Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Ariel Tachna for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: The Path
Author: Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Ariel Tachna
Welcome to Prism Book Alliance. We are here today to talk about your latest release, The Path. What can you tell us about it?
The Path takes place in Peru, specifically in and around the Inca Trail. It was inspired by my experience hiking the trail last August. It was a truly transcendent experience for me, and I knew I had to find a way to share that with others. Hopefully this book has done that.
Tell us about Benicio and Alberto
Benicio and Alberto are guides on the Inca Trail. Alberto has been working as a guide for ten years now. He’s seasoned, maybe even a little jaded. At his boss’s behest, he takes Benicio on as a junior guide to train him. Benicio has only recently come down from the highlands where he grew up in a village of about fifty people. He’s deeply rooted in the Andean way of life and has a very strong connection to the Inca Trail and its history.
If you could be one of your characters who would you be and why?
I am one of my characters actually. Not in The Path, but I’m one of the secondary characters in Seducing C.C. And the answer to why I’m in there is because I wrote that book inspired by my sixteen summers at Girl Scout camp, both as a camper and later as a counselor. I tell people the only thing in that book that didn’t happen is the relationship between Astro and C.C. Last winter, I had lunch with another of the secondary characters and mentioned the book, so she asked to read it. I got texts for the next week “I remember that!” “That’s just like xxx” “It’s just like going home!” I guess I did a pretty good job. I’m hoping others who have been to Peru and on the Inca Trail will have the same reaction to The Path.
How will the world end?
My father will find out what I write and it will cause the onset of the apocalypse.
What book do you keep by your bed?
Do I have to name just one? Cursed, Change of Heart, Dragon Prince, Clouds and Rain, and Cyrano de Bergerac live there on a pretty permanent basis. The list of books that circulate through the table is too long for a blog post.
What is your favorite lollipop flavor and which character in a fave book would you like to see suck on that sucker?
Cherry, and that would have to be Logan from Change of Heart.
If you could rewrite your first published novel what would you change?
I actually did that. Healing in His Wings was in the Size Matters: Short Stories Long Enough to Satisfy anthology. When the anthology went out of print, I reworked it and released it as a standalone. The biggest thing I changed was toning down the use of adverbs and tightening up the language.
Who would win in a fight between a monkey with a jet pack and a dog with Hitler’s brain?
That’s… not an easy question to answer. I think the monkey.
Rapid Fire Time
- Sausage or Hamburger? Sausage
- Love Story or Thriller? Love Story
- Tea of Coffee? Tea (preferably Irish Breakfast)
- Favorite Color? Purple (does that surprise anyone)
- Handcuffs or Rope? Rope
- Country or City? Depends on what mood I’m in.
- Morning or night? Morning
- Fire or Ice? Fire
What are you working on? What’s next?
There are actually two different answers to those questions. What’s next is Partnership Reborn, the last installment in the Partnership in Blood series. I’m working on Cherish the Land, the last installment of the Lang Downs series.
BENICIO QUISPE took a deep breath as he stood at the base of the Monkey Steps and stared up at the last section of the climb before Machu Picchu. They had been hiking for more than an hour already, with the sky slowly lightening over their heads, but the sun had yet to make an appearance over the highest peaks. Sheltered between the mountains as they were, they would not see the sun for another hour or more. Atop the Sun Gate, though, the view would be entirely different.
Gripping his walking sticks more firmly and ignoring the pain in his knees from overuse, he set his foot on the first step and began to climb. His thighs burned by the time he reached the final step. He was glad there were only fifty steps in this flight, because they were too narrow and too steep to climb with the typical zigzag walk that had made the first three days of the hike bearable. He paused for a moment to appreciate the clean lines of the Sun Gate. He had studied it, along with all the other Inca remains along the trail, as part of his preparation for becoming a guide, but this was the first time he had ever seen it in person.
The sun peeked over the mountain behind him, reminding him of the time and driving him forward so he would not miss the highlight of the trip and the whole reason for the three-thirty wake-up call that morning. He stepped beneath the arch and froze, heedless of anyone on the trail behind him. Machu Picchu lay spread out in the valley before him, cloaked in shadow still, though the sun’s rays had begun their descent into the valley. All his life he had seen pictures of it, even before he started studying to be a guide. He had learned about it in school, seen pictures his friends and fellow guides had taken, but standing there and seeing it with his own eyes after three days of hiking stole his breath. His eyes prickled with tears as he forced his legs to work while, around him, other hikers snapped photos.
His guide began to give information about the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu and the final leg of the hike. Benicio knew he should pay attention to what the other man was saying. In a few weeks, he would be the one standing there with tourists looking to him for information, but the voice was a wordless drone in his ears. He had attention only for the holy city and the inexorable march of the sun’s rays down the mountainside. The sunlight reached stone and turned it golden, and Benicio could only imagine what it must have looked like during the reign of the Inca, when the city would have been filled with real gold. Even now, a ruin instead of the vibrant center of worship it had once been, the city captivated him.
One group after another moved forward to have photos taken as he stood there, but he ignored them. He could not tear his eyes away long enough to see if one of the groups was his. They did not matter in the face of the splendor and wonder that was Machu Picchu. Finally his group’s guide came up to him and put a hand on his arm, startling him out of his contemplation.
“It’s time to go.”
Benicio nodded and gathered his gear, but his gaze returned to the city as he walked. When the path curved enough that the city was lost to view and Benicio could tear his thoughts away for a moment, he made a promise.
When he was a guide, he would wait for his guests to bask in the full glory of the city before dragging them away to continue the hike. They would get up earlier or linger less in storing their gear before the guided visit, but he would not spoil their communion with his words.
All his life Benicio Quispe has dreamed of being a guide on the Inca Trail. He gets his chance when the top travel agency in Cusco, Peru hires him. Alberto Salazar, his assigned mentor, fits Benicio’s idea of a perfect guide, but he’s also everything Benicio never dared to dream of in a boyfriend.
Alberto learned a long time ago to be discreet about his sexuality. It’s a necessary sacrifice to keep the respect of the guides and porters whose help is critical in a successful hike. So he pushes aside his attraction to his new junior guide and goes on as usual. But when a group of old friends arrives to hike the trail again, they convince him a relationship with Benicio is worth pursuing. His newfound resolve is enough to get them on a first date, but no amount of courage can change the attitudes of their family and friends. The risks on the trail are easy compared to finding a path through the challenges keeping them apart.
About the Author:
Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit, and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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