Member Spotlight: Kyla Sterling

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Author: Kyla Sterling, April 1, 2017

This month's Member Spotlight article has been a long time coming. Too long, some might say...

Kyla Sterling.

What is there to say about Kyla that hasn't already been said?

A lot, as it turns out.

Kyla discovered TarValon.Net in January of 2004 while she was browsing through WoT fanart sites and saw the link. She'd already spent some quality time at Dragonmount, enjoying the role playing community there, but Tar Valon was clearly something different. It offered her a chance to earn the rank of Aes Sedai "for real," and she jumped at the opportunity.

She enjoyed her time as a Citizen, thrilled to discover that the Constable at the time, Sharradin Desri, lived within a half-hour's drive. It was connecting with people in person, Kyla says, that really drew her to stay at the site from the very beginning. Sharradin became her mentor upon her entrance to the Tower, and all but dragged her to her first party - Anniversary Party 2004, also known as "The Great Flood." (Kyla also covered this event for the Tar Valon Times!)

Meeting so many people, and being instantly welcomed into the close-knit family, ensured that Kyla would always have a strong tie to the Tower. Not just meeting Yelenia Hylraren, who would eventually become her first-sister, and not just participating in the precursor to the Amyrlin's Tournament (The Great Gleeman Competition!), and not just leaving the event absolutely certain that she would eventually join the Blue Ajah, but the experience of running through a dark campsite in the middle of a torrential downpour and waking up in a six-person tent with at least eight people stuffed inside, creates memories that no amount of time can ever erase. Many legends were born that night - the legend of the Novice Aquarium, the legend of the Silly String, the legend of Mother's Voice - but if we're being honest, the legend that became Kyla Sterling was also born that fateful eve.

A great disturbance in The Force the boards occurred in the summer of 2004, just as Kyla was hoping to be called to test for Accepted. The entire Tower was exiled to EZBoards, and the test itself was...unfortunately....gone. Meanwhile, the sneaksy Novice had contacted Melana al'Cairera Sedai, the Head of the Blue Ajah at the time, and declared her intention to join the Blues at such time as she could take the test, and asked if there was anything that needed to be done beforehand. Melana Sedai, ever patient with overly excitable Junior Members, wisely advised to wait for the testing first, choose an Ajah later.

Days passed. Weeks. Finally, Kyla had a dream that she'd been called to take the test and even remembered the password she'd been given in this dream PM. Unable to go back to sleep at 3:30 in the morning, she dragged herself to her computer and logged onto the boards to prove herself wrong. Except.....there it was. THE SUMMONS. Because the test had become roadkill on the information superhighway, Kyla was instead instructed to write an essay based on a prompt. She spent the next few hours writing, books everywhere to cite sources, and finally crawled into bed - exhausted and tearful with emotion - as the sun rose.

After some much-needed sleep, Kyla woke to discover that her raising had been announced and - plotsy Blue! - Melana Sedai had already added her to the Blue forum. Some would say the rest is history, but the history is such a long one, and this article already reads like a novel.

Kyla went on to serve as Constable after her mentor relinquished the position, and became Mayor of the City in the summer of 2005. Many members joined during this time, and Kyla still remembers most of their shenanigans as Citizens, Novices, and Recruits. So, JMs, if you ever want the dirt on your mentors, you know who to ask! She served in this position until the summer of 2009, when the Real Life monster bit hard.

You may know Kyla more recently as the Benevolent Overlord of the Blue Ajah (and occasionally Val Cueran). She currently serves as the Heart of the Ajah, concurrently with assistant editorship Supreme Editor In Chief-ness of the Tar Valon Times. She sometimes plays Mafia, too.

In real life, Kyla is a children's librarian in her hometown. (Yes, that explains all the book reviews!) She adores working with the kids, and is looking forward to welcoming her first child later this summer. She and her husband also just moved into a bigger house, and Kyla is having a lot of (stressful) fun going into nesting mode and decorating the place.

Kyla spends her days working hard planning story times and crafts for the preschoolers at the library, as well as trying to keep abreast of the current favorite series for kids and teens in the community. She also reads for pleasure - she's currently finishing a re-listen of the Dresden Files audiobooks, and then plans to move on to the stack of books she checked out months ago and hasn't had time to get to because of the move. She also enjoys writing - an enthusiastic NaNoWriMo participant, if not always a finisher - she is excited for the chance her maternity leave will give her to further procrastinate instead of finishing any of her projects.

She is always on the lookout for something new and fun to try - from SCA swordfighting to competitive Irish dance to (her next goal) triathlon training, she's into just about everything and would love to hear your suggestions for exciting hobby opportunities she hasn't yet discovered.

Kyla and her cat, Gaidin, thank you for reading this far.