Interview With Adrian Phoenix, Author of A Rush Of Wings
Sidhe Vicious welcomes Urban Fantasy novelist, Adrian Phoenix! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and all about your novel, A Rush of Wings.
AP: Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Sidhe, and I’m very happy for the opportunity to meet your readers.
SV: Your debut urban fantasy novel, A Rush of Wings was released in January 2008 by Pocket Books. Can you tell us about it and the main characters, Heather, Dante, and Lucien?
AP: You bet. FBI agent Heather Wallace tracks a serial killer known as the Cross-Country Killer to New Orleans. The location of the latest victim’s body leads her to Club Hell and Dante, the young frontman of the band Inferno. She comes to believe that Dante is the killer’s next intended victim and does everything she can to keep him safe and alive.
What she learns in the next few fast-paced and heart-wrenching days is that not only do vampires – nightkind – exist, but Dante is nightkind and he is guarded by one of the Fallen, Lucien De Noir.
She also learns that the Cross-Country killer may not be working alone and he will stop at nothing to get his hands on Dante. The reason why is in the past Dante can’t remember, the source of his migraines and nosebleeds.
And Heather quickly learns that she can’t trust anyone – not the Bureau, not her mentor and supervisor, not even the New Orleans police – except Dante and those who are trying to protect him from his past, the Cross-Country killer, and his own destiny.
SV: Will we be seeing more of Heather, Dante, and Lucien in the future?
AP: Yes. The next book, In the Blood, will be released in January 2009. The story picks up three weeks after the events in A Rush of Wings. Two more books are planned for this particular story arc. And I have other stories planned for the characters.
SV: How did you get your start in writing? What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?
AP: Writing has always been my one true love. Well, that and reading. I wrote short stories for my sisters and friends all through school. I’d create characters and yearn to put them in situations and tell their stories. When I was raising my sons as a single mom, I didn’t have much time or energy for writing. I wrote and sold a handful of short stories, one of which received an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Horror and Fantasy, fourth edition.
Once I’d successfully raised the boys, I returned to writing. I’d never written a novel before because I believed I didn’t know how. I attended a workshop on story structure taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch and learned that, yes, I could write a novel. There was no mystery behind the process at all. So, I sat down and wrote A Rush of Wings.
I wrote the book I wanted to read about characters I’d fallen in love with. Writing is a job and needs (I learned) to be approached like one. You need to sit down and write everyday. Even when you’re tired. Even when you don’t feel good. Even if it’s only a page a day, that’s still steady progress.
I keep motivated because this is what I’ve always wanted to do. Even if I hadn’t sold anything, I’d still be writing and hoping that I would. Each story I wrote would bring me that much closer to my goal.
I love writing. And I love hearing from readers who’ve connected with the story and the characters! Truly, it’s like a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier. (Well, okay, I’ll be even happier once I can give up the day job and just write.)
SV: What was the path to publication on this, your first urban fantasy novel, like? Highlights? Pitfalls?
AP: Research is part of that path. Know your markets, learn about agents and editors and who is buying what and from whom. The Publisher’s Marketplace is an excellent online resource. Agents and editors list their sales and deals and you can look up everyone listed. (It costs $20/month.)
I landed my agent first, Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger (Dan Brown’s agency) and he immediately sent the manuscript out to eight major houses. Pocket bought it and the unwritten sequel two days after I’d had a car accident. Believe me, I was so excited I pogoed around the house even though it hurt!
I haven’t really experienced any pitfalls, but I’ve heard horror stories from other writers, so I realize I’ve been very, very lucky. Have I mentioned how happy and grateful I am?
SV: Did you find it harder or easier to write the second novel in this series because of already having created this world?
AP: It was both. It was easier for the very reason you mentioned – I’d already created the world, the characters, and the driving force behind the story. It was also harder because, suddenly, I had to think about other people’s expectations while writing. The only person I’d worried about pleasing while writing A Rush of Wings was myself. Now, I was wondering what my editor expected, what the readers of RUSH expected, what I expected and it was a little daunting. Eventually, I had to shut out all these outside expectations and just continue with the story, being true to the characters and myself. In doing that, I also keep true to my readers. At least, I hope so!
SV: Do you have any funny writing quirks/habits that you do when you’re in the “zone” writing?
AP: In the zone – I love that place, writing in a white-hot heat. I start talking out loud as my fingers fly across the keyboard. “And then he turns, man, he’s so pissed off…” A constant little narrative to myself. I also eat red licorice vines. Bad, bad, bad, but so good.
Once I attended a week-long workshop learning how to write query letters and proposals. The writers had each been assigned a room (in one big house) with bed, bookshelves and a desk. I was at my desk working on my assignment with my earbuds in (I listen to music non-stop while writing) since I didn’t want to afflict my particular tastes (and volume preference on innocent ears). I finally realized someone was standing in my doorway. One of the other writers was looking at me with some concern, so I plucked out the earbuds. He asked me if I was all right. Puzzled, I assured him that I was. He told me that I’d been saying, “Goddammit! Goddammit! Goddammit!” over and over. Hysterical! I had no idea.
SV: Have you ever met a vampire or angel?
AP: I’ve certainly thought so in the bedroom! *winks* (In my dreams, that is!) I like to people watch, especially while sitting in a dark corner of a club nursing a drink, and I’ve seen a few that I thought could very well be beautiful vampires (or nightkind as Dante says) out playing games with unsuspecting mortals or maybe a vampire hoping to just have fun for the evening like anyone else.
And as for angels, look up, take a long look at the roofline of that tall building across the street. Is that silhouetted figure perched on the edge a shadowed gargoyle or something else altogether? Someone dark and brooding, whose wings unfurl behind in a rush of air…
SV: What supernatural power or creature would you most like to have or be?
AP: I’ve always thought it’d be incredible to teleport, go anywhere in an instant. I’ve also always coveted the gift of telepathy. To speak mind to mind, even in moments of intimacy, wow, imagine the connection. I’ve often wondered about being a vampire, so I’d probably pick that.
SV: Who’s your favorite author? TV show? Movie?
AP: I’ve always loved Stephen King’s work. He always inspired me. I enjoy Neil Gaiman’s work, as well – always beautiful and tragic and deeply, deeply moving. I so hate to admit that I haven’t read very much urban fantasy. I have tons of urban fantasy in my TBR pile, but…ack! I can’t wait until I discover the same writers that you and your readers have already discovered.
My favorite TV show is Supernatural, with Lost as a close second.
Ah, movies! I love, love, love movies! I think one of my all-time favorites is Moulin Rouge. And The Crow, that one always breaks my heart (hell, so does Moulin Rouge). I loved Aliens, The Last Samurai, Gladiator, The Last Mohican, Desperado, Casino Royale (when Bond tells Vesper, “You’ve stripped my armor from me…whatever is left of me is yours.” So moving!), all of the Bourne movies, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Underworld movies, Big Trouble in Little China… the list goes on!!
SV: Do you have any tips for aspiring speculative fiction writers?
AP: The most important one is to believe in yourself, always. No matter what anyone tells you! My father once told me not to pursue writing because it was so competitive and I was bound to fail. I believe he meant well, that he was hoping to spare me hurt, but I ignored his advice.
And write! Write every single day – even if it’s just a page or for only 30 minutes. Practice your craft. How can you expect to improve and grow if you don’t practice rigorously and with dedication? Look at musicians – if a violinist wants to become the best, they practice for hours every day, sometimes until their fingers bleed. I’m not saying you need to smear blood on your keyboards, but practice, study, read. Pursue your dreams and they will come true. But first and foremost, believe in yourself.
SV: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us at Raves & Rants and your readers?
AP: A cool place to visit if any of you visit New Orleans – in the Quarter, on Bourbon Street, there is a bar – Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which was built sometime before 1772. The interior is lit only with candles just like it was back in the day. Stepping inside into the flickering orange light and long shadows was like stepping back in time. I loved it. It used to be a favorite hangout for the vampire crowd for that very reason. Just sign up for the vampire tour and a visit to the bar is included. The vampire tour was incredible fun and our guide was a master storyteller and managed to totally creep me out several times. I loved it!!
I want to thank everyone for their interest and support! I appreciate it very much. Please feel free to contact me via my website, I’d love to hear from you.
And, thank you, Sidhe for your time and for the interesting questions. Merci beaucoup!
Thank you for spending time with us Adrian! It was a pleasure. We’re looking forward to In The Blood and wish you every success in the future. Go to Adrian’s website www.adrianphoenix.com
( Moved over from my original blog )
Posted by Louise:
Judi, this interview rocks and Adrian you are so cool!!!
Really enjoyed reading this.
Hugs to you both 🙂
Posted by Pike stephenson:
Posted by Amber:
Thanks for the interview!
Posted by Judi:
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