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Friday, November 2, 2012

Interviewing Alison DeLuca about her Crown Phoenix series

Today, I'm pleased to be able to interview Alison DeLuca about her Crown Phoenix series. Be sure to check below for a wonderful giveaway from Alison.

In The Night Watchman Express, Miriam Pearson’s guardians, the Marchpanes, move in and bring their son, Simon. She instantly clashes with him. What allows this relationship to become friendly enough for them to join together to uncover a plot by Barbara Cartwell, who intends to use Miriam’s family’s company for evil means?

In my experience, adversity brings people together. It also exposes what each person is truly about – are they brave? How will they function if they are in danger?

To me, the key here was Simon. Miriam is an orphan, so she already knows tragedy and incredible hardship. Simon, however, is good looking, rich, and a pampered only child. When he encounters evil, it will either expose his weaknesses or his strengths- or perhaps both.

How does Barbara have power/influence over the Marchpanes to make them fire their governess, Mana?

It didn’t take much! The Marchpanes couldn’t believe they had been tricked into hiring Mana in the first place. For one thing, the governess is a woman of color – an unheard of thing in Edwardian society. She is an excellent teacher and a very lovely, intelligent person, but of course they always looked for any excuse to get rid of her.

As well, Barbara is very beautiful, and she seems to have wealth and power. The Marchpanes, poor silly idiots, are far to willing to accept what lies on the surface rather than searching deeper into a person. Many people do, sadly.

When Miriam and Simon follow Mana after she is released from her duties as a governess, they are captured at the Night Watchman Express. Do the Marchpanes search for them? How?

Excellent question! Theodosia Marchpane is very anxious about her son, of course. Barbara takes Simon to a separate prison – a very luxurious one that is just as deadly as Miriam’s dreadful jail. Simon suffers terribly, but since Theodosia Marchpane believes everything that Barbara tells her in written reports, she allows Simon to stay with Barbara and her brother for the time being. And that, of course, is a dreadful mistake.

Does Mana know she is the rightful queen of the island?

Yes, she does. Mana is incredibly intelligent, as I said. She knows that the current ruler, Atol, is a puppet put on the throne by Barbara and the Marchpanes. She also knows that she must wait for the right moment to act in order to regain her throne, and she has the patience to do so.

In Devil’s Kitchen, are Miriam and Simon treated better or worse than other workers because they are connected to the family business that Barbara Cartwell is undermining?

Miriam is treated the same as the other workers, but what makes things so hard for her is that she is new to the underground factory, and she has a different way of speaking than everyone else. That earns her a tough time of being bullied by the prisoners she must live with underground.

Simon is held in a much more luxurious place, the top floor of a country manse. He is still very much a prisoner, even though he is given expensive clothes and delicious food. Towards the end, Simon’s treatment at the hands of Barbara and her brother approaches torture. It was a difficult section to write, but I felt he had to go through something that would really test him to the utmost. As I look back, it’s really one of my favorite parts of the book.

In The Lamplighter’s Special, what is the Crown Phoenix?

The Crown Phoenix is a quantum typewriter that can bend time and space. Miriam’s father invented the device before she was born. It ultimately allows him to amass a huge fortune, because he can ship things much faster than anyone else can.

Briefly describe the magical systems of your world. How do those who are empowered (Mana, the magical typewriter) gain their abilities?

The magical typewriter was created by Miriam’s father before he died. He set up a system known as The Passage from England to Lampala, Mana’s home land, to allow faster shipping times.

Anyone who goes through The Passage develops some curious side effects that seem to be an enhancement of current abilities. Mana, for example, is very good at getting people to do what she wants them to do (which makes sense, since she is a princess.) After she goes through The Passage, that ability is strengthened to the utmost, so she does not even have to speak in order to influence those around.

I love magic, especially logical magic. I wanted Mana to have an extra power, but there had to be a reason for that power. The Crown Phoenix and The Passage are what create magic in my books.

Readers can watch that process happen in the third book, Crown Phoenix: Lamplighter’s Special. Neil’s sister, Lizzie, goes through the Passage and has some very strange things happen to her as a result.


Description ~ Book One ~ The Night Watchman Express

Miriam Pearson’s father has died. Her guardians, The Marchpanes, take over her house and her father’s company. The strong-willed girl instantly clashes with their son, Simon. The Marchpanes hire a governess, Mana, to take care of her. Mana is black, and has magic powers. She and Miriam eventually become friends. With Simon and Neil, his friend, they uncover a plot by the sinister Barbara Cantwell to use Miriam’s father’s company for evil means.  Barbara is very beautiful, and at first, Simon is very attracted to her.

Once Barbara realizes that Miriam and Mana are on to her scheme, she forces the guardians to fire the governess.  Mana is hustled out of the house by the Marchpanes, but Miriam, Neil and Simon follow her to the Night Watchman Express.  However, Miriam and Simon are captured and put on the Night Watchman, bound for a sinister destination. Mana is loaded onto a boat headed to Big Star Island.

Neil manages to steal a boat and follow Mana’s captors to the island. A native girl, Riki, rescues him and brings him to her house.  She is spoiled and her mother has no control over her, but Neil manages to become her friend.  Her father forces him to stay with the family so Neil can be Riki’s companion and manage her wild behavior.

Neil learns about Atol, the king of the island, who seized power after the last monarch was killed. Atol is plotting with Barbara Cantwell to force the islands to produce drugs instead of bolemor wood, and he is also shipping his people out for use in human experiments.  Neil discovers that Mana is the rightful queen of the island, and is being held by Atol. Neil and Riki manage to rescue Mana, and they head back to the mainland to look for Simon and Miriam.

Available at Amazon

Description ~ Book Two ~ Devil’s Kitchen

Miriam and Simon are imprisoned on the Night Watchman Express, heading for the Devil’s Kitchen. It is a huge, dirty factory where the prisoners process the drug imported from the island.  Simon tries to fight the guards and is hauled away to a huge, strange house belonging to Barbara Cantwell.

Miriam is forced to live in a cell and work underground under the fearsome Headmistress and Headmaster, who run the factory. Meanwhile, Mana and Neil arrive and start searching for their friends.

Simon wakes up in Barbara’s house and undergoes torture.  He manages to gain her trust by pretending to be on her side.  Eventually he is rescued by Mana. Miriam is about to be punished by the Headmistress and Headmaster when Mana and Simon arrive and rescues her.  Barbara tries to kill Mana but is foiled by Simon.
Mana regains her kindgdom, and Miriam regains her home and future control of her father’s business.

Available at Amazon

Description ~ Book Three ~ The Lamplighter’s Special

Miriam, Simon, Neil, and Riki reunite on Lampala for the summer holiday. They are happy to be together but wonder what has happened to Neil’s family.

Neil’s sisters, short-sighted Lizzie and beautiful Ninna, are forced to work in the Manor House to help take care of new guests.

The guest arrives, a lovely lady called Miss Wilkinsl. She and her brother have a mysterious obsession with the Crown Phoenix.

Lizzie meets Toby, the oldest son who cannot leave the attic. They become friends. Lizzie is also forced to work in Miss Cantwell’s rooms, where the dresser, Siddons, tortures her with violence and overwork. Siddons locks Lizzie in a room, and Toby finally emerges from his attic to rescue Lizzie.

Toby fixes The Crown Phoenix.They all board a ship called The Lamplighter’s Special and sail to the island. On the way, the typewriter works some strange magic and they arrive in a matter of hours instead of weeks.

Lizzie, Ninna, Toby and Priam discover there is a person hidden below deck in the boat.

Miss Cantwell takes the four children to the island and strands them there. They are rescued by Miriam, Neil, and Mana.

Miss Cantwell threatens to blow up the islands with the Crown Phoenix. She is captured. The rest return to the boat and head back to England, but Toby’s agoraphobia returns.

About  the Author:

Alison DeLuca grew up on an organic farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Her parents were British, so in the summers she went to stay with her grandparents near Dublin.

There was no stereo or TV there, so Alison, her sister, and her cousins spent the summer inventing stories and plays for each other.  “This gave me the ability to entertain myself with my own imagination in any situation,” she says. “We used to be taken to tea with great-aunts, and we were expected to sit on an uncomfortable couch and not move or say a word.  It was possible to endure it because I was watching my own little stories play out in my mind.”

After graduating from West Chester University, Alison became a teacher of English and Spanish, teaching students from kindergarten up to college level. She loved teaching, and it was with reluctance that she left the classroom to be a fulltime mom when her daughter was born.

While she was teaching and raising her daughter, Alison took every free minute she had to write.  The Night Watchman Express and The Crown Phoenix Series were the result.

She is currently working on the final book in the series, as well as several other projects.

The Giveaway

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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED, and Book Three, LOST VOLUMES. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.


Alison DeLuca said...

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Marsha. I really enjoyed the interview and the opportunity!

Marsha A. Moore said...

It's been fun! Glad to have you spend a day.