Friday, March 14, 2008

Interview with Adrian Phoenix, author of A RUSH OF WINGS

As you all know, I love love loved the debut novel of today's guest author, Adrian Phoenix. A Rush of Wings was a lush, absorbing read that yanked me into its chilling world of vampires and rock 'n' roll. Entertainment Weekly said, "Hard-charging action sequences, steamy sex scenes, and a surprising government conspiracy make this debut, the first in a series, engrossingly fun."

So I was thrilled when Adrian agreed to be part of my interview series. Even better, she's giving away a signed copy of A Rush of Wings to (say it with me now...) one lucky commenter.

Speaking of prizes, the winner of Chris Marie Green's prize, a signed copy of Twice Bitten, is...flip! Congrats! If you're watching, please send your mailing address to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com, and I'll pass it on to Chris.

Q. What’s been your biggest surprise/thrill about your first release?

Adrian: Can I say everything? I’d have to say the biggest thrill so far has been the great review A RUSH OF WINGS received in Entertainment Weekly. I’ve been a regular reader of the magazine for a gazillion years and it was pretty damned surreal to see a review of my book in their pages. Thrilling, yes, but surreal!

Dante’s world of New Orleans is so beautifully ‘painted’ by your words. Have you spent a lot of time in that city? Why do you think it’s such a natural place for vampires to hang out in literature?

I haven’t spent as much time as I’d like, honestly. As I was preparing to write RUSH, I went to New Orleans and walked the Quarter over and over and over. I’d sit and watch everything around me – this was during Jazz Fest, so the streets were full of people – note the way things smelled, looked. I went into almost every shop and museum and imagined Dante walking through the same places, imagined what he’d see, feel, think, and picked the perfect (to me) street for Club Hell.

But my favorite time was night. Then, with the flickering old-fashioned street lamps, the old , flower-draped buildings and the clop of horse hooves on the cobblestone streets (tourist rides in a horse-drawn buggy), I felt like I’d stepped back in time. And I felt like I belonged there.

As to why it seems like such a natural place for vampires – for me, it was the atmosphere and the city’s pulse, or maybe it was more the Quarter’s pulse, a deep and dark rhythm pounding beneath your feet. Mystery and the possibility of danger saturated the night air. Each narrow alley, each inner garden, each shuttered window whispered a seductive, “Look, ma jolie, if you dare.” LOL. What’s not for a vampire to love? The city is night-blooded.

The storylines in RUSH are complex, with many point-of-view characters, yet the plot is deftly woven so that it all comes together in an easy-to-follow way. I’m in awe. What’s your secret? Index cards? Hyperlinked multi-colored outlines? Forty drafts?

Thanks so much! Actually, I hate to admit it, but I don’t have a secret. I did three drafts of the story, mainly to cut it for length. It was 150K words originally. But for the plot lines, somehow they all kept clear in my mind. I’d finish a chapter and think, “Okay, it’s now this day and time. What is everyone else doing?” And go to the next POV and storyline. I knew how they needed to weave with the others. It’s been going the same way with the second book. But I think, before I start the third, I’m going to create a bible so I can keep everyone straight. It’s finally reached that point.

If you could inhabit the life of any of your characters, enter their world and deal with it as that person, which one would you choose?

Wow. A very interesting question! A tough one too. I choose Dante, because the creative side of me would love to delve into the world of music and rock shows.

Conversely, which of your characters would you most like to bring to life in our world (maybe as a best friend or much, much more)?

Another tough question! Heather and Von would both make great friends, and Lucien and Dante would be very cool as otherworldly friends and Dante could be a friend with privileges. ;) Ack! Can’t choose.

Same two questions, but use examples from another author’s work (including television/movies/theater)?

Geek-girl jumps right in with Legolas from LOTR – but the movie version instead of Tolkien’s book. The books lacked characterization, but the films offered much more with expressions, a hand to the shoulder, a glance away, a tensed jaw. Yeah, Legolas, for both. A second choice would be Eric Draven from The Crow.

Which author, living or dead, would you most like to collaborate with?

Oooo! Another tough one! Bring ‘em on, baby! ;) Stephen King would be my first choice. I also loved Caleb Carr’s work in THE ALIENIST and its sequel.. It’d be cool to work with him too. But he’d be third pick. Oscar Wilde would be my second choice. LOVE him!

What’s your earliest memory?

Oddly, it’s a sensation of falling and darkness.

Do you have any phobias?

Oh yeah! I can’t have the light on when in the bathroom. A night-light, yes. But not a light. It freaks me out. (I have no explanation for this.) Maybe I’m afraid of seeing what might need to be cleaned.

Name a literary cliché that makes you throw a book across the room.

The old misunderstanding bit: X walks in on Y sitting all cozy with Z, assumes the worst and stomps off. Refuses to listen to Y explain that they’d been bargaining for X’s life with Z. X and Y split up. Years later the truth comes out, etc.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would it be?

Go to a movie or three, eat lots of popcorn, then go home, lounge on the sofa and read, yummies at my side.

If you could write in a totally different genre than your current one, which would you choose?

Historical. Definitely.

What are you working on now, and what new releases can we expect to see from you down the road?

Right now, I’m finishing up IN THE BLOOD, which takes place three weeks after the events in RUSH. I’ve got some short stories coming out in anthologies and I’ll be doing a dark fantasy novel on John Keats in the near future.

If you could tell a perfect stranger just one thing about A RUSH OF WINGS, (other than what it’s about – no cheating by quoting synopses or back cover blurbs) what would it be?

It’s about facing the past, no matter how dark and bleak and ugly, and holding onto your heart, to who you are deep inside.


Give Adrian a comment or a question, or tell us about a cool new (or new-to-you) band you've discovered recently, down there in the comments before 5 p.m. EST on Monday, March 17. I'll draw a name and announce the winner next Tuesday morning.

If you don't have a Blogger account, just sign in as anonymous and leave your name at the bottom of your comment so I can identify you. Then come back next Friday or stay subscribed to the comments to hear the results.

***I recommend against putting your e-mail in the comments, since that's a spam magnet.***

(And don't forget, you have until Monday to enter the drawing for Caitlin Kittredge's Night Life.)

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Just wanted to drop a note and say how much I enjoyed this book. Your writing style is so easy and flowing. It makes your work an sublime pleasure.

Can't wait for the next one!

Posted by: Blogger Katie at 3/14/2008 9:17 AM

Hi there! I've heard really good things about this book (read both the Entertainment Weekly review and Jeri's comments on it), and I really enjoyed reading this interview. I especially liked hearing about how you picked New Orleans as the setting for your book; very evocative! Thanks!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 3/14/2008 10:36 AM

Hi, Adrian!

I haven't read Rush of Wings yet but am very much looking forward to it, it sounds very interesting! :)

Love the cover, by the way!

Posted by: Blogger Wendy at 3/14/2008 11:08 AM

Congrats on your debut novel Adrian! I'd love to read this book and there's so many great reviews! Thanks so much for a chance to win it!

Posted by: Blogger Bunny B at 3/14/2008 11:53 AM

Great interview!

Congrats on the release and the wonderful reviews on your debut novel.

Please enter me for a chance to win a copy of Rush of Wings.

Posted by: Blogger ChristyJan at 3/14/2008 1:41 PM

i cant wait till see your 40th book! your writing is great! im so looking forward to more of your books! will alwys be a fan!

bands, geez, im old, i really dont have much to say about the new stuff my kids listen to,
cut my writs, slit my thraot, and BLANK BLANK in every sentence, i really dont get it

give me waylon, acdc, joan jett, the band, stevi nicks any day

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 3/14/2008 2:52 PM

The novel sounds great. Can't wait to read it.

Tom Gallier

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 3/14/2008 7:45 PM

new musician and band player - Paul Gilbody :) He's not all that new to me - I was at uni with him and he was great then.

Posted by: Blogger Jax Blunt at 3/14/2008 8:50 PM

I became really excited when I read about the research to get New Orleans right - I love when novels have a sense of place, and when that sense is accurate!

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 3/14/2008 10:09 PM


I absolutely loved this book...your writing just flows and pulls you into the story. This was an impulse buy for me. The cover is sensational and while I went into the bookstore looking for a specific I was walking by, I saw yours and it just simply would not let me leave without it! I took it home and devoured and now can hardly wait for the next one!


Posted by: Blogger Lori T at 3/14/2008 10:40 PM

Thanks, everyone! You all ROCK!

I appreciate your kind words and support. And thanks to Jeri for featuring other writers and their work on her site!

Talk about ROCKING! ;)

Posted by: Blogger Adrian at 3/14/2008 11:59 PM

Bought Mark Ronson's Version album in early January, and I love it :-)

Have a lovely day! :-)

Posted by: Blogger Tez Miller at 3/15/2008 1:57 AM

Adrian, you already know that I absolutely LOVE,LOVE,LOVE your book!
I checked out the band Vampire Weekend - not quite sure what I think yet. I did like a song that had "comma" in the title I think. The last cd that I bought was Sixx AM.
Would love a copy of Rush. My book is starting to get pretty rough around the edges from fluttering through rereading my favorite snippets! :) Kristin

Posted by: Blogger Kristin at 3/15/2008 2:49 PM

I'm always looking for new authors to read and your latest release sounds like my kind of read. Congrats on the release! Love the vamps!

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 3/15/2008 3:18 PM

Rush of Wings looks and sounds very cool. Please enter me into the contest. =D

Posted by: Blogger EternallyMaroon at 3/16/2008 2:29 AM

Hi! This cover is really cool :D

Congrats on the release!

Posted by: Blogger B at 3/18/2008 6:22 PM

Congrats to Brooke, who just won the signed copy of A RUSH OF WINGS! Brooke, please send your mailing address to jeri AT jerismithready DOT com, and I'll pass it on to Adrian.

Today in our interview series we have Justin Gustainis, author of urban fantasy thriller BLACK MAGIC WOMAN. Stop by and check it out!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 3/21/2008 10:26 AM

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