Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Q&A with Jamie Le Fay, author of Ahe’ey

Now available to purchase is the romantic fantasy Ahe’ey by Jamie Le Fay.

The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule for a Q&A about her newest novel.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

From as young as I can remember, I have soothed myself to sleep by imagining epic stories of heroes, heroines, sorceresses, dragons, angels, and demons. I based my stories on the books and movies I was watching and the narratives that moved and inspired me.

I was as excited and delighted with Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre as I was with Battlestar Galactica (the original TV series). The Mists of Avalon, an Arthurian legend retelling from the point of view of the female characters, had as much effect on me as Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

Later in my life, I discovered that storytelling is one of the most powerful tools to drive change in the world. It creates empathy and compassion, it inspires action, and it helps us make sense of life. As someone that is very interested in making the world a better place, I became interested in storytelling as a powerful ‘weapon’ for good.

What was your first book/story published?

Ahe’ey is the first book I published. The first edition of Ahe’ey was originally titled Ange’el.

What inspired you to write Ahe’ey?

I’ve been writing this story all my life, mostly inside my head, but also on paper. Gabriel, one of the main characters of Ahe’ey, has lived in my mind since the beginning of time; I was probably five or six when he became my best friend.

What character in Ahe’ey is the most like you, and in what ways?

I remember the day I discovered feminism. I was reading a book called The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons. I had the same adrenaline rush I got when I first discovered brain plasticity, or the first time I read Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

It was like that moment when you learn something so important that you want to share it with the entire universe; that time when you just can’t help yourself, you go around spreading your new-found wisdom using the largest possible megaphone, because you want others to benefit from it. You completely ignore that some people may not be ready to discover the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Worse, some know about the gold and only want to hide it.

Still, you persevere; you open the book and quote from the passages underlined in fluorescent yellow. The books and the studies are your shield against limiting beliefs, they protect you from the ghost that lurks in some dark corners of your mind—the impostor syndrome. You can’t stop researching, and reading, and watching YouTube videos about the topic. Soon you forget about the girl that wanted to fit in amongst the boys, just another software engineer. The more you learn, the more resolute you become—the media, the marketing, the biases, the privilege, it’s so unfair, all of it.

You talk to others about it at work, you organize groups, and you speak at conferences. You lead, you mentor, you connect, and you learn from others more experienced than you, others kind enough to take you under their wings. And then suddenly you understand your own privilege, and it’s devastating—the white corporate feminism, self-centered, navel gazing, and exclusive. And eventually you look around, really look, and you see it—the systems of privilege; the structures of power. For the first time you see the girl in Congo, the mother in South Sudan, and the boy from Syria.

You see it, you are open and you are raw, and you must do something about it. You lean in for them in a way you’d never be able to lean in for yourself. You must, there is no alternative, they live under the same sky, the only border you recognize, at least until someone finds life in other planets, and then, even that last border will be dismissed.

This is me, and some part of me is Morgan, but like all of my other main characters, she has become her own distinct entity, she has taught me more than I ever imagined.  Her journey is impacting my life as much as my journey defined hers. We are both passionate, idealistic, slightly preachy, and very flawed. She’s much braver and open than I’ll ever be.  We’ll keep learning from each other, we’ll keep growing and hopefully we’ll keep spreading what we learn with the rest of the world, whether they like it or not. Now, where did I leave my megaphone? It was just here a moment ago . . .

What is your favorite part in Ahe’ey?

I have two favourite scenes. I love the moment during the trial, where Sky learns the truth about her past. Her mighty storm is as big as her heart. She may be a rage-ridden tsunami capable of destroying entire realms, but she is also fair and loyal. I also love the moment when Morgan makes a plea to Gabriel. That represents my plea to all good men out there at this important inflexion point in human history. As we approach the collapse of the planet, silence is not an option; good men and women must rise and lead by example. Will he?

What was the hardest part to write?

Morgan was incredibly challenging to write because, deep inside, she’s the closest to who I am as a person. She is not me, but she shares many of my quirks and features. The first draft of the book, released in 2012, was mostly centered around the relationship between Gabriel and Sky. Both characters represented different aspirations of whom I wanted to become. I was struggling to showcase Morgan on the page. Over the years, I found ways to accept myself and to cherish and champion Morgan. I’m still surprised that she’s getting so much love from readers. The love Morgan receives encourages me to be true to myself.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

By night, I write epic fantasy fiction seasoned with a pinch of romance and a handful of feminism.

By day, I’m a high-flying executive; I spend my days helping large organisations respond to digital disruption.

I often travel internationally due to the nature of my work; it’s a lot of fun. I love my day job as much as I love writing. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Technological advancements are having a significant impact on our lives, and I’d like to think I’m helping companies understand the opportunities and risks of tech innovation. Over the coming years, it will become quite important for businesses to lean into tech using ethics to guide their hand. Executives must focus on customer centricity, social impact and transparency if humanity is to survive the next century. We are already experiencing the unintended consequences of thoughtless and/or heartless innovation. Technology can be a huge force for good, but it’s up to the humans to make it so. I often think that business leaders would make better decisions if they spent more time reading science fiction and history books.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Yes, I do. I learn a lot from my readers, Ahe’ey was first released in separate chapters/episodes. This helped me get early feedback and evolve the novel to what it is today. If readers are not buying the next chapter, you know you have some work to do and you work hard to improve your writing. You also refine the plot and add depth to the characters.

This is one of the reasons why I chose to self-publish, it allows me to control the narrative fully and to improve it as often as I want. Having said that, I’m true to my story and my characters, and I can spot the feedback that will serve the narrative. When feedback patterns emerge, I will immediately investigate and assess if something needs fine-tuning. It’s hard work, but very rewarding, particularly when it improves the readers’ experience and helps the book reach a wider audience. But, let me be clear, when it comes to the themes and values of the book, I will listen to the feedback of minority groups more than I will listen to self-professed conservative types. I do check my privilege, biases and blind spots, and expect others to do the same.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

Ursula Le Guin, Tamora Pierce, Margaret Atwood, Florbela Espanca, just to name a few.

Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

I’m halfway through the second book of the series. Both Angha and Zanus continue to unleash chaos into the world of humans and Ahe’ey, but Angha’s two-hundred Dragons are the least of our concerns. A destructive darkness emerges from the purest of beings. The ties and the love between the four Royal descendants are tested to their limit. Death lurks around the corner waiting to harvest its prize. The heroes will rise, but some will fall. It’s inevitable and definitive. Rage can and will kill. The Ahe’ey will come across an unlikely ally, one they’d prefer to destroy, but things are . . . complicated.

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About the Author

Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.

To find out more about Jamie, visit her website at:

Follow Jamie on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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