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Monday, June 17, 2013

SS: Interview with Elizabeth Richards + Giveaway


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:

Phoenix (Black City, #2)

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.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Previous book in the series:

Black City (Black City, #1)


Elizabeth is offering a hardcover copy of Phoenix to one lucky winner!

open Internationally.

Ends July 5th, 2013.

Fill the form to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Elizabeth Richards

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)

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

Follow Tynga on: Facebook | Twitter

24 People left their mark' :

  1. I love the different possibilities. So many dystopians show all the ways things could turn out ad while some may be a little more realistic than other they are still interesting. That and their characters tend to be a little stronger and offer more.
    Thank you for the giveaway

  2. Great interview!!!

    I really enjoy that dystopian novels give the sci-fi/post-apocalyptic feel without going too overboard, and gives the readers a chance to experience something new.

    Thanks for the opportunity!


  3. I agree with Elizabeth. I love dystopians because of the gritty. I like seeing characters survive through their tough situations.

  4. I just adore the dystopian genre. I love how their societies can eerily mimic our own. *shudders*

  5. Sounds like I have more great reads to add to my list. Thanks for sharing another great book!

  6. I like how the characters in a dystopian book rebel against their oppression. It's also my favprite part to see what or how the society is oppressing them.

    Great interview!!

  7. I like to read different authors take on what the future may hold.

  8. Dystopian novels, one of my favorite genres! It's great to see how with even just one difference that it could be our world someone is writing about and how it could become our history rather than fiction.

  9. I just like a variety to my reads.

  10. The thing I love best about dystopians is the realistic situations despite the post-apocalyptic world. lol ;p Its easily addicting and I just enjoy reading them! :D

  11. I like the world building and the setting! If it's well developed you have an almost perfect book.
    Thank you for the international giveaway :)

  12. I really don't know what I like best except that it just takes what I already like to read and adds another twist, something unique, to it.
    Thanks :-)

    lorih824 at yahoo dot com

  13. Dystopian books have this certain appeal to me; possibilities and humanity.

  14. I love that they have this dark quality about them. I mean, I like happy books, but they just don't impact me as much as darker books.


  15. I love to see an author's interpretation of the "end of the World."

  16. I love a good dystopian read. Looking forward to Phoenix.

  17. I love that it is different and makes the characters strive for a better future and makes them courageous and believe in themselves.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Dystopian books highlight worst case scenario. They make me wonder how I would manage.

  19. I love dystopians because they usually show regular people rising up and fighting for themselves and what's right.

  20. I love reading dystopian books! I like that they're a bit dark, and it's set in a damaged world/society. It's great to read about how the characters survive the wilf circumstances!

  21. I haven't had a chance to read Black City yet but it is definitely on my wish list. The very first time I read the blurb and saw the cover I new it was a series that I would love to read. The premise sounds so unique, suspenseful and romantic. Now with Phoenix released and book 3 in the works, I have some catching up to do.

  22. Oops missed the twitter chat but still very much looking forward to Phoenix after enjoying Black City. I'm really digging the starcrossed lovers thing as well as the unique creation of the Darklings.

  23. Love how usually humankind has to rise up again from catastrophe or tyranny and assert their independence or rights.