Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Interview: 'Ailani: The Last Warrior by A.J. Llewellyn

What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?
Hmm...well, Urban Fantasy Investigations, thank you for having me here! I think many readers might not know I have a seriously unhealthy addiction to computer games. I am hopelessly attached to a Facebook game right now called Pearl's Peril. I've learned a lot from it such as history and geography and the graphics are gorgeous, but I spend more time decorating my island than I do my own home. Talk about an urban fantasy!

What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
I read, I hike with my dog, I swim, and I um decorate my island! Did I mention it isn't real??

What is your Favorite part of writing? 
The research. I love that part. I think that's why I enjoy Pearl's Peril so much. She is an adventuress in 1900...she goes to amazing places that used to exist...old, historic places steeped in myth and fantasy. I particularly loved the portions set during Atlantis and the mythical kingdom of Shambala. Amazing stuff! I Googled everything mentioned in the game and it's all there.

Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
Yes. I am very superstitious so I observe little rituals. Don't laugh but I never wear red on Friday's. If I do, it's a bad, bad thing. This comes from my time on newspapers. I was a journalist for many years and the legend was if you wear red on Fridays you get fired. So I never wear red when I write on Fridays. :)

What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
I love J.K. Rowling's books but I am not so keen on the new Harry Potter blog on her Pottermore site. Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games books are some of my favorites. I love Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. and of course, I adore the Sookie Stackhouse series.

I absolutely love Marion Zimmer Bradley. She was at the forefront of fantasy fiction and The Mists of Avalon was one of my cherished books to read over and over again. I got to work with her on Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine. I cherish the experiences I had with her. I learned so much from Marion. I also love Mary Calmes. Her fantasy M/M stories are gorgeous. Mercedes Lackey was an early influence for me.

How would you pitch 'Ailani: The Last Warrior to someone who has not heard of it before?
This is the story of a young man whose world crumbles when he finds out his boyfriend has been cheating on him. He's forced to move out of their apartment and even loses his job. Sometimes when doors close, others open. For Lio, those doors open him to a whole paranormal realm he never knew existed. That realm is Hawaii before we all came. Before the explorers came and the world found it. A time when he was 'Ailani, the last warrior to work with the ill-fated King of Oahu.
'Ailani had magic and extraordinary power. He comes to the present to help Lio right wrongs and solve crimes the police in Honolulu never even know are going on. He's a Hawaiian superman!

Can you tell us a little bit about the world that 'Ailani is set in? 
I am obsessed with ancient Hawaii. I've read so much about it. It was paradise. I had so much fun recreating my idea of this time and place. A time when good magic and bad (the ancient Hawaiians called it Lua) existed.

Do you have a favorite scene in 'Ailani?
What a great question! I think it's when he and his new lover Kord first realize they want to be together...except they are dealing with an issue of fleas. Yes. Fleas :)

Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
I love Lio! He is the kind of character I like to write about. I like to write about men who are dealt a bad hand and I love to help them get out of it. I like imperfect men who learn and grow and find true love. Love conquers all. Even death.

What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
I have several books coming up and I am excited about all of them. I have two more books in The Last Warrior series coming up and Breathless Press is releasing my Haywire series co-written with my frequent co-author, D.J. Manly. That's a fantasy/paranormal set of two stories that we loved writing.

Please check my website for updates, free short stories, and free blog stories.

A.J. Llewellyn is an author whose obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.'s days are spent writing, reading, and dreaming up new worlds. A.J. has definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste-test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 150 published gay erotic romance novels.

A.J. wants you to read them all.

You can find this author lurking on Facebook and Twitter—part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.'s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Diner Dash.

Find A.J. and her books

The Last Warrior #1
Buy Link
After a bad breakup, Lio rents a cheap house with magical views. It seems the perfect solution, but the house has a haunted connection with an ancient statue. Once unearthed, it gives Lio the power of...THE LAST WARRIOR... 

When Lio's lover cheats on him, he's forced to give up what he thought was the idyllic romance he's lived with Maks, including their stunning, scenic Waikiki apartment. He rents a cheap house with magical views on the other side of the island. So why is it so cheap? 

He soon becomes haunted by dreams in which a fearsome yet sexy Hawaiian man begs him to rescue him. Lio is certain he's going nuts until one night in the midst of a tropical rainstorm he follows the man's urgings and digs a hole in a church graveyard. He finds a gigantic, ancient stone statue with scary eyes...that soon gives Lio the power of...THE LAST WARRIOR...


We shared a slice of the pie I'd never tried before. It was like eating a giant orange Creamsicle. That's when I remembered why Hau'ula was familiar. I'd come here many, many years ago on a school excursion. 

"Isn't there a great trail into the rainforest around here?" I asked him. 

"Why, yes." He grinned at me. 

I recalled quite clearly going with my class. We'd bought ice creams from a portable ice cream stand as we were leaving. Orange Creamsicles. 

"Do you hike much?" I asked. 

"Every chance I get." 

"Wow, that's great." 

"You like to hike?" he asked, pushing the last bite of pie toward me. 

"Yeah, my ex hated it, though." 

"I'm always up for a hike," he said. "Give me a shout some time." 

Speaking of shouting, the volume rose considerably with some newcomers so we gave up our table. Outside, I inhaled a mouthful of sweet night air. 

He was giving me so many mixed signals, or so I thought. Sometimes he reached out to me, then pulled his hand away. I was certain he was staring at my mouth in a hungry way. I sure as hell wanted him to kiss me. He smiled at me a lot. Maybe he was being kind, but I felt certain we were on a date. When he took me to his own home, I didn't think I was wrong. His beach cottage sat right on the reef, and I was stunned by his uninterrupted view of the ocean. 

Kord's life seemed to be straight out of my childhood. Everything on the walls and sideboards was found art. He'd discovered gigantic shells, sea glass balls, bleached pieces of driftwood that almost looked like antlers. He'd even made a hammock out of an old fisherman's net. 

He showed me his home office, which took up most of the space. He pointed to the garage. "That's where I build stuff." 

I had a sense he didn't bring many people here. I almost felt glad I didn't see any chick stuff. His home spoke of a solitary existence. 

"Take a seat." He pointed outside. I swung in one of the aged rocking chairs on the lanai as he brought me a beer. Longboard. My favorite. 

"You had a recent breakup too," I said. "Isn't that what you told Marcella?" 

"Sure. It never works out for me with women." He scowled. 

"Why's that? You're a great guy. Handsome, hard-working—" 

"Thanks. That's part of the problem. I love to work." 

The words swayed between us like a coconut palm. "I have a hard time with women because...because..." 

He didn't finish the sentence. He didn't want me to know he was bi. I sensed he didn't want to give me ideas. It was okay. I didn't need any. I was too busy licking my own wounds and couldn't have handled any confusion. 

When he dropped me home and kissed me on the lips, I felt my spirit and my body reacting. 

"Have a great night," he said, then watched as I let myself inside Dad's house. 

As I closed and locked the door behind me, I felt something shifting. I couldn't explain it as I leaned with my back against the blue stained-glass mermaid and felt her coolness seep into my hot skin. 

Aaaahhh...something had changed. Something good. I touched my lips. We'd had a great date. No, not a date. He was being kind. 

So why did he kiss me? 

We'd had a swell time. A gentle time. I hadn't had such a sweet evening with a man in a very long time. When I'd cleaned my teeth, I fell into bed. I could almost feel his dark hair on my face, his lips on mine. I tasted salty tears. Yeah...something was changing. I didn't know what.
I dreamed of fishermen's nets, mad laughter, and mud. 

At around three o'clock in the morning, I awoke from a strange dream. 

No. They were not coming back. I wouldn't allow them to come back. Not the dreams. Not those ones. I closed my ears to the voices whispering... 

I worked very hard to forget. To think of nothing but the soft press of Kord's lips, wishing for more. So much more.