Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Michal's Window by Rachelle Ayala : Interview & Excerpt

BEST SELLER! Historical Romance and Family Saga
She lost it all in one agonizing moment...

Princess Michal is used to getting everything she wants, and she has her heart set on the young hero David. But their passionate love affair is destroyed by her father's murderous rage. Will David's departing promises be enough?

David the King is no longer the charming harpist she gave her heart to. The most powerful man in Israel, he falls into the arms of the beautiful Bathsheba.

Temptation comes in the form of a dashing Philistine warrior. Michal vows to be the only woman in David's heart, but does she know her own?

A novel of betrayal, forbidden love, and redemption, Michal's Window is an imaginative retelling of King David's story through the eyes of the woman who loved him first.

Content advisory: mild sexual situations, blood and violence

Available Everywhere!

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Paperback at Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Print Edition: 458 pages

Excerpt: First kiss

The sun broke through after a few days of rain. I donned a saffron gown trimmed with golden threads and pulled golden bracelets on my wrists. Mother braided my hair and insisted I wear a scarf. I pulled on a diaphanous one and headed for the wall to enjoy the sun. Unlike Merab, my olive complexioned skin did not burn easily. The small scroll of Ruth under my arm, I climbed the steps two at a time.
David looked up from the bench in the guard shack. His eyes widened, and a smile crept on his face. “Nice day, Princess.”
I stopped at the top of the stairs. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“This is such a peaceful place. You don’t mind sharing?” He moved his harp to make room.
“Not at all.” I scooted next to him, slightly breathless, my body humming with an unsettling frisson. “What are you doing with your harp?”
“Changing strings. Wouldn’t want them to break while I play for your father.”
My father’s temper had raged and thundered with the recent storm. I took David’s hand and touched the blisters on the tips of his fingers. “Is my father feeling better?”
“Thankfully, he’s settled down. I’m free for the rest of the day.” His breath was a little too hot. I giggled and dropped his hand.
“What do you have there?” He pointed to my scroll.
“My favorite story. Ruth and Boaz.”
He regarded me with a clandestine smile, shook his head, and pulled a new string onto his harp.
“What?” I shoved the scroll aside. “You know, David. You’re on my bench.” I removed my scarf and unbraided my hair. “I came here for some sun and quiet.”
“Oh, excuse me for intruding.” He gathered the loose strings and prepared to leave.
I pressed him down, one finger on his shoulder. “Since you’re on my bench, you might as well show me a few things.”
“Only a few?” He twirled a string between his thumb and forefinger.
I pointed to his harp, perched on his lap. “May I touch?”
“Um… sure, it’s a shepherd’s harp. My grandfather made it for me.” He handed it to me.
I trailed my fingers over the smooth curves. The wood where his hands rested was well-worn and polished. “It’s splendid. Lighter than I thought.”
The scent was reminiscent of crushed bay leaves, clean and fresh. Swirls of tan, red, yellow and brown grain rippled along the contour of its body.
“It’s made of myrtle wood,” he said.
“And the strings?”
“Sheep gut.” He laughed. “Go ahead, pluck them.”
I picked the fibrous strings. The tones jarred. “Ooph. It sounds much better in your hands.”
David took the harp back. “Forgive me, the strings are not tuned. I’ll finish and show you how to play.”
His nimble fingers made quick work of the restringing. With closed eyes, he plucked two strings at a time and adjusted the pegs until they rang true. His face took on an angelic aura, and his hair shimmered in the sunlight.
The harp tuned, he placed it on my lap, arranging my hands to hold it, and plucked a few strings to demonstrate. “The pitch of the longer string is deeper. Those from the shorter strings are higher. Some intervals sound nice when plucked together. If we skip a string or two… this string, this one, and this…”
My head swam with possibilities, and I could not catch his words. His hands touched my hands, his thigh pressed against mine, and his breath tickled my hair. My bracelets jangled as I strummed a cacophony of disharmony as wild and frothy as my feelings.
He was so close, I could barely breathe. My shoulders wobbled, and my fingers fluttered over the strings. Tempted to melt into his arms, I pushed the harp back and warned myself to behave as a princess should.
“Giving up already?” His lips curved with barely concealed amusement.
“No… I’m just hot. You know, the weather. Can you sing for me?”
I caught my breath as he sang and picked the strings to the cadence of a rippling brook. The earthy timbre of his voice wrapped around the clean tones of his instrument. Wooing, seducing, trapping—he held me with the promise of his song.
When he finished, he handed the harp to me, the frame still vibrating. His fingers toyed with my hair, and his warm breath caressed my face. His mouth drew near, eyes intent, seeking permission.
Hesitant, my lips parted. Curious, my eyes closed. And his lips brushed the corners of my mouth, an invitation to taste, to touch, to hold. I accepted and held my breath as his tongue slipped over mine. A flurry of tingles danced around my waist and trailed down to my toes.
I clutched the harp, unable to move. Everything was possible, and the world was mine, and life was glorious.
And at the center of it all was David.

What made you become a writer?

I’m an avid reader and a busybody. Books were the perfect medium for prying into other people’s lives without being annoying. Even though I would never run out of books to read, I decided to add my voice to the mix. My main motivation to write is to tell a story, hopefully a good story, one that drags you into the heart and soul of another person, live through their heartaches and triumphs, and emerge both entertained and challenged.

What do you think makes a good story?

In some sense, we are all voyeurs. Our innate human curiosity perks up to a piece of juicy gossip or rubbernecks at an accident scene. We are collectively horrified at natural disasters and heart-warmed by a touching rescue scene. And who doesn’t like the feeling of falling love?

A good story gives us the drama and excitement we crave while sitting comfortably on a cozy couch. It is vicariously living at its best. Nail-bitingly safe. J

Your current book takes us to Ancient Israel and is about the life of a princess. Even though she was born in to privilege, she seemed to have given it all up for love. Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Michal’s Window is a chance for you to relive a forgotten moment in time and imagine yourself in the arms of three enigmatic and amorous men while delving into the mind of the great King David. Along the way, you’ll be treated to a panoramic tour of Israel, David’s gallery of wives, and a grand Philistine adventure.

Is there one passage in your book that you feel gets to the heart of the story and would encourage people to read it?

Yes, of course. Michal is a woman willing to sacrifice everything for the man she loves.

Can you share it, pretty please?

And I dream of David, and in my dreams he loves me, and we ride on flying horses and walk on clouds across a golden staircase. We sing like children and splash in pools of silver. He pulls me to the top of a rainbow. And he loves me.

Ayala, Rachelle (2012). Michal's Window (A Novel: King David's First Wife) (p. 413). Amiga Books. Kindle Edition.

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

Oh, goodie, goodie. I’m like your street corner drug, er story dealer. Whatd’ya want? Ecstasy? Uppers? Downers? Mind-Benders? Love potions? Hallucinogens? How about a bit of paranormal powder?

*slaps self*. Oh, you mean books! A romantic suspense mystery, Broken Build. After I finished Michal’s Window, I came up with a darker dilemma. Can a man love a woman who harmed him deeply? What would it take? Here’s the tagline: While eluding a killer, a young woman fears recognition from the man she wronged and falls in love with him.

After that, I’m thinking of a psych thriller -- a pair of codependent sisters in a love/hate relationship in love with the same man. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I’m betting it has never been done the way I’m thinking of… *maniacal laughter*

What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?

I think you mistook me for someone who’s sane! But here’s the key: Knowing when you’re dreaming and when you’re awake.

Do you have a Website or Blog?

Yes, sure! I’m normal too, sometimes. It’s called Rachelle’s Window (thank you, thank you, I’m just so-o original). You’ll find book reviews, author and reader interviews, jokes, and other bits of flotsam.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I love you! My writing is only a starting point for you to create your own characters, emotions and reality. I’m privileged to give you a framework and hope you enjoyed the trip you took. Of course there’s the obligatory bit of groveling. Please, please, please, if you cared about the story even a little bit, leave a review everywhere and anywhere!

Rachelle Ayala was a software engineer until she discovered storytelling works better in fiction than real code. She has always lived in a multi-cultural environment, and the tapestry in her books reflect that diversity.

She is currently working on a romantic suspense involving software engineers. When her hyperactive imagination is not in the mind of her characters, Rachelle enjoys social networking, reading and music.
Rachelle lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

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