What kind of research did you to for this series?
I did a lot of reading about World War II, specifically about the ghettos and concentration camps, which are featured in Black City and Phoenix. I also had to speak to a heart specialist about something….but I can’t say why. SPOILERS!
How did you balance the elements of romance, paranormal and dystopia in Phoenix?
At its core, PHOENIX is a dystopian book, so I wrote the story as I would’ve done if there weren’t supernatural creatures in it. The fact Ash is a Darkling and Elijah a Bastet wasn’t relevant; they’re just these two normal guys, with normal issues and dreams in life…they just happen to be supernatural! With the romance, that’s easy—whenever I felt there had been a lot of action or I was in a glum mood, I threw in a kissing scene or got Elijah wet! That always cheered me up.
I'm a fan of yours since Black City. It's mainly because of the unpredictability of your book. How do you maintain the constant level of twists and turns in your stories? Is there a secret for it?
I don’t plot my books before I start writing them (sshhh, don’t tell my editor)! I have a vague idea of what’s going to happen, but I don’t write detailed outlines because I like the characters to tell me what should happen, so I’m surprised. And if I’m surprised, then the reader should be too. Also, when I revise the MS, I’m always looking for ways to shake things up and so I throw in another twist or two!
I'm just dying to know (as well as thousands of readers out there I'm sure). Who/what inspired Ash?
A lot of guys that inspire me are actors I was crushing on as a teenager in the 1990s (I know, I’m old). So for me, Ash has the artistic soul of River Phoenix, the sexy hair and eyes of Keanu Reeves, the bad-boy attitude of Christian Slater in Heathers and the quiet cool of Jared Leto in My So Called Life. You might need to Google all these references... ;-p
How does your preferences of a guy - a dream guy specifically - influence how you molded Ash into being?
There’s definitely aspects of my ‘dream guy’ in Ash—he’s loving, loyal, brave, charitable, funny, sexy—but really, my characters tell me what they look like, how they dress, what their quirks are etc. So while I might have a ‘dream guy’ in mind that doesn’t necessarily mean my character agrees with me that’s what he should look like!
Where did you cull out the species of Bastets from? Is there a specific mythological race that inspired you? Or is a combination of several mythologies?
I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt and the Bastets are named after the Egyptian goddess of cats. So they’re mainly inspired by that. I wanted a species that would be the natural predator of the Darklings, so I came up with the idea of the Bastets—these sultry feline-like people, with cheetah-spots on their skin, saber teeth and long tails.
Just a random question. Were there any songs that triggered your imagination/writer juices to flow while you were working on Phoenix?
I listened to the Tron Legacy soundtrack and Two Steps from Hell quite a bit. But I like to mix things up, so I tend to listen to chart music or artists like Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Bat for Lashes when I’m writing.
It might be a bit too early but what can we expect from Book Three?
Lots of action, explosions, kissing and huge revelations!
Thank you for the interview, Liz! We'll be waiting patiently for Book 3!
Book Description via Goodreads:
Hardcover, 368 pages
June 4th 2013, Putnam Juvenile
Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.
The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.
Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist, who spent her early career reviewing videogames before making the bold (or crazy) move into travel writing, despite suffering from terrible travel sickness.
In her spare time, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls, where she got to interview many of her favourite bands, go to gigs and basically blag loads of free swag all in the name of ‘research’.
Elizabeth lives in Buckinghamshire, England, with her husband. Black City is her debut novel and Phoenix is the sequel.
Follow Liz: Site | Twitter | Goodreads
What's up for grabs?A Hardcover of Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards (Who doesn't want that??)
Follow the blog in any way that you like - GFC (though people say that this will be obsolete soon :( or Bloglovin or via email)
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So, my lovelies, for extra entries, comment below. Answer this question: What do you think of Ash now after Liz described her inspiration for Ash?