My Name Is A’yen is very special to me. He came to me in a dream on May 16, 2012. What I should have been celebrating as my third wedding anniversary. But I wasn’t. Divorce proceedings had started the month before. My happily ever after was dashed by a man who was not who he presented himself to be. I married a lie, and the worst part is he fooled my whole family.
I spent a year where I didn’t write a single word, from March 2010 to March 2011. I’d been someone who wrote every day or I risked losing my marbles. There was a lot in me, but I couldn’t get it out. I was dried up inside, grieving, and lost. In March 2011 I went to stay with my grandmother while she recovered from surgery, and my words came back. I finished a historical romance, which I pitched that fall at a conference and both agents asked for the full.
Both said no, and I couldn’t really figure out why since both loved my voice and the fact it was a story they’d never seen before. Then A’yen walked into my life and I knew why they said no. Neither agent repped speculative anything and neither would have been okay with me wanting to write it. Both agents are known as historical romance agents.
I spent the summer of 2012 writing My Name Is A’yen. It was like coming back to life after a long hibernation. Everything was new and exciting again. All my writer friends who read it loved it and encouraged me to do something with it. My crit partner may or may not have threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t get this story out there.
I didn’t listen for awhile. I tried to go back to the sequel to my historical romance. Didn’t get very far. Set it aside and started the sequel to My Name Is A’yen instead. Then I wrote the third one. Then I wrote the fifth one. Now I’m writing the fourth one. And I never want to leave this world. It’s been just over two years since A’yen arrived, and I’ve written four and a half novels. Every single one is over 100,000 words. Counting in the half finished one and the prequel I’ve started I’m at over half a million words—500,000+—in two years and three months.
A’yen helped me heal. He was grieving the death of his lover at the start of the book, and another romantic relationship was the absolute last thing on his mind. Every dream he’d ever had was dead and splintered at his feet, and nobody around him acknowledged those dreams were important to him. I went through that phase, too, minus the acknowledging my dreams were important. My thing was nobody believed me about how bad things had become with the ex, and it took me calling the police to report a domestic disturbance before my family realized I wasn’t exaggerating. Which I have a habit of doing in certain situations. . .
I came back home after my marriage died, and couldn’t figure out where I fit in with my family. When I say home, I mean HOME, as in I moved back into my parents’ house, where I’d still lived when I got married. It was hard and I was lost. A’yen was lost too and couldn’t figure out where he fit in. In chapter three he returns to a familiar place, his second home, and he no longer fits in. What he used to be and do no longer exists. What I used to be and do no longer existed when I came home. I remember one afternoon having a total breakdown on the floor of my bedroom because I had no place I belonged, and getting my sister’s shirt covered with snot and tears.
Together, A’yen and I made it through the grief and pain. I watched him take a chance on love again, and slowly came to believe someday I might could too.
This book is a romance, and has a happily ever after. But their journey to it is not easy. Nor does the story end here. The sequel, The King’s Mistress, releases in January if everything goes according to plan. The story continues, and A’yen and Fae have to fight for their HEA. As we all do.
I hope hurting readers are able to see the hope embedded in every page of this novel. I want it to make a difference and help people see it’s okay to grieve the loss of our dreams. And more importantly, that it’s okay to build new dreams on the ashes of the old ones.
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 blogs sporadically at www.rachelleighsmith.com, can be found on Twitter @rachelleighgeek, and hangs out on Facebook, www.facebook.com/rachelleighsmithauthor. You can sign up for her newsletter here.
About My Name is A’yen
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 Breeder’s Association’s radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.
Question for readers: Who is your favorite romance hero?
Many thanks to Rachel for visiting today and sharing her story. I hope you’ll check out her book and giveaway. 🙂