***Hi Leslie, Tell me about your hero, his strengths and weaknesses.
The hero of The Last Mayor’s Son, Aibek is a twenty-year-old orphan who is raised by his aunt and uncle in the city. He grows up learning to fight, to lead, and to be an officer in the Xona Army, but must adjust his plans when he learns that the village of his birth is in peril and needs his help. Longing for some news of his parents, he sets out for the Tsari Forest – even though he’s only seen a few scrawny trees in his young life – and the uncertainty of returning to a treetop homeland recently freed from a vicious ruler. Thus begins the tale of Aibek’s journey to Nivaka to assume the roles and responsibilities of his birthright as the last mayor’s son.
Due to his uncle’s harsh and implacable parenting, Aibek struggles with anxiety, insecurity, and the desire to please everyone – undesirable attributes in a mayor. He must learn to make decisions and take control if he is to lead the village to victory against the evil Helak’s approaching army. Meanwhile, he also faces an unknown enemy within the forest village, who opposes the new government and works to maim and kill both the mayor and the fledgling council. Thankfully, his best friend, Faruz, tags along on the journey and provides some much-needed levity and confidence.
Unbeknownst to him, Aibek is a born leader who inspires confidence in those around him. It doesn’t take long before most of the several hundred residents of Nivaka love him for his charismatic personality, and pledge to follow him into a battle they know they may not win. Aibek and Faruz work to build an army out of the peaceful village, though the previous governor had forbidden swordplay and all arts of war for the past twenty years. Will Aibek learn to trust his leader’s instincts and guide the village to an era of peace?
Twenty years after the death of his parents, Aibek must return to the forest and lead his hometown to freedom.
Villagers summon him to be their new mayor after they overthrow the small group of soldiers the ruthless Helak appointed to rule them. They need someone to help them fight off the army that seeks to regain the enemy’s brutal control. Aibek has no problem with standing and fighting. It’s the leading that has him concerned.
Distracted by the problem of teaching a placid people to defend themselves, Aibek nearly overlooks a plot to overthrow the fledgling government. Will he figure out who in the village wants him gone before it’s too late?
Leslie E. Heath lives in rural North Carolina with her husband, children, and an unsettlingly large number of rescue pets. She enjoys writing, which is important because she plans to do a lot more of it. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time at the beach, training for and competing in long-distance running events, and working as a registered nurse.
The Last Mayor’s Son is Heath’s publishing debut and the first volume of a planned trilogy.