Interviewing Protagonist Rowan Layne On World Pistachio Day

Today is apparently World Pistachio Day, so in honor of pistachio-shaped iridescent alien spacecraft in my Other Worldly novels, as well as the alien-green hue of pistachios themselves, I thought it would be fun to do something lighthearted (I know I need it) for this week’s blog post.

First, a caveat. I got the idea from my latest Jan/Feb issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, which has a new feature called “Creative Quill, A playground for your pen.” The writing prompt was to interview the hero from your latest project using twenty questions.

My hero is actually a heroine, and her name is Rowan Layne. What follows is my interview with my fierce feminist over-fifty protagonist, using ten of the WD-suggested twenty questions, and based on my current work in progress, Aliens Watch, seventh novel in the Other Worldly series. But be warned, Rowan likes asking questions far more than answering them.

  1. What is your biggest secret?

It used to be that I could hear aliens that I thought were ghosts for most of my life. Right now it’s that I’ve lost two weeks of recent memory and I don’t know if it’s because I might have somehow time-traveled with Bigfoot, and I don’t want my alien pals to be mad at me for that. But some of them are no doubt listening in on this interview so I’ve probably just screwed the pooch by saying that out loud. Let’s move on to another subject.

  1. What are you most afraid of?

I deal with more than a few intimidating alien males, but I’m not really afraid of them. Recently I was afraid of losing my extrasensory auditory abilities by traveling into space in an unconventional manner—because it wasn’t in what I call a pistachio craft, the latest in high-tech Red Orbiter spacecraft—but these days I’m more afraid of learning something I really don’t want to know when I get my memory of those two lost weeks back. I’ve had a lot of discombobulating revelations coming at me in the nearly four years since the news broke of aliens among us, and it’s starting to be a tad overwhelming.

  1. Describe your earliest childhood memory.

Hearing voices saying my name directly into my ear. I once thought it was ghosts. I now know it’s aliens. And it turned out to be one in particular I heard in childhood who actually appeared in person at various times in my life—as different people. One of the aforementioned intimidating alien males. And bossy. Lordy is he bossy. And he doesn’t like it when I grouse about my age, but he’s as old as a dinosaur. And possibly some sort of alien god. So all of those batshit folk who think a god talks directly to them can get in line.

  1. Do you get along with your parents?

You mean, other than Dad being golf obsessed and asking every alien he meets if they served in the Navy? And Mom expecting me to shop for shoes all over the flipping galaxy? But she does have a way with emoji, so much so that Homeland Security once thought she was texting me in a secret code. About aliens. When really she just thinks too many people are jackasses and tacky. Especially if they wear anything other than black shoes. Plus, Dad is hard of hearing, which can be a challenge, especially for Mom, who he manages to never hear but he can hear anyone else including aliens just fine.

  1. Have you ever had a mentor?

Certainly not while working as an attorney for the federal government. But I’ve had several mentors since the alien revelation nearly four years ago. There’s my guru Byrin, a clairvoyant Labyrinthian who used to live on the moonship but now she’s in love and living in Taos. Another mentor is Caelia Williamson, queen of the forest fae in Scotland and one tiny badass of a woman. She’s married to one of those intimidating aliens, but he’s really a teddy bear once you get to know him. And Sphere, the leader of Proxima Centauri b, is also a fascinating woman with uncanny insight. My best gal pals Genie and Maggie thought I was their mentor when it came to understanding human men, but they’ve really been more than mentors to me. It’s important for women to have female friends, and mine are fierce. Like my big sister G, who’s been a mentor to me since childhood. She taught me how to write my first words, which, other than my name, were dog and cat. And I know my sister hopes I’ll stop falling for guys whose names begin with R, because it’s confusing. Recently I met a new male alien who looks to be somewhat of a mentor, but is mostly just a pain in my ass. And royally so. His name is Royal Oliphant but some also call him Drake and there’s a mystery there I need to get to the bottom of. But he might also be listening in on this interview, so let’s tackle the next question.

  1. What was the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Yikes. Maybe not that question. But I’d have to say it’s moving on and healing after an abusive relationship I was in before I knew aliens existed. It’s made it difficult for me to fully trust men and their intentions, and to trust my own instincts. My aliens pals have helped me out a great deal with that. Otherwise, the greatest obstacle in my past professional life was being a female civilian environmental lawyer for the Department of Defense. That was four strikes against me in the eyes of some misogynist military members. I’ve also had to overcome getting pukey on boats due to motion sickness. Aliens have helped me out with that too, using electromagnetic energy.

  1. When was the last time you cried? Why did you cry?

I learned of the death of a friend. Actually, more than one. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

  1. How do you view your place in the world?

So now we’re getting existential? First off, I don’t look at things only in terms of Earth, which is what humans once deemed their whole world. I’m now dealing with a galaxy, an entire universe, of entities. And because, as you know, I’m a writer and author of Observing about Red Orbiters and other aliens, I’m attempting to help others deal with their new reality. That they are only partially human, because we all have alien DNA, whether some ignoramuses will admit it or not. My next book will be called Otherworldly, Unconditionally, and I have a novel for teens and young adults to be released sometime this year, The Adventures of Luna Moth Woman. I wasn’t sure I should write it because I’ve never had children, but I’m an honorary aunt to nine Red Orbiter kids as well as guardian to a human-hybrid alien baby who is more like an adult. Why aliens think that’s a good idea still escapes me, but I’m doing my best, though I constantly have to watch what I say around them and not let any F-bombs fly.

  1. What is your biggest flaw?

You mean other than letting F-bombs fly? Though I don’t see that as a flaw, necessarily. As the Supreme Court said, one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric. But lack of patience is probably my biggest flaw. I don’t do stupid and I don’t like to keep quiet when faced with gobsmacking stupidity. And do people realize their vehicles came with turn signals? Though I don’t have to worry about that as much these days because my mode of travel is usually airborne. Some people say my middle name should be Impatient. But then again, if I had a middle name, maybe they wouldn’t be constantly coming up with snarky stuff like that. I think it’s a flaw that I wasn’t given a middle name. It peeves me.

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten?

Seriously? You were really pushing it, making this seem like a job interview with that last question about my greatest flaw. Sheesh. Here’s the thing. I’m coming to realize now more than ever how important it is to live in the present, to not look too far ahead into the future.  In ten years I’ll be 70, and I don’t want to think about that anyway. It’s bad enough I get called cougar because I’ve had alien lovers younger than me. Is it my fault Red Orbiters can stall their age and I can’t? One of them can see glimpses of the future, and you know what? I don’t want to know where I’ll be in five or ten years, much less try to picture it. I’ve got enough to deal with right now. I need to get two weeks of my memory back, so I’m more focused on the past than the future. But when I’m ready to move forward, it won’t be to wonder where I’ll be years from now. Because it could be on a planet I haven’t heard of yet. Four years ago we didn’t know aliens existed, and that we were all part alien. So imagine if you’d asked me this five years ago? Any potential answer would have absolutely no relevance to today’s reality. I’ve been to Earth’s moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and will soon travel to Saturn, though it’s actually called Cultura. I am 83 percent alien and I can converse with Nessie and other supposed mythological creatures. Not to mention those little green men that aren’t what humans think they are. Boy howdy has life changed. As they used to say in Austin when I attended school at UT, onward through the fog!

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