|My Name Is A'yen|
About the Book
Title My Name Is A'yen
Genre: science fiction romance
Author Rachel Leigh Smith
Book heat level: PG-13
They've taken everything from him. Except his name.
The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant.
Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.
Hidden rooms, information caches, and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeders Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.
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Interview with A'yen
Tell us about yourself, please.
Well, I'm thirty-one, an only child, have no clue who my dad is, and I'm a slave. That's what the law says anyway. Thing is, though, I refuse to be one. I'm a person, same as you. Doesn't matter I'm a different species. I still have a brain, intelligence, and dreams. Just like humans. I damn well never gave my permission to humanity to make me a slave.
What is it that you want, but cannot have? Authors call this the conflict of the story.
To be free and make my own choices. I can't have it because I'm a slave, and the only way for my species to not be a slave is to be dead. It'd break my mom's heart if I died, though when my story opens I'm tired of life and don't want any part of it.
Then there's the whole bit with Fae pushing at me and me not being ready to let go of my dead lover. She's so different from him, and doesn't always see me as a person. When she started uncovering things that prove this planet once belonged to my people, someone in the expedition started threatening her. Me being the idiot I am I did the only thing I knew how to do: sacrifice my choices to save her.
What's your internal limitation? Meaning, what is it about you that makes it so you cannot do what it is you need to do during this story?
I'm invisible to most people. Then there are a handful who I wish didn't see me. See, I'm viewed as less-than. Something for others to play with, with no regard for my feelings and needs. So I'm a bit of a recluse, to keep people from seeing me and wanting things from me I have no intention of giving them. I know I need to stand up for myself, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
I'm also not used to standing on my own. For the last twenty years I hid behind the man who owned me. He was also my lover. He wouldn't let anyone mistreat or abuse me, and he loved me with all his heart and soul. I was a person to him, the person who held his heart. Then he died protecting me. I don't like being alone, but I also don't want people around me. I think you humans call that being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I don't trust easily, because humans see me as a thing to possess. The men of my species are both feared and lusted after. By everyone. I chose of my own free will to sleep with a human male, but most of us don't have any choice at all about whether we warm a human's bed.
What's your external complication? In the story world your author created, explain what it is you fear most.
Ooh, lady. You go deep here. What I fear most? Being alone. See, I know what it is to be loved to the point of sacrifice. And I won't settle for anything less. But to do that I have to let people get close to me. Which I'm not good at, as evidenced by the many ways I push Fae away from me and try to lock her out of my heart.
The one time I let someone all the way into my heart, I lost him. With him I was never alone, even when it was just the two of us.
I also fear being used. It steals your heart and soul one piece at a time. The expedition members see me as dangerous. They don't care I have skills they need. They try to put me into their box of what my species is supposed to be: free labor. Except I have a skill and a trade they need.
You can probably guess at this point what I do in the story. I isolate myself and let myself be used. To keep my loved ones safe. Because they're worth it. Love means nothing without sacrifice.
Tell us about your significant other, that person who makes living worthwhile.
Ah, Fae. She's everything light and beautiful in my world. She's an archaeologist and one of the few who think I should be a free man. It's a beautiful thing. When she looks at me I feel real, more than property. Like I matter. I'm not invisible to her, nor is she afraid of me.
What would that person say about you?
That I'm stubborn, don't know when to keep my mouth shut, and that I complete her.
Are you happy with the way your story ended? Why or why not?
I totally am! I got the girl, found the planet my people once called home, met my dad, learned to stand up for myself. And the story's not over. Finding our home is the first chapter. Getting it back is the real struggle.
About the Writer
You have the length of a tweet (140 characters) to describe yourself as a writer. Let's see what you can do.
I write romance for the hero lover.
Why did you choose to write about this character?
I didn't! He chose me then wouldn't leave me alone. I dreamed him one night and the very next day dove into his story. I haven't left it since.
Was there anything you discovered about this character that was a surprise to you?
Yes. He's bi. I suspected it when I was working on the opening chapters, but it still surprised me when he confirmed it and showed me how much he loved Wayan Mesu.
Why do you write?
I can't not write. Stringing words together is as important to me as oxygen. I went through a dry spell a few years ago, because of circumstances in my life, and it was awful. The not being able to write made everything so much worse.
What do you want to write next?
I'm finishing up the first draft of A'yen's Legacy #4, Heart of Winter. After that I have edits on book three. After that's done I'm diving into A'yen's Legacy #6, Essence of Loyalty.
Are any sequels planned for this book?
Not just planned. Written. Book two, The King's Mistress, releases January 20, 2015. Book three, To Save A Life, will be out in the spring. Four and five are written, and I'm brewing on six, seven, and eight.
Rachel Leigh Smith writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family and a half-crazed calico. When not writing, which isn't often, she's hanging with her family, doing counted cross-stitch, or yakking about life, the universe, and everything with her besties. There may also be Netflix binging . . .
She's an active member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade and Romance Writers of America. You can sign up for her newsletter at her website.
Author Social Media
Amazon Author Page www.amazon.com/author/rachelleighsmith
Amazon Author Page www.amazon.com/author/rachelleighsmith