I want to welcome Rachel Leigh Smith. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.
I write romance for the hero lover. Because I’m a hero lover. Whenever you pick up a book with my name on it you can be certain it’s a story about the hero.
I live in Louisiana, where I root for the Arkansas Razorbacks because my dad’s a UA alum and I was born in Little Rock. I’m the oldest of four, was homeschooled, love cats, and shrimp is my favorite food. Purple is my favorite color. I do my hair and makeup 1940’s style. Tom Selleck is one of the sexiest men alive. And chocolate should always be eaten without fruit, without nuts, without caramel, and absolutely without whipped cream.
Tell us about your latest release.
It’s the first book in the A’yen’s Legacy series, My Name Is A’yen. Set 3,000 years in the future it’s the story of an enslaved alien race’s fight to restore their freedom and return to their homeworld.
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.
Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.
1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?
Scorpius! He was the villain in Farscape, a space opera TV show that ran from 1999 to 2003 on SyFy, back when it was spelled Sci-Fi. He wanted the wormhole knowledge in the main character’s brain, and no tactic was too low for him. He went so far as to put a mental clone of himself in Crichton’s head and it wreaked all kinds of havoc.
Scorpy, as Crichton called him, is a fully formed, three-dimensional bad guy with a complete back-story and moments where you almost feel sorry for him.
2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?
A’yen, without a doubt. He’s the main character in the first three A’yen’s Legacy books. His arrival helped me heal from a marriage gone bad and restored my ability to write. I wrote the first draft of My Name Is A’yen in 86 days. He’s a snarky smart-ass who will do anything to keep his heroine safe. Including sacrificing his own dignity and pride.
3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write science fiction romance and historical romance. Weird combo, I know. History has always been my favorite subject, so it was a natural thing to settle on when I wrote my first novel.
The SFR came out of nowhere. I had no idea it was an actual genre until after I finished the first draft of My Name Is A’yen. Now I have five completed SFR novels in the A’yen’s Legacy universe, half a dozen more planned, and another SFR series built on multiverse theory and alien genetic experiments.
4.) What are you working on now?
I’m deep in edits on A’yen’s Legacy numbers two and three, The King’s Mistress and To Save A Life. The King’s Mistress releases January 20.
5.) What got you to start writing?
I don’t really remember ever not writing. The first thing I clearly remember writing was what I considered missing scenes from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, namely between the beach kiss and the wedding. I also wrote Hardy Boys and Thoroughbred fan fiction for several years before switching exclusively to original stuff. I finished my first novel in the fall of 2011.
6.) Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere! My Name Is A’yen came in a dream. My historical was born out of research I was doing at my job at a plantation-turned-museum. My other SFR series came out of a desire to play with alternate dimensions and creatures with feline characteristics. (I’m a cat person, and owned by a half-crazed calico.)
The fifth A’yen’s Legacy book was born after I read Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and asked myself what if someone was as trained as Acheron in physical pleasure, but actually enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to write. The hero in that one, Lorin, is about as polar opposite of A’yen as a hero can be.
7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
That I see the world in black and white. There’s right and there’s wrong, and very few shades of gray. Yet shades of gray is where I live in my writing. Go figure!
8.) Do you have any special talents?
I can swing dance and waltz. Other than words, I’m not that creative. Can’t draw, can only paint if it’s by number. I do counted cross-stitch all the time, and I have a fondness for intricate patterns that makes people stare at what I’m doing and wonder how I’m not losing my mind doing it. I like to use hand-dyed fabrics too and find just the right one to set off the design.
9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
Finish your first draft! You’ll learn more by finishing that very first first draft, than from any class or workshop you ever take. And it’s true. Once I had a completed novel under my belt I knew this was the life for me and that I had many many more stories in me.
10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
This is such a hard question. I’ve watched so much science fiction that I’ve absorbed the lessons of time travel. The first one is don’t mess things up. One of the easiest ways to mess things up is to talk to people.
That aside, a conversation with Louisa May Alcott would be fun. I love her stuff, especially An Old-Fashioned Girl. I’d like to ask her if she’s on Team Laurie or Team Professor Bhaer. I’m on Team Professor Bhaer, but my sister’s on Team Laurie.
11.) What song would you say describes your life?
You know, I can’t think of one. In the grand scheme of things my life has been pretty boring. I was 18 before I ever left the United States. But I love my life and wouldn’t trade places with anyone.
12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
A cat! So I could sleep most of the day and everyone would think I’m adorable while doing it. There are days I want to trade places with my cat, Zoe.
He did what he did best and faded into the background while Dr. Hart finished giving instructions. None of them applied to him anyway. She turned to him and he followed her back into the main room and set about gathering the things he’d need to measure the grid so he could lay out the base map.
Twenty minutes later all nineteen of them, counting him, left base camp. He remained up front with Dr. Hart despite the looks from some of the others. Part of his job was to keep her safe and, breeder’s daughter or not, he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t live up to his designation of protector. Even without having had those instincts enhanced when he was marked the first time, he’d still do it.
The group hiked for two miles through pristine forests painted with hues of purple, blue, orange, yellow, and red. Trying to capture the play of color had stymied him last time. Maybe with more time he’d figure out how to transfer it to paper. Here and there along the path, white flowers stretched for the sun. Still no bird song.
Like last time, the presence of pathways and what might have been roads surprised him. It was almost as if the planet held its breath, waiting for someone to return. These little details were things not even the best scans picked up. Mapping these almost roads could be useful, especially if Dr. Hart found evidence of a past civilization.
A growing part of him wanted her to succeed.
The path forked and they went left. Trees parted and another meadow stretched before them, the biggest one on this part of the continent, and a logical place to start looking for evidence of a city or village. Here and there stone pillars pointed to the sky. A rainbow of flowers covered every inch of the meadow. The earth-moving equipment covered the southeast corner of the meadow.
“I wish we didn’t have to get rid of these flowers to excavate. They’re so beautiful.”
One eyebrow lifted at the sorrow in her voice. “From what I remember, they’re fairly common.”
She looked at him then, a hint of a smile chasing across her face. “When you grow up on a desert world, there’s nothing fairly common about wildflowers.” Kneeling, she bent her head and inhaled the perfume wafting from the flowers.
So many contradictions wrapped up in this bundle named Farran Hart.
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Rachel_Leigh_Smith_My_Name_Is_A_yen?id=63tlBAAAQBAJ&hl=en