Greetings, book lovers! I have to admit, I’m particularly excited about today’s interview. Why is that? Well, because I get to talk about the world of Sandy Williams’s Shadow Reader series. The first book, The Shadow Reader, was an awesome debut novel that very rightfully garnered wide acclaim. (Check out my review of The Shadow Reader) The sequel, The Shattered Dark, is (fortunately!) going to be released on October 30, 2012.
However, I’m not interviewing Sandy Williams today, no no. As fantastic as that would be, I instead have the great honor of chatting with Aren, one of the major figures in the Shadow Reader series. If you’re not already familiar with Aren, here’s what’s you should know about him: he’s a warrior of the fae Realm, having fought for years in the resistance against the fae king Atroth…and later, those that would see the king’s oppressive ideals persist. Aside from being painfully handsome (and you can’t argue with light brown hair streaked with gold; a tall, solidly masculine build; and amazing silver-gray eyes that darken and lighten with emotion), Aren is fiercely loyal–and heck, he’s also just plain fierce. There’s pretty much nothing he wouldn’t do to protect those he cares about…and that includes McKenzie, shadow reader and protagonist to the series.
Please welcome Aren to BLI today! ^____^
Alisha: Thank you so much for sitting down with me for this chat, Aren. I know you’ve got so many things to take care of in the middle of all this instability in the Realm. Now, I have to start with this broad but important question… who are you, really? What motivates you?
Aren: *sexy half-grin* I’m exactly who and what I appear to be. I’m fae, which is obvious from the lightning on my skin when I’m here in your world, but more importantly, I’m a man who fights for what he believes in.
Alisha: If there’s one misconception about you that you’d like people to get straight, what would it be?
Aren: It’s not a misconception that I’d like to get straight. People are right to believe that I’ve done bad things. I have a shady past. I know that, I accept that, but I’ve changed. I’m fighting a good fight now, and I’ll see it through to the end. I’m not hungry for blood and violence; I want the Realm’s war to end just as much as anyone else does. In fact, I think I want it more. That’s what I want people to understand. I didn’t cause this conflict. I’m not the one prolonging it. I’m doing everything I can to stabilize the Realm.
Alisha: It’s no secret now that you are smitten with McKenzie. When did you realize you fell for her, someone who for all intents and purposes should have been your enemy for all the devastation she’d caused your people?
Aren: *laughs* I’m not sure when I fell for her. She bewitched me from the beginning. If I’d done the rational thing, I would have killed her instead of kidnapping her, but the moment I saw her on her college campus, I knew she was different. She was so… defiant. I expected fear. I expected her to plead for her life. I didn’t expect her to jump off the side of a building. She’s full of life, she’s passionate, and she’s sacrificed more than she should in this war. I’ve never met anyone like her.
Alisha: What’s your favorite place, your sanctuary? How do you unwind?
Aren: *snorts* I don’t have time to unwind these days. If I did, I’d spend every second with McKenzie, doing whatever she wants wherever she wants. I would like to take her to Haeth, though. That’s the birthplace of the rebellion, and the only place I’ve ever considered a home. I know she’s been there before, but only when she was shadow-reading for the king. I want her to see the city, the Kerrel Ocean, and the Adaris Mountains like I see them. I want her to love the Realm as much as I do. I don’t want it to be a place she has to survive.
Alisha: McKenzie makes no bones about her distaste for cabus, the energy replenishing fae beverage. Are there any human foods you really dislike? Any human food guilty pleasures?
Aren: Cabus isn’t that bad. Naito’s able to stomach it just fine. He’s a human friend of mine, a shadow-reader like McKenzie. I’ve tried some of the food he has at his place. I don’t like most of it. Humans process everything too much, and I don’t like the taste of the preservatives. The only thing human I’ve found that I’m quite fond of is their wines. The ones I’ve tried have so much depth and personality.
Alisha: You’ve spent your life all over the Realm and the Earth, fighting battles and protecting what’s important to you. Do you see yourself ever settling down for a “normal” life?
Aren: Sidhe, I hope so, though I’m not sure I’ll ever have what you call a normal life. I’ve been through too much and have too many people who rely on me. Plus, if McKenzie and I make it through all of this, it would be difficult to have a “normal” fae life with a human at my side. But I do want a quieter life. I think I can have that some day.
Alisha: The Realm has seen so much pain, destruction, division. What do you see as the the biggest challenge facing faekind? What will it take to make the Realm and its people return to prosperity–or have things always been the way they are now?
Aren: Things have been bad for over a decade now. The bloodlines are so diluted, it’s almost impossible to tell who should be ruling the Realm. Once the throne is secured, it should get better. Yes, there will still be false-bloods who try to take over, but most of those fae don’t gain much support. Our biggest obstacle right now is the high nobles. They don’t want any changes, so they’re not open to having a woman sit on the throne, even though that woman has the strongest bloodline of anyone willing to rule the Realm. Once we convince them that they need to rally behind Lena, things will get better.
Alisha: I appreciate your time in chatting with me, Aren. I wish you all the best of fortune and prosperity.
Aren: Thank you for having me here. I appreciate the opportunity to clear up a few things.
Sandy graduated from Texas A&M University with a double major in political science and history. She thought about attending law school. Fortunately, before handing over her life’s savings, she realized case studies weren’t nearly as interesting as novels and decided to get an MA in Library Science instead. She worked as a librarian until her husband whisked her off to London on an extended business trip. She’s now back home in Texas, writing full-time, raising newborn twin boys, and squeezing in time to play geeky board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Runebound.
She loves hanging out with other readers and talking about books. For recommendations, check out her Goodreads account. And if you have a favorite book or author, she’d love to hear from you on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.
McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows…
McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war between the fae.
With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.
Get ready, book lovers! One lucky winner will win a copy of Sandy’s book, The Shattered Dark.
All you have to do leave a meaningful comment about the post, or tell us: what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the fae?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, November 3, 2012; and we will announce the winner on Sunday.