Elizabeth is having her own Summer Solstice celebration this summer (along with fellow Penguin authors) so it only made sense for her to stop by our event! I’m really happy to have her on the blog and keep reading to learn more about Phoenix!
1. The dystopian genre has sky-rocketed over the last few years, why do you think so?
In the wake of the Twilight phenomenon and the world going into an economic tailspin, I believe readers were looking for grittier stories, featuring kick-ass protagonists who could survive even in the toughest of times. Then The Hunger Games came along, and it just captured the imaginations of so many people around the world. It was such a fresh and exciting story, and Katniss Everdeen was a cool, independent character, and someone girls could really admire. I personally believe the success of that series kick-started the dystopian trend, as publishers were keen to capitalize on that success, so added more dystopian titles to their lists, thankfully for me! I should send Suzanne Collins a cupcake basket or something!
2. Did you have a specific inspiration when you created your unique world? Many people have commented how it has a Romeo and Juliet vibe in connection to the star-crossed lovers plot line. Was this done on purpose?
Yes, Ash and Natalie’s romance was definitely inspired by Romeo and Juliet. I loved the idea of two teenagers from warring families falling in love and embarking on a forbidden romance. Natalie even has a balcony, like Juliet! But I wanted to put my own twist on things, so put it into a dystopian setting and populated the world with supernatural creatures. I’ve even had a reviewer refer to it as a ‘bloody, gory, sexy, hellish Romeo and Juliet…with vampires’, which I think captures the vibe perfectly!
3. The Darklings are very unique creatures, how did you come up with them?
I’ve always been fascinated by vampires, so I took them as a starting point then added my own touches. Like vampires, Darklings drink blood, have fangs, and are allergic to UV light, but that’s where the similarities end. The Darklings are not immortal creatures and they’re not sired; they’re born as Darklings, as they’re a unique species in their own right (in fact, there are three sub-species of Darklings—the Eloka, Nordin, and Shu’Zin), which have evolved side-by-side with humans. They have rippling hair that senses blood, toxic venom called Haze that humans are addicted to, two hearts, and some Darklings even have wings.
4. PHOENIX, the second book in the series has just been released. What has been the response to it thus far?
The response has been great! I’ve gotten lots of emails and tweets from readers telling me how much they enjoyed the book, which has been wonderful to hear. The action really ramps up in PHOENIX, and there are plenty of twists and turns, which people seem to be really enjoying, especially the ending! So I’m delighted that it’s getting such a good response.
5. Do you have a teaser from book 3 to share with us?
The book is in early edits, so I’m afraid I can’t reveal anything yet, but I can promise there’s going to be lots of heart-pounding action and romance!
6. Is there such a thing as a celebration for the summer solstice in your novels? What would it be like if there was one?
Yes, the Dacians celebrate the summer solstice, and in true Dacian fashion mark the occasion with a festival up in the Rainbow Forest. Everyone has to wear yellow, in honor of the sun, and they dance, sing and share food from dawn until the sun sets.
7. Have you ever celebrated the summer solstice?
Surprisingly, despite the fact I’m UK based and live just a few hours away from Stonehenge, I’ve never been! However, I’m celebrating the solstice this year with three other Penguin authors—Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked), Fiona Paul (Venom), and Lili Peloquin (The Innocents)—as we all have sequels out this summer and Jessica’s book Star Cursed is out the week of the summer solstice. So we’re running our own Summer Solstice Sequels tour and hosting a twitter chat on 20 June at 6.30pm EST, #SSSequels. Hope to see you there, as Penguin Teen are giving away loads of prizes!
Thank you so much Elizabeth for including us in your schedule!
More about Phoenix:
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.
Previous book in the series:
Elizabeth is offering a hardcover copy of Phoenix to one lucky winner!
Ends July 5th, 2013.
Fill the form to enter!
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. (source)