Tell us about your heroine — the female lead in your book.: Qwana is the heroine of The Last Priestess trilogy set in ancient Peru. She is the last priestess to the Moon Goddess in a time when religion turned to sun worship. Those who worshiped the moon practiced a gentle, nurturing religion. Those who worshiped the sun practiced ritual sacrifices, terrorizing the populace of Loa, a city on the Nazca Plain.
What’s her name? Qwana
Why did you pick that name? I have no idea. I was in a rock shop and the proprietor had a holey stone (it had a hole in it, considered to be very powerful by crystal enthusiasts) from her trip to South America on the counter. I picked it up and must have linked into the story at that point, because I was compelled to write this history about a woman who lived on the Nazca Plain and who became the last priestess in the temple of the Moon Goddess.
Give us a brief description of how she looks. Qwana is beautiful in the eyes of her people: short, compactly built, with dark eyes and hair. Her nose is hooked, her skin is dark and she is dressed in fine, brightly colored garments woven from the wool of llamas and vicuna. Qwana would probably not be considered beautiful in our culture where thin, blonde beauties are the ideal.
Is there anything unusual about her appearance? Not really. Other than the fact she may have richer garments than the common woman of her time due to her special position, she looks like any woman who might have lived in that time and place.
Who does she love? Qwana loves the Moon Goddess and although she is the only young woman of her generation destined to serve in the, she believes it is the proper thing for her to do. She loves the two remaining elder priestesses: Aruz and Mix’la who taught her the rituals of the temple. She also loves Rowland, a visitor from the planet Deesa who has come to this world to see the wonders described by his father, who was also a galactic traveler. She also loves and protects a baby she found abandoned in the Andean foothills.
Does this person love her? In that culture, it was believed the Goddess loved all of her children. The two older priestesses love Qwana as their daughter and are proud of her, although they worry about her solitary state. Rowland, who grew up hearing stories about the wonders of Earth, loves Qwana from first meeting – although she resists his love – believing that she will betray the Goddess if she offers her life and love to the visitor from a world beyond the stars.
Tell us about her family. Qwana’s family does not figure into this tale, she is dedicated to the temple of the Moon from birth. Her “family” are the people who love and depend on her.
Where is she from? Qwana is born in Loa, a city situated on the Nazca Plain, near the foothills of the Andes Mountains.
Does her hometown affect her behavior, thoughts and attitude? The people of Qwana’s city have been swayed to the bloody rituals of the Sun God. They are mesmerized by Xilpu, the Xilpu is cruel and practices a brutal religion that strips families of their young men and women who die in agony on the stones of the temple. He leads a virtual army of priests that he uses to keep the city in line. of the temple of the Sun.
Qwana believes that these bloody rituals are wrong, and while she is forced to witness these brutalities, she longs for a way for the people to be rid of the high priest who uses her as a sexual slave, even though the priestesses of the Moon are supposed to be virgin.
Qwana feels fear and horror at the way Xilpu treats those who follow the religion of the Sun God, but she is powerless to correct the situation and convince the people to return to the worship of the Moon. She wonders if the gentle religion will die if no new girl children are dedicated to follow her in the temple of the Moon.
When Rowland arrives from the planet Deesa, the high priest sends Qwana out on the plain to examine the fallen star, hoping she and her elders will die from exposure. Bewitched by the young priestess, Rowland follows her back to the city, where he witnesses the brutal rituals that honor the Sun God and swears he will release the people from their bondage to the religion that requires a sacrament of blood.
What does she want out of life? Qwana wants to do her duty and serve the Moon Goddess. She is dedicated to this task and believes it to be her life work. Although her initiatian vision indicates she will mate the condor, she believes this to be a prediction of her victory, and not the true ending her story reveals.
What’s her biggest secret? Qwana is much stronger than she might have believed. She grows as she protects the elders as they flee from Loa and she comes to understand that true love is an appropriate thing for even the last priestess.
Did you write more than one story about her? Qwana’s story is told in three books: The Last Priestess, Nazca Star and Bride of the Condor.
How would she describe you? I imagine Qwana would see me as a sorceress who is able to record stories in strange boxes and send them out for the world to share. She would probably be shocked at the sort of clothing and lack of reverence exhibited by today’s woman.
Is there anything else about your heroine that we need to know? Qwana is like all of us who are placed in difficult conditions and learn the true depths of our courage.
Please provide your website link. http://www.terrylwhite.com
NOTE: This is a new edition of The Last Priestess story, and is available only as ebooks at this time