Writing Phoenix Fire
I want to say a big thank you for inviting me here today to talk about my fantasy romance, PHOENIX FIRE.
I got the idea for the book because I had a dream. I know that sounds silly and probably cliché, but it’s true. I dreamed the climax of the book with Cassius and Elena dueling to the death in the arena. I dreamed her telling Valerius how she wouldn’t fight him because she was in love with him. And how Valerius, the healer and her friend, told her she had to because she didn’t have a choice. I knew her name was Elena just as I knew his name was Cassius. I even knew the antagonist was the evil emperor.
I thought about the story the entire way to the Day Job. I couldn’t get the images out of my head. As soon as I could, I wrote the entire synopsis from beginning to end. I couldn’t wait to get started on the story. I thought for sure it would be a winner.
Here’s the blurb for the book:
Kill, or be killed.
Elena Gaius is Hixyl’s most heralded gladiatrix, catching the Emperor’s eye with her unspoiled beauty and fiery temper. Determined to let no man have her, he forces her into a life of unwanted accolades—for slaughter in the Games. With independence out of reach, Elena knows each day could be her last.
Cassius Antonius is a former general hired by an underground secret order to assassinate the Emperor. When he refuses, they take away the only thing precious to him—his freedom. Forced into servitude, he meets Elena and manipulates her into helping him, forming a shaky alliance and a searing romance.
The two become unwitting pawns in the struggle to save Hixyl from the Emperor’s tyranny. But plans spin out of control with the discovery of their secret tryst, and for their ultimate act of betrayal, the Emperor demands one last entertainment—to be pitted against each other in the Games in a fight to the death.
Initially, I thought I’d set it in Ancient Rome. But some of things that I wanted for the book weren’t quite right. Like, centaurs kept popping up and other mythical creatures. So I re-imagined Ancient Rome. I created a map of the city so I would know where everything was and how to get there.
I drew it out on graph paper. I started to get the inkling this was a fantasy, not an historical. I rewrote the story to fit the place I had in my head. I have to admit, it was a hard book to write. I like to call it a cross between Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet. There is love, death, betrayal, assassins, gladiators and magic. I truly hope you enjoy the story!
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