Some of my readers may recall Ms. Lima, author of the Krillonian Chronicles among others, who herself barely escaped my author interview dungeon some time back. Completely unrepentant, she has continued her authoring ways and now is bringing forth a new series, The Annals of Alasia. I had the pleasure of reading The Nameless Soldier, which focuses on another character but in which Prince Jaymin makes an appearance. Here is an interview with Jaymin, to help celebrate the release of his novella in the Alasia series. Enjoy! And don’t forget to click on all the links below to find out more about Annie’s writing.
Interview with Prince Jaymin
I take a seat on the bench in the town square and wait for Prince Jaymin, who I have arranged to meet for an interview. It’s a cold, overcast winter afternoon here in the Alasian town of Drall, and the few townsfolk bustling around seem in a hurry to get home before it starts to snow.
Two boys emerge from the nearby marketplace and approach my bench. Both are dressed in tattered clothes and look cold and hungry, but the taller one manages to appear dignified in spite of his circumstances. His companion darts wary glances around as though checking the area for danger.
I rise to greet the prince as he arrives at my bench. “Your Highness, thank you for agreeing to meet with me.”
The other boy glares at me. “Don’t call him that out in public! Do you want to put him in even greater danger?”
But the young prince gives me a weary smile. “You’re welcome. Please call me Jay for now. No titles.” He glances at his friend. “Don’t worry, Erik. No one is close enough to overhear, and they won’t think anything of the three of us having a quiet conversation out here.” He turns back to me as we all take a seat. “Unfortunately, we have no better meeting place to offer. So, what did you want to ask me?”
Q: Your High- er, Jay, condolences of course on the loss of your parents. Can you tell us how it happened?
He lowers his gaze, obviously reliving an unpleasant memory. “The Malornians attacked our palace. Sir Edmend, one of my father’s advisors, managed to get Erik and me out. We barely avoided all the soldiers, but it wasn’t until we were entering the secret tunnel from the cellar that I realized why my parents weren’t with us.” He clears his throat and swallows hard.
Q: I’m sure you did not expect to be burdened with rulership so early in life. What thoughts guide you in these early days, and who has proven a trustworthy advisor?
“Well, I don’t know what I’d do without my friend and bodyguard Erik, here.” He indicates the other boy. “These last few weeks have been the first time I’ve ever gone anywhere or done anything without guards and servants, not to mention my parents. Sir Edmend got us safely out of the palace and the capital and found us a room to rent here where I could blend in with ordinary Alasians, but he couldn’t stay. While he’s off learning more about what happened and how we might be able to strike against the Malornians, Erik helps me figure out how to blend in and keeps me alive. We‘ve had several close calls with the soldiers stationed here in Drall.” He shudders. “I know they’re searching for me. But as challenging as life is here, one of the hardest parts is imagining what it will be like when – or if – I eventually reclaim my kingdom. I never imagined becoming king while still a boy, but if we manage to drive the enemy out, I’ll have to. I’ve always looked forward to the day the crown would be mine, of course, and yet I don’t feel anywhere close to ready. Alasia needs a strong ruler, especially after the Invasion, and my father left big shoes to fill.” He sighs.
Q: No one seems to know why Malorn attacked as it did. What can you tell us about the cause of the invasion?
“I have no idea.” Now Prince Jaymin looks angry. “We never did anything to harm Malorn. I mean, everyone knows about the occasional border skirmishes over the last few decades, but those have always been minor. They invaded our land with absolutely no provocation. None!”
Q: We hear reports that the Alasian army was ambushed and took heavy losses. What can you tell us about the plan to recover your kingdom?
“Well, we don’t have a full plan yet. Sir Edmend stopped by a week or so ago and reported that some of the soldiers did survive, which was a huge relief to hear. Apparently they’ve regrouped and are hiding in the Southern Woods, training and preparing to strike against the enemy. General Dirken is one of the survivors, so I know what’s left of the army is in good hands. I sent word to him through Sir Edmend that they should consider using the secret tunnel through which we escaped to attack the palace from the inside. That’s where the enemy has their headquarters. I’m not sure when they’ll be ready, but when the time comes, Sir Edmend is going to come and fetch me and take me to speak to the soldiers.” He smiles at the thought. “So far, only the general knows that I’m alive. I hope the troops will be excited to see me and relieved to know that a member of Alasia’s royal family is still alive after all. I plan to make an inspiring speech and perhaps give them even more drive to succeed.”
Erik glares at his friend. “You shouldn’t have told him all that. How do we know he isn’t working for the Malornians?”
“He doesn’t look or sound Malornian,” the prince protests. He turns to me. “I trust you’ll keep everything I’ve said in confidence.”
“You’ll regret it if you don’t,” the young bodyguard adds, rising to his feet. His tone is menacing, and now I notice the bulging muscles under his ragged tunic. “We should go,” he says to the prince.
His companion nods and stands as well. “It was a pleasure meeting you.”
I barely have a chance to thank him for his time before the prince and his bodyguard are out of earshot. I watch as they disappear into the marketplace once more.
The Annals of Alasia Series
Annie Douglass Lima plans four books in the set, in a technique I call “Surrounded Plot”, where you see the tale from separate PoVs. She tells me you can begin with any book in the series, as each one provides new information but also stands alone. I absolutely love that stuff! (My Shards of Light series is also Surrounded Plot, but only the first two books really stand alone, then the plot thickens too far). I encourage you to try out one or more of these tales, which have an air like the classic Lloyd Alexander Taran Wanderer books.
Twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin, heir to the throne of Alasia, barely escapes with his life when invaders from neighboring Malorn attack. Accompanied by his young bodyguard, Jaymin flees to a nearby town to live in hiding. There, surrounded by the enemy soldiers searching for the missing prince, his life depends on his ability to maintain his disguise.
As the danger intensifies and the Malornians’ suspicions grow, Jaymin seeks desperately for a way to save his kingdom and himself. Then he stumbles upon a startling discovery that will challenge his assumptions and forever change his view of Malorn and the events that altered his life.
Prince of Alasia is the first book in the Annals of Alasia, but the series can be read in any order, and each book can stand on its own.
Books by Annie Douglass Lima: