One of my favorite new YA series is the Solas Beir Trilogy by Melissa Eskue Ousley, and I'm thrilled to have the ever enigmatic Tynan Tierney here today to tell us a little more about his role in the second book of the series, "The Rabbit and the Raven."
But first, a little about the book:
Darkness is beguiling...and power always comes with a price.
Adopted by loving parents, David Corbin had no idea his life was a lie. Then he met a girl. Abby Brown freed David from the spell keeping him from the truth, that he was the lost heir to the throne in a magical realm.
Even though he got the girl and gained a kingdom, David had no clue about the unfathomable power he would inherit, nor did he realize how much he would have to sacrifice to keep the throne.
If there is any hope of winning the war against the deadly Kruorumbrae, David and Abby will have to journey to the outer edges of the realm to secure the loyalty of the four Oracles. Along the way, they will learn just how seductive darkness can be.
Now on to the interview!
1. Today I’m very pleased to introduce my readers to Tynan Tierney. Can you tell my readers who you are and how you ended up in your current situation?
I am the Kruor um Beir, a.k.a. the King of Blood and Shadows. I reign over the Kruorumbrae, creatures born of Darkness that would, quite frankly, have you all for dinner, given the opportunity. But have no fear—I have forbidden them from snacking on humans during this interview. Afterwards however...well, that’s another story. But I digress. For the past two decades I was imprisoned in a parallel dimension known as the Wasteland. It is a desolate place where time is frozen and prisoners are compelled to count grains of sand for all eternity. That was to be my fate as well, but luckily, I was freed by my longtime love, Lucia. Now we can resume our plot to claim the throne of Caislucis and rule the kingdom of Cai Terenmare.
2. For those readers who are meeting you for the first time, what do you look like? Give us a hint why Abby finds it so hard to ignore you even though she considers you her enemy.
In spite of my reputation as a liar, I have been unfailingly honest with the lovely Abigail Brown. She knows I’m a predator. I’ve never hidden what I am or what I want. It’s hard to ignore someone who is so direct about what they desire, especially when she is the object of that desire. And, despite her protests, I know she finds me attractive. I may be hundreds of years old, but I look good for my age. If you didn’t know better, you’d think I was a young man in my twenties, with olive skin and dark hair. But if you looked into my eyes, you’d know I was much older.
3. Where does your interest in Abby stem from? Why do you call her Rabbit?
Abby is a c’aislingaer—she is an empath with the ability to see the future in her dreams. She has no idea how powerful she is. The side she chooses will control the fate of our world. If she chooses to align with me, our combined power will make us unstoppable. I will finally take the throne from that fraud who calls himself Solas Beir and all of Cai Terenmare will be mine. As to her little nickname…let’s just say it will come as quite a shock when she finds out why I call her Rabbit.
4. What do you most value in allies? Do you consider yourself as having allies?
I do have allies, so long as they remain loyal. I value loyalty above all else. I can’t abide treachery. Anyone who betrays me has no place by my side. That would be an unforgiveable offense, worse even than the failure to complete a mission.
5. But some might argue that you’ve engaged in treachery, and have little conscience when it comes to reaching your goals. Is there a limit to what you will do in order to succeed?
(Laughs.) You say that like it’s a bad thing. All’s fair in love and war, my dear. I know what people think of me, and I couldn’t care less. You see, I’m not just a power-hungry maniac, vying for the throne. I want the throne to right the wrongs of the past, specifically, the injustices committed by our last Solas Beir, the king who ruled before the boy who currently wears the crown. Ardal declared war on the Kruorumbrae when he closed the portals, barring us from the resources crucial to our survival. He wanted to exterminate us. But we survived, and where is he now? Oh, that’s right. He’s dead. Unlike him, I’m fighting for the greater good, to build a better Cai Terenmare.
6. You also fought against the Kruorumbrae once, before you became their leader. In fact, you were honored for your service to the realm. What changed?
I became enlightened. I opened my mind to the Kruorumbrae, and I now understand their struggles. I can sympathize with them. How can I cast them as villains, when I have my own predatory urges? I’m no hypocrite. I know there is darkness in my soul. I don’t run from darkness. I embrace it.
7. You have a very intelligent and calculating mind. How has that helped you in your quest to regain power?
Thanks for noticing. (Laughs again.) I jest. Yes, I am intelligent. I’m not bragging—it’s a simple fact. But a leader needs more than intelligence. I’ve been around a long time, in my world, and in yours. I’ve watched the world of men, your victories, your mistakes. I’ve even intervened from time to time, saving you from yourselves. Through each experience I’ve gained wisdom. I can see beyond the immediate future, and I know what will make my world stronger, what will help my people prosper. There is a proper order to things, and I understand that. I’m the one who’s willing to make the hard choices when no one else will.
10. Despite being labeled a “villain,” it’s awfully hard not to like you. Care to give us a guess on why that is?
It’s because of my good looks and charm. No, really, I think it’s because people recognize that I’m passionate about what I believe. I believe the Kruorumbrae deserve a place in Cai Terenmare. You can’t just get rid of us because we feed on humans. We are higher beings in the food chain. You wouldn’t exterminate a lion for feeding on gazelles, would you? Or a dolphin for eating fish? You see my point. It’s simple logic. I’m no villain. I’m fighting for what I believe. I’m fighting for the survival of my people. How can that be wrong?
Want a Sneak Peek of how Tierney operates?
Out of the shadows of the labyrinth, a massive beast emerged. He was bigger than Calder had been, but while Calder had been a hairless, muscled brute, this feline creature was lean, muscled in a way that was beautiful and terrible at the same time. He had the look of a sophisticated and efficient killer—covered in thick, shiny fur with black-on-black stripes. He approached Abby with a menacing deliberateness, bearing long, primeval fangs.
“Hello, Rabbit,” the creature said as he circled her slowly. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Abby could feel the beast’s hot breath on her skin. Don’t show fear, she thought, planting her feet in a fighting stance and drawing herself up to look taller, brawnier. Look him straight in the eye. If you’re going to die, at least have a little dignity about it. She stared into his eyes and spoke his name: “Tierney.”
The creature stared back, eyeing Abby’s clenched jaw and defensive stance, and then he smiled apologetically. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” Tierney said. “I forget this face can be, shall we say, rather off-putting. Allow me to present a more pleasing visage.” His form changed, melting away like smoke, leaving black ashes lingering in the air. In the creature’s place stood a handsome young man with dark eyes—nothing like the beast he had just been.
Don’t be fooled by the illusion, Abby told herself. He’s the same monster he was before—it’s just a mask. She stood her ground, infusing her voice with authority. “On the contrary. You know that face is off-putting. That’s why you wore it.”
To her surprise, Tierney started laughing—not a mean, condescending laugh, but one of genuine, unguarded amusement. It wasn’t quite the response Abby had expected.
“Well, now,” he chuckled, “you are a surprisingly perceptive one. Do you know why I’m here?”
“I assume it’s to get to the Solas Beir by killing me,” Abby said.
“Oh, come now, Rabbit, I’m hurt. I have absolutely no such plans. None at all,” Tierney replied.
“I have trouble believing that—your reputation precedes you,” she said.
“Well, dear Rabbit, a reputation is really quite subjective, don’t you think? And you must concede that your sources may be a bit biased when it comes to me.” He began circling her again, looking her up and down. “Actually, I’m here because I heard a very interesting story about you. And I must say, I think there’s more to you than I was originally led to believe. I heard that an ordinary human girl rescued the Lightbearer by killing a Blood Shadow—and not just any Blood Shadow, mind you, but one of the strongest among us. And I wondered to myself, an ordinary human girl? How can that be?”
Abby noticed that Tierney used the term “Lightbearer” rather than David’s formal title of Solas Beir. She didn’t think it was an accident. In fact, she was certain that Tynan Tierney never said or did anything that wasn’t calculated. “What is it you want, exactly?” she demanded, putting her hands on her hips.
“Only to see if the story was true. I can see now that you’ve been underestimated. Clearly, you are no ordinary human girl. You are turning out to be much more interesting than I thought you would be, pretty little c’aislingaer,” he said.
Abby glared at him. “Thanks, but you can’t fool me into falling for flattery.”
Suddenly Tierney stepped close to Abby, his arms pulling her to him, his breath on her neck as he whispered in her ear. “No, indeed I cannot. For I have met many a fool, and you are not one.”
He was so warm, and his touch made her skin tingle, much to her chagrin. She fought to show no response, reminding herself to keep her guard up.
He continued, his lips almost grazing her skin as he talked. “What I want, Abigail, is to show you the truth—to help you see my side of the story so you can decide for yourself if my so-called reputation is deserved.” He pulled away suddenly, his head cocked to one side as if he had heard something.
Abby heard nothing.
Tierney turned back, his dark eyes on her. “Your boyfriend is coming. Better not let him catch you fraternizing with the enemy. Until we meet again, little Rabbit.” Taking her hand, he held it to his lips, kissing it with a disarming tenderness. Then he was gone—not in some magic puff of smoke, but simply not there anymore.
Abby heard the crack of a twig breaking as someone approached. Rather than feeling a sense of relief, she felt oddly guilty, like she had been caught in the act of doing something wrong. She had just survived what should have been a lethal encounter with a monster, but instead of being frightened of Tierney, she found herself attracted to him. And that terrified her.
I know you can't wait to go get your copy now! Here's where you can find more of Tierney:
Meet the Author
Melissa Eskue Ousley lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States with her family and their Kelpie, Gryphon. When she’s not writing, Melissa can be found hiking, swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, or walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.
Before she became a writer, she had a number of educational jobs, ranging from a summer spent scraping road kill off a molten desert highway, to years spent conducting research with an amazing team of educators at the University of Arizona. Her interests in psychology, culture, and mythology have influenced her writing of The Solas Beir Trilogy.
Find Melissa Online here: