Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Liza O'Connor interviews the book, My Name Is A'yen by Rachel Leigh Smith

Finally, I've a book with a title short enough to spell. A’YEN.

Space Rep: Not so fast Bald Monkey Girl, the actual title is My Name is A’yen.

Liza: Surely, that's just a name tag from some conference the book attended.

Space Rep: Nope. Looked it up on Amazon. That's it title.

Liza: Are you sure? It looks a lot like my name tag when I attended the United Federation of Nuts conference.

Space Rep: Yeah, they are exactly the same, except everything is different but for 3 words. Also, if I recall, your conference was besieged by hungry mutant squirrels. I doubt if A’yen has the same problem.

Liza: But you don't know that since you've yet to transport him over. So bring A'yen and his name tag over and we'll ask him.

Space Rep:  Hello A'yen. I'm Nameless Space Rep and this is Liza. She'll be your interrogator for the next three days.

A’yen:  Interrogator? Rachel, pull me back, I'm in hostile territory.

Liza: No, you aren't. Space Rep is just being rude.
Have a table to rest upon. You're very pretty.

A’yen: *eyes with caution* What do you want from me? 

Liza: I just want to know more about you. You're a good looking book.

A’yen: Thank you...I think. You do know we are incompatible species right?

Liza: Nonsense, books are my best friends.

Space Rep: That's true, most aliens refuse to give her the time of the day.

Liza: That's because they have no idea where Earth is nor precisely what time it is in Denville, New Jersey, Earth, Milkyway Galaxy.

A’yen: Just so you know, I can only tell time in Louisiana, Earth, Milkyway. 

Liza: Close enough, since I tend to run an hour behind schedule. Give me one line that tells me the essence of your story.

A’yen: They've taken everything from him. Except his name.

Liza: Who? Squirrels?

A’yen: No! The humans that rule the planet. The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes.

Liza: This sounds much more serious than squirrels. What has happened?

A’yen: A'yen loved his master. He was allowed far more freedom than the average Loks Mé. Then his master was murdered, and A’yen was thrown into holding cell.

Liza: Did they think he murdered him?

No. Humans think he’s dangerous and must be controlled.

Liza: So he sits in his holding cell while his life drains away...

A’yen: Then a year later, a woman, an archaeologist, buys him. 

Liza: Why?

A’yen: For protection. She intends to travel to the Rim, the last unexplored territory on the planet.

Liza: Why does she want to go there?

A’yen: Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and she's determined to prove it.

Liza: Why does she care so much?

A’yen: A Loks Mé named Bren has raised Farren as her daughter. Farren, or Fae as she's called,  loves his people and wants to return them to the land she believes they came from. 

Liza: Well, that's very nice of her.

A’yen: Unfortunately, A’yen does not believe her intentions are honorable. She is the daughter of a breeder; she cannot be trusted.

Liza: That's unfair! She's trying to help. How can we sway A’yen's mind? 

A’yen: Be patient. Hidden rooms, information caches and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance.

Liza: Oh good. Then I won't have to bring in deranged squirrels. 

A’yen: Please don't.

Liza: So they fall in love and save all the Loks Mé?

A’yen: If only...When Fae is threatened, A’yen offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Association's radar.

Liza: Who is the Association? It sounds humanish, but what do these humans want?

 They’re the ones who keep the Loks  enslaved, so they can make lots of money.

Liza: And what will A’yen do?

A’yen: The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his 

Liza: And that is all you're going to tell me?

A’yen: A book must keep it's mystery.

Liza: Have you ever seen a book attacked by squirrels?

A’yen: *gasps* What do you want to keep the squirrels away?

Liza: I just want to peek politely beneath your covers.

A’yen: And if I allow this, you won't release the squirrels?

Liza: That is correct.

A’yen: Read away

A knock sounded on the door, soft but firm.
Why couldn’t they just leave him the hell alone? He tried to exhale the irritation. “Come in.”
It opened and a woman a little older than Mother stepped in. She closed the door and studied him. A’yen focused on not tensing. With his shirt off she’d know how uncomfortable this made him. “What do you want?”
Her eyes narrowed for a second. “If you’d kept your voice under control I wouldn’t have known the rumors were about you.”
Of course. He’d done the forbidden for Loks Mé men, willingly slept with a human man To make the situation worse A’yen had fallen in love with said human man, and turned down every advance from a Loks Mé woman. Except for one, but look how that mess turned out . . . He stood. Moved in front of her to stare down at her. “No one has the right to judge me for what I chose to do. I know what gets said about me behind my back.”
“I’m not here to judge you for who you choose to sleep with. I’m here to talk to you about Fae. My name is Bren, by the way.” Bren sat on the edge of the bed.
“A’yen.” A’yen didn’t move to lower himself to her level. “Who’s Fae?”
“Farran Hart, the woman who bought you yesterday. She in search of our people’s dream and she must succeed. No matter the cost.”

How dare she talk to him about cost. She hadn’t lost half her soul, or had her dignity stripped from her, or been marked to prevent defending herself. “So you only count me as one of us because you want something from me.” He crossed his arms. “And here I thought my own kind might finally try to accept me.”
Space Rep: That was very good. May I read more?

A’yen: Yes, of course, whatever keeps the squirrels away.
With a shake of her head she relaxed her posture. “You made your choices, A’yen. You knew what it would do. I made my choices, too, and the most important is I raised Fae as my own after my son was taken from me. I charge you with protecting her and bringing her safely home. Our dream of a planet to call home has become her own. She may seem oblivious to you at first, but this is something she’s never experienced before so give her time to adjust. Give her a chance to earn your trust.”
He kept his mouth shut. Bren didn’t know him, didn’t know what he’d been through, didn’t know the freedom he’d experienced at Master’s side. Master had never taught him to read human languages, but he could do everything else as well as any free man. Most times better.
And this woman sitting in front of him loved her human as much as A’yen loved his. No one had kept his from being taken, but he could make sure the same pain didn’t destroy Bren. “I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to her. Whether I trust her has nothing to do with it. Does she know about the marking laws?”
“Not the particulars. How long before third set for you?”
Every muscle tensed as the memories of the burning, stinging, and ripping washed over him. Nine and thirteen years ago, yet the memory of the pain still held the power to paralyze him. He’d tried to kill himself last time. Third would hurt even more since it would cover his spine and connect to the side markings. “One year and two days.”
“You’ll still be on the Rim, so there shouldn’t be a penalty for the delay.”
“I know.” He pointed at the door. “If you don’t mind I’d like to be left alone. I have no interest in hanging around with the others here and being judged nine ways to Sunday because I fell in love.”
Bren stood, smoothing her skirt as she did. “Breakfast is in fifteen minutes. Up the stairs and to the left. Right after, Fae will take you for a new wardrobe.” Bren left the room without slamming the door. At least one Loks Mé here possessed some self-control.

Space Rep:  This sounds very good. Can we buy it?

Liza: When you find the links, we can buy it.

Space Rep: All right!... Found them!

A’yen: Excellent. May I go home now?

Liza: Nope. We'll keep you for three days.

A’yen: Why?

Space Rep: Because Liza bought a cheap transponder service. It only guarantees full transmission every three days. If I send you back today, you'll probably be missing half your words.

A’yen: That's worse than deranged squirrels!

Liza: Not to worry. The hard part of the interview is over. Now give me the juicy details of Rachel.

A’yen: 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 bestie.

Liza: I believe Rachel has read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I think better of her already.

A'yen: She blogs sporadically at, can be found on Twitter @rachelleighgeek, and hangs out on Facebook, You can sign up for her newsletter at her website or FB page.  

Liza: Is that it?

A’yen: Is that not enough?

Liza: I want to know something no one else knows about Ms. Smith...if that is really her name. Is she perhaps under Witness protection?

A’yen:  **leans in** I have to whisper or she’ll hear me. She thinks Shemar Moore is the sexiest man alive. I’d be offended if I was real, because I’m pretty damn sexy myself.


  1. Thanks so much for having me today, Liza! And for keeping the squirrels from destroying A'yen.

  2. Any time. Stop by tomorrow because lots of my followers practice lateness.

    1. I definitely will! Gotta make sure the squirrels don't get out of hand.


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