PHOENIX (A Black City Novel) Debut Madness: Interview with Elizabeth Richards + Giveaway!

Yesterday marked the release of PHOENIX, the second book in the BLACK CITY series by the League's very own Elizabeth Richards. I'm so excited to be part of Phoenix's debut week celebration, WOOT WOOT! Stick around for the end of this post for your chance to enter to win a copy of Phoenix and swag!

Part dystopian, part paranormal, and all fun, Black City left readers with questions that I can't wait to see answered in the sequel. Speaking of questions, I asked Elizabeth a few about what it was like to write a follow-up.

Q & A with League Author Elizabeth Richards

1)  Authors often say that writing a sequel is crazy-making. How was writing book two of the Black City series different than writing book one?  Overall, was it more challenging to write Phoenix than Black City and if so, why?

OMG, it was SO crazy making! I have to admit, I was not prepared for the insanity of writing a book under a publisher’s deadline. When you write your first book, you’re able to take your time with it and there’s very little pressure as the only people who are reading it are you and your friends/crit partners. But when you write the sequel suddenly there are expectations and deadlines and OMG! Pressure!!! It’s not easy being creative on a deadline, but I love, love, love, love, LOVE it. Writing PHOENIX was such a learning experience, and I truly believe I’ve become a better writer because of it…I’ve just developed a few facial ticks along the way.

(*hums Under Pressure by David Bowie and Freddy Mercury in sequel-writing solidarity*)

2)  Which scene was your favorite to write in Phoenix?

Hee hee, that’s easy. The scene in the Barren Lands where Elijah is in the pool with his top off. Need I say more?

(No. No, you needn't.)

3)  We got plenty of Ash and Natalie moments in book one (woo hoo!)  Would you say there's more or less romance in Phoenix?  Is it difficult to mix romance in with all the action?

The action really ramps up in Phoenix, as Ash and Natalie have to travel across the United Sentry States in search of a weapon called the Ora, but there’s still plenty of steamy scenes! My editor said she was fanning herself at one particular scene between Ash and Nat. I can’t help myself; I heart Ash! Whenever I feel like there’s been a lot of action, I always like to slow things down again with a tender or sexy moment. I think it’s important that a book has these quieter moments, to give the reader time to breathe and connect with the characters…plus, ya know, Ash is pretty, so... *dreamy sigh*

(*sighs in unison*)

4)  What's your favorite sci-fi/fantasy sequel, movie or book?

Ooooh, good question! My favorite sequel is Terminator 2: Judgment Day. My twin sister and I watched that movie every night for about 6 months when we were teenagers. I was in love with Eddie Furlong and she was in love with Arnie. It’s a great movie—so much action, great special effects, and there’s some very tender moments in there too. I’m a huge Terminator fan.

(OMG, YES! Love that movie so hard! Poor, poor, DAMN. Linda Hamilton had some killer deltoids!)

5)  Black City had some amazing world building. Was it hard to return to that world to write Phoenix, or did you find yourself diving right back in?

I dove right in! I was so excited to revisit the world, because I knew the action would move out of Black City and into other parts of the United Sentry States, and I was keen to explore these locations, as they’d been in my imagination for years. It was such a treat to write. I particularly enjoyed the Barren Lands segment.

(I can't wait to read!)

6)  If you could choose, would you be a Darkling or human?  If Darkling, which type?

Gosh! That’s a fab question. Mmmm….I think I’d be a Darkling. Although they have a terrible time of it, they’re really fascinating creatures and so romantic. (They have ‘Blood Mates’, which is when their dual heart activates when they meet their true love.). I’d like to be a Nordin Darkling, as they’re the only species with wings, and I think it would be awesome to be able to fly and have glittering orange eyes and rippling ice-white hair.

(Sign me up, too!)

7) Ash gets a ton of love from readers (as he should!)  Did Ash come to you fully formed, or did he evolve slowly?  Did you consciously give him any traits from real people?

Ash came to me fully formed. It was strange really, as I was watching a movie one night—I believe it was Charlie Bartlett, starring Robert Downy Junior—and the character of Ash just popped into my head. I instantly became obsessed with this drug-dealing, supernatural boy who gets a heartbeat when he meets his true love, and as soon as the movie finished, I grabbed my laptop and wrote the first scene. I’ve always been drawn to broken but artistic bad boys, so I think Ash has the sort of beautiful but damaged soul of someone like River Phoenix; Keanu Reeves’ hair; the bad-boy attitude of JD from Heathers; and the quiet cool of Jared Leto’s character in My So Called Life.

(Niiiceeee...and now I'm humming the new Thirty Seconds to Mars song....)

8)  Do you have any particular songs that inspired you while writing Phoenix?

I listened to a LOT of Two Steps From Hell, particularly Freedom Fighter. And Beyonce, because she’s awesome and I love her.

(Excellent choices!)

9)  Can you give us a hint as to what you're working on next?

I’m currently working on book 3 of the BLACK CITY series—I’ll be revealing the cover later this month—and have just sent in a proposal for a new sci-fi series to my publisher! Fingers crossed they like it, as I’m very excited about this new idea! :D

Definitely keeping my fingers crossed, and thank you SO MUCh for taking part in this interview!

Readers, pick up a copy of PHOENIX at a bookstore near you!  Or, enter here to WIN:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. The pressure of writing under deadline freaks me out more than a bit. I'm impressed that Elizabeth is getting her books out so quickly. Can't wait to read Phoenix.

Heather Sunseri said...

Awesome interview! Very excited to read this series. Right up my alley!!

Catherine Stine said...

Sequels are hard to craft, deadline or not! Congrats on yours! The series sounds cool--I like the combination of fun and nail-biter.