wrote a book, they like are fascinated by this and also like picking up on the fact that I'm like a crazy person <laugh> for basically writing a book about my ex-boyfriend who's with me at the concurrently and is having to watch me dress up in like this like revenge costume.

Ryan La Sala (30:26):

Yeah. He had dressed up in, you know, all this stuff happens. And then we have to do the actual like pageant portion, which is in front of like a massive 500 person audience and Christina. And I, you know, we both do our walks, we get off stage we're backstage. We're getting like complimented by, you know, the other contestants mm-hmm <affirmative> and eventually, you know, they go to announce the, the winners and um, of, you know, of course like the beginner's intermediate and master, there's like a first place for each of those. And then there's like a, there's like a best in show, but there's also like little superlatives where people that are like, you know, just doing it for the first time and probably need some sort of validation. And so we listen for the superlatives and neither of us gets named and it's stuff like, you know, sassiest walk, you know, best hair.

Ryan La Sala (31:03):

And I'm like, I should have be why not me? But you know, so of course we like, don't get no name for those. So at that point we sort of like set to the back of the stage, cuz we want to like leave room for everybody else. And then they go through like the winners of like the beginner and do media expert and then they get to best in show. And suddenly I hear my name. Yeah. And I proceed to win best in show for like the entire con dressed as like this particular character who like is from this book and, and who should shove through all of the camera met like camera men. There's like, people like interviewing me who shoves through all of them, but Sal my ex-boyfriend at this point and he like hugs me. And in my ear, in my ear, he whispers, honestly this is a little fucked up.

Ryan La Sala (31:48):

Isn't it <laugh> flight. I was like, I was like, yeah, eat a bitch. Like this like interaction it's called on camera. And then I proceed to like be handed a trophy and like flowers. Oh my God. That, that was so funny. Yeah. It was truly like an incredible circular moment in my life. And I mean, we're not even talking about this, but like the actual like reward of like getting awarded this by like other crafters and getting to like talk about like how I made stuff. Like mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that's truly what I wanted it wasn't about this relationship and it wasn't about bedazzled the book at that point is sort of transcended to actually being acknowledged for, you know, the cosplay side of it, which is really cool. So now I'm like a person in the cosplay community and yeah. I wanna show as like a beginner, which is super cool.

Adam Sockel (32:32):

I was just gonna say, you clearly have to, like, you have to now make something to be entered into like there's pressure. You can't not be in the next time. Right.

Ryan La Sala (32:40):

I'm retiring. I that's what I told everybody. I was like, actually it's over. Like, I, I can't keep doing this where like I take my hobbies and I turn them into books. Cause then it turns into this like complication of like pressure and like that's what happened with like reverie, the honeys be dazzled. Like I just keep writing about things that I like just happen to do. And I'm like running out of hobbies that I haven't monetized somehow <laugh> and that's what happened with like cosplay. I was like, I was like low behold, this like thing that I did as a separate like refuge from writing has now become like yet another like kind of like career thing and yeah, I'm kidding. I will definitely create more. I have tons of plans to do stuff, but I have flirted with the idea of just like giving it up for good, cuz it's such a fluke to like win something like this, there a fluke. And I just don't wanna, I don't wanna, I don't wanna lose

Adam Sockel (33:22):


Ryan La Sala (33:22):

I actually don't really care that bad, but like, you know, it'd be funny if I stopped doing it forever.

Speaker 3 (33:28):


Adam Sockel (33:28):

Be back with more passions and prologues after this break now back to passions and prologues. Okay. So have you, okay, so this will be a two part to get into the honeys a little bit. Have you thought about doing like a horror related cosplay and then also like how did the honeys come about since you kind of have like these almost like villain origin stories for the other two books? Like where did the interest wanna write a horror novel come from? So you can do the anime, have you thought of a, of a horror anime first and then we'll get into the actual book.

Ryan La Sala (34:08):

Yeah. So I have a bunch of craft projects for the honeys. I'm not doing it. I'm not building any causeways right now. Cause I'm sort of in promotion mode for that book. Yeah. Like I'm about to be on like I'm touring in August for it. I have a bunch of other appearances and so I'm not creating any like, I guess they are kind of causeways, but I'm basically creating like looks that I can wear like out in public, like for appearances. And so like I have designs in my head for like a bedazzled beekeeping suit, which I think would be really fun. Yeah. Like, you know, like a beekeeper veil is some like such a rich costume piece and I'm like, oh, like I would love to like embroid or something. So I have some ideas. I can't be too explicit about like a specific like honey's cosplay cuz there is one thing in the book that I think would be a really cool cosplay, but it's a total spoiler. So I can't like talk about it, but yeah, no, I, the biggest honor as a creator, as an author for me is to see people like Coplay or create like Fanar or basically create stuff around my books. So while I have ideas for like what I'll make, what I really would love is for other people to like mm-hmm <affirmative> create looks or costumes, like, you know, surprise me at like a com that would be the cool thing in the world.

Adam Sockel (35:13):

Yeah. So how did the, the book come about? Like, were you watching a specific movie or like what, how does this creepy horror novel and be, and everything come together. Were you, was it Macaulay, Calkin and you can't see without his glasses? Like what, how does this all come about?

Ryan La Sala (35:31):

So the honeys is about a, um, a gender fluid kid named Mars who uses like he, him pronouns, um, being of the novel least. And uh, it's about him basically trying to investigate the like hot, popular girls at a summer camp that he thinks have some connection to the murder of his sister who like died in relation to like this summer camp. Um, so Mars goes to summer camp to figure this out. And the main like Colonel for this is that, well, I went to summer camp. I loved summer camp, but I also had like a few like pretty perilous experiences as like a very flamboyant kid at summer camp. Like think one of the few like fist fights I got into was like at summer camp when, and this is like sleep boy camp. So, you know, like you're in the woods for weeks at a time is I would show up on summer camp and like just day one would lie compulsively.

Ryan La Sala (36:16):

I would just make shit up about who I was. I would have an accent. I would've been royalty. And I would just like truly like create like a character and like not my defense against like all things. And like one year I told like I just, the counselors that I had a medical exemption that meant that I had to have a, a walking stick with me at all times. Incredible. Not cause of like a limp or anything, just because it was like my comfort walking sick, but it was just because I needed like a weapon in case of <laugh> yeah. We had a soccer camp and like another, another time I like invented a witchcraft cult and like recruited people into this cult during like, and this I'm like nine at the time, just put some perspective. And, and I just really like eventually when I was thinking about like books, I wanted to write, I wanted to return to this setting where, you know, it's kids in the woods and whoever you are in society, whatever you have, it doesn't matter anymore because there's no one else with an earshot society is through miles and miles of forests.

Ryan La Sala (37:15):

You've just got yourself and you are coming and whatever you can think of on the spot. Right. And I wanted to write about like that particular tension. And that's why I put a queer kid in a summer camp and summer camps are like very binary. So like in your fluid, right? Like if you're like super queer, like, like I am, that becomes an issue, especially like a boys and girls camp. And that's why Mars in the book is infatuated with the honeys, these girls, because they are like sort of untouched by all of like these, that Mars to go through because they're hot and like, you know, hyper feminine and popular and they know something. And so that's what I was trying to, trying to get to cuz in many ways, that's the kind of kid that I was at camp. I was looking to run from the boys and I was looking to the girls for protection. Mm-hmm

Adam Sockel (37:57):

<affirmative> I, I love that concept of you can kind of be anyone you really do choose to be, I think, um, was it camp? Was it Elsie? Rosen?

Ryan La Sala (38:06):

Yeah. Yeah. Great example of this. Yeah.

Adam Sockel (38:08):

So like they literally, their main character basically reinvents themselves to try to, if I'm remembering, I sounds like you also know the book. I haven't a few months, but they recreate themselves to kinda like get this boy that they like to sort of fall for them. Yeah.

Ryan La Sala (38:26):

They decide to like Butch it up. Yeah. Like they show up on camp and like, despite people knowing who they're like, they show up, they would've camp and they're like actually I'm mask. Yeah. Like everyone's like you're at a theater camp for gay people. Yeah.

Adam Sockel (38:38):

Yeah. That's that was like the incredible part about that is like every other person was like, no, I really do love that idea of just being like, I'm gonna be who I'm gonna be. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and we'll figure it out. Yeah. I, and I also love you're. Right. Like I feel like summer camps, those like sleepaway camps, a perfect horror setting for, and not just because of like poor movies, but they're like you said, middle of the woods completely. Yeah. I,

Ryan La Sala (39:00):

Well here's like here's the through line. It's that like, and this is a theme that's in the honeys too. Like what it costs us to survive is often time. Like that's, what's under the microscope for so many people like me as this like little like lion kid, like yeah. I can like laugh about it. And of course, like there's probably something pathological about the way that I behaved, but mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that's what it took in order to like kind of stay, stay safe in like those scenarios. And that's what like Mara has to do in the honeys is that he's got to like do stuff that like are morally super ambiguous, but ultimately like how can we critique somebody when they're fighting for survival or for like, you know, revenge or for, you know, just cause, and I think we oftentimes create, we have to sort of create our means of survival and that's kind of what like costuming brings me as well. Right? Like a lot of people drag Queens included have to kind of create power in the form of like a persona that they step into in embody. And I think that that's such a fascinating exchange between like, you know, a normal human and then this like more powerful entity that they've got to become in order to, you know, outlast a harsh world. So I think that there is sort of a connection between a bunch of these different things. I'm doing your job for you.

Adam Sockel (40:09):

No, you're yeah. You're really killing it. Yeah. Ryan, Ryan also has hosted a podcast by the way. No big deal. Like

Ryan La Sala (40:16):

Yeah, but it's about banks, so it's different. And I would say don't exist in banks.

Adam Sockel (40:23):

Oh no. But so, but actually I did wanna ask you guys talking about these, all these things that you find joy in that you have done this, you said monetize. I, I had a couple conversations with author, so, uh, CA Beron was on and talked about musical theater and she talked about how she inserts that stuff into her stories. But then, um, mall O Rome was talking with me about how like, she, she loves power lifting and one of the reasons she loves it is because being in the book world, like we all are, she's like even the thing that I enjoy to do for fun, which is reading, she's like, I she's like I'm kind of a book person. And if, if I talk about a book online, people are gonna, it's gonna get attention and I can't be negative and it's stressful. So she uses power lifting as like that's her outlet.

Adam Sockel (41:06):

Yeah. And it sounds to me like you start off with an outlet and then like, I'm actually gonna write about that. Like, do you have to be cautious for your own kind like mental health and to find that line of taking a break because as an author, you really, you could in theory just constantly be working like, are you able to separate like, oh, this is a cosplay thing that I'm going to, I'm doing this for me. Or this is a, you know, I'm watching this anime because I love watching anime. Like, are you able to shut it off? Or do you always find yourself seeing like little ideas here and there

Ryan La Sala (41:40):

It's kind of a constant incessant flow of like, oh, I could use this. Oh, that would be really interesting to create. And I mean, luckily, like I said, creating stuff brings me so much energy and like so much joy that I don't feel vexed by this, but sometimes I do sort of wish I had something that was like completely separate. And that's what like, you know, working out is sort of that thing for me as well. Right. Like it's totally a part, has it requires like zero real brain function. I can like totally tune out. Yeah. I mean, there are times that I'm like, I wish I could kind of step out of this. Ironically, the thing that like now that I'm like a full-time creative have all these creative pursuits, the thing that I like dream of mm-hmm <affirmative>, I'm like, I feel like I'm gonna get like canceled for this is having like a like minimum wage job, just like a side, like a side job.

Ryan La Sala (42:23):

Like I wanna go work at like, I wanna go work at Panera bread. I wanna go work at Panera bread. I wanna change my name when people ask me what dreams and like what I do on my free time I lie and I, I say nothing. Yeah. And I just like, I have a job, I have a task and I can just do it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and literally the job that I think about, like it's not actually pair bread. I think about in Willie Wonka, Charlie fuck's father's job is like screwing toothpaste. And that's like my dream job. I'm like, oh, that sounds great. Like, I could just go and like listen to music and I have one task and I just do it over and over and over again. And like the monotony is just so appealing to me. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I'm like, not just talk on this, I've literally like, I mean, the irony being is that like, I'm not, I'm talking about getting a job as a hobby <laugh> yeah. Like aside from my patrol job, but, um, but recently, like I was chatting with some old coworkers from like my, my job in tech before I was an author and they were like, oh, actually we need some help with this thing. And I was like, oh my, can I like do that for you? So like on my like free time, I just do like little like corporate tasks <laugh> and it like brings me like meditation and I paid for it.

Adam Sockel (43:27):

I would say, I love that. I love the idea. That's how, you know, you are a good employee when you leave that company to pursue your dream. And then you're also like, but I'm also freelancing for them on the side. Like, yeah,

Ryan La Sala (43:36):

This is truly like, and I mean, the irony is, so the work that I'm doing for them is like interviews and like recruitment type stuff. Cuz I'm like talking, I like to talk to people and I can, I can talk day. So they're having me like, you know, interview like potential employees. And it's always really funny when like someone hooked me up, cuz they're like an interview with like Ryan. They like Google me. And they're like, I have an interview with like a clown, but basically at Google and they almost always think I'm somebody else until somehow like the conversation will like merge these two things and they'll like, admit, they're like, oh my God. Yeah. I like did a bunch of research. I also pre your book. Cause it sounded good. I wasn't sure if that's who I was talking to. That's you? And I'm like, yeah, sorry. That's that's me anyhow. Um,

Adam Sockel (44:15):

That's amazing.

Ryan La Sala (44:16):

Talk about salary requirements.

Adam Sockel (44:17):

<laugh> uh, I actually, I, so to on a different extent, like I, I was telling you before I started recording, I work for this wonderful tech company. It's Pluralsight. I don't like hiding where I work, but like people will join our company because it's so large. And our marketing team is so wildly talented. Someone will come on and I'll be like, I recognize that person. And then they'll look up their name and it's like, oh, cuz they have a giant food blog, but I get recipes off of like once a week or like, oh I followed their dog on Instagram. Like it's always something like that. It's yeah. Yeah. It never fails. It's so funny.

Ryan La Sala (44:44):

That's so weird. That's so interesting though.

Adam Sockel (44:45):

Yeah. Um, alright. So I am always the last question I'm having everybody answer is just like giving a recommendation for everybody. It could be a book. It could be, um, uh, an anime. It could be to watch cats, whatever you want, like a recommendation to be for everybody. What's a thing that you're really enjoying lately.

Ryan La Sala (45:05):

Oh, something that I'm really enjoying lately. I am. I am gonna go with an anime, actually. Hold on. I wanna double check. Okay. I have two things to talk about. Okay. First and foremost, if you have Netflix, um, these are two programs on Netflix that have just brought me like a lot of joy on the side. They both have to do with little Japanese children. The first one is old enough, which is a program from Japan where it's basically like little kids in Japan, cuz it's such a safe environment. Um, being told to like go run errands. And like we're talking like two, three years old and it's just like cameramen following these kids that are like trying to accomplish the daunting task of like delivering a letter to like the neighbor down the street. And it's so cute. They get like distracted. They like pick flowers.

Ryan La Sala (45:46):

They don't know how to do stuff. They like learn how to ask for help. And it's like seven minute episodes and I, you like, it's not like emotional or anything like that, but you'll sort of like cry cause it's so cute. So cute. Very cute. And then the other you'll also cry if you watch this, but it's this anime called Kotaro lives alone, which is uh, I think it's like also on Netflix and it's about this like this like man who lives in an apartment complex. Like he's like an artist and his life's not really going anywhere. You can tell that he's like depressed. He literally wears a sweatsuit at all times. One day he's like doorbell rings. Cause he is got a new neighbor and his new neighbor is a four year old named Karu who like lives alone. Mm-hmm <affirmative> hence the title of the anime and in the anime, like the big mystery is like, why does this like child of alone?

Ryan La Sala (46:28):

The child's like extremely formal can like take care of himself. But like no one really understands like why this like child like lives alone. And that's like the big mystery, but it's really sweet because basically the child has a lot of pride mm-hmm <affirmative> and all these people are trying to help this kid, like basically act as like they're standing for the parents. Uh, but they can't tell like they can't betray to the child that they're helping 'em so they have to make up reasons that actually like the child's helping them mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Like do these like chores and things like that. Um, go food shopping. Uh, and as a result, all these people that live in this apartment complex that never knew one another and sort of lived their lives in like parallel start to kind of form a family around this kid, like trying to raise this kid. And eventually you do sort of learn more about like the backstory and it's heartbreaking and beautiful, but it's super cute. And like also, you know, short little like episodes. So if that's something that you wanna, you want, you can turn it on in the background. It's really cute.

Adam Sockel (47:18):

That's that sounds amazing. I am absolutely gonna check that out. I

Ryan La Sala (47:21):

It's really good. It's really great. I sobbed in the second episode, so good luck.

Adam Sockel (47:25):

Thank you. Perfect. That's fine. Alright, well Ryan, you, as I've told a few times on these interviews now, like the first, just like several, like the first like dozen of these episodes of this podcast are just me talking to people that I am friendly with. And so I, when I reach out to you, you immediately were on board if I appreciate, but also I will say this wasn't just so Ryan, come on and talk if it's before August 2nd that you're listening to this go pre-order the honeys. If it's August 2nd or later, go buy the honeys please. Yeah. Make sure Ryan can keep doing his cosplay. He needs to,

Ryan La Sala (47:58):

Yeah. I need to. Supplies are expensive. Literally. They're so expensive. So Ryan Stone don't pay for themselves. Please go buy my books'. That's my sale. It's

Adam Sockel (48:09):

Ryan. Thank you for joining me today.

Ryan La Sala (48:10):

Thank you so much for having me. This is such a joy. Thank you,

Speaker 4 (48:20):

Passions and prologues is proud to be an evergreen podcast and was created by Adam SoCal who was produced by Adam SoCal and Sean rule Hoffman. And if you are interested in this podcast and any other evergreen podcast, you can go to evergreen to discover all the different stories we have to tell.

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