Effective January 2014, the Blog-Zine is cosed to new posts and is going dark. The blog and its archives will stay "up," though, so please feel free to peruse the archives and discover all of the great books, authors, articles, and other features that have joined me here over the years. Thanks to all who helped make my Blog-Zine adventure a raging success! Read on!

14 September, 2012

Phoenix by Melissa Starr

In Phoenix by Melissa Starr, the first book in an exciting new YA Paranormal series, Elora Rae Gannon believes her life is over. On her sixteenth birthday, she receives news that she is a mythical monster of hellish proportions and if that's not bad enough, she receives this information in the form of a letter from her dead mother who also informs her that she must become part of an elite secret society of others like herself or die. Sucky birthday, huh? And just when she thinks she's got it all figured out, her new-found family in the Elite forces her to break ties with her human BFF shortly before her BFF just up and vanishes. With her world in utter upheaval, Elora makes the move to a new school - Marlind Prep - with full intentions of finding out exactly what is going on behind the scenes and why her best friend has vanished, all while trying to figure out how to successfully make out with her boyfriend without sucking the very life out of him!

Sounds intriguing, huh? Well, lucky for us, author Melissa Starr stopped by The Blog-Zine to chat with us about the book...and a few other things. Check out her interview!

1. Greetings and welcome to The Blog-Zine, Melissa. Please tell us a little about yourself. I am a full time mother and wife, juggling a writing career on the side. I was born and raised in southern Oklahoma and, believe me, my twang would give me away, should I try and lie about it, lol. 

2. Do you feel like your background or upbringing influences your writing style? If so, in what ways? Absolutely. I was raised modestly. We never had much money, I'll admit that. My younger brother and I were always inventing new things or ways to play. Our imaginations were more valuable than any toy. As I learned to read, I found that I enjoyed reading fantasy. I read The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien when I was maybe eight years old. I often read to my brother in the evenings and delighted in putting my own twist on whatever I was reading, ad-libbiing our names, etc., into the stories. I devoured every book I could get my hands on and my mother had many, as she was a prolific Fantasy/Sci-fi reader herself. But I could never really find what I wanted to read in my own age group.

3. Describe your novel in seven words or less. I would have to say innocently-provocative, intense, intriguing, romantic and, perhaps, mysterious

4. I’m always curious when it comes to Paranormal and/or Supernatural literature and the people who write it. For you, the author, where does the inspiration to write in the Paranormal and/or Supernatural genre come from? Dreams, nightmares, visions…what? No, no, I'm no Stephen King, lol. Sorry, I've heard that most of his works come from nightmares. I'd have to say my inspiration just comes from my own idols. I fell in love with work in my genre as a child and equally love to write it. The idea for this particular series just happened to formulate one sunny afternoon while I was researching Egyptian mythology and cryptids (I do this often, thanks to my kids' imaginations and mine getting the better of all of us).

5. Do you feel that a writer needs to possess a certain “something” to be able to successfully write in the Paranormal and/or Supernatural genre? If so, what? No, not necessarily. I believe that as long as the heart, imagination and technique are there, a writer can write in any genre of their choosing; however, it helps to be interested in the type of genre you're writing in and finding your voice is also key.

6. What are your thoughts about the cross-cultural appeal of Paranormal and Supernatural literature? Do you craft your stories in such a way that increases cross-cultural appeal or have you found a “niche audience” that best fits your writing style? I've never really thought about it, to be honest. I just write what I write and let the words fall where they may. I'd love to have appeal with all audiences but, alas, it would be difficult to provoke excitement for the Paranormal/Romance genre in someone who reads only biographical novels, etc. So I believe, in a sense, that every author writes for their "niche audience," even if they do it subconsciously.

7. In your novel, if you were your main character’s BFF, what advice would you give him/her and why? If I were the main character's BFF in Phoenix I believe I would tell Elora to listen to her heart and gut rather than her head. Normally, we tell people to follow their head rather than their hearts, because the heart often leads you astray. But in this case my BFF's mind has been infiltrated by the enemy and her thoughts are not entirely her own. I would also tell her that, even though love and compassion are often painful, never forget that love can sometimes be a stronger attribute than grit and determination.

8. Is there a central message or theme in Phoenix that you hope readers will come away from the reading experience with? Just to have a love of reading! In this day and age everyone wants to analyze the heck out of everything and they never stop and think that maybe the writer is just writing what they love and not trying to particularly portray anything other than just an enjoyable read. But, if I had to appease those who enjoy the analytical aspect of writing, I would say that I want every girl (and guy) in the world to know that, regardless of how strongly attracted you are to someone or how badly your hormones want you to "give it up" out of sheer overwhelming and heated excitement for whoever your making out with, consider that it is worth waiting for. One more day, month or year for you to reach peak mental maturity could mean the difference between disease or parenthood before you're properly prepared to handle it. Don't get me wrong, sex is enjoyable, but before you are emotionally, physically and financially equipped, it's just not worth the risk. And, ahem, it is not uncool to say no.

9. What’s next for you? What can readers look forward to from Melissa Starr? Ruhk's Rising; Phoenix Elite Book 2 is set to be released Feb-Mar 2013, and I will follow it with a third installment sometime later in the year. I am currently working on another series in which the first book is a shifter novel called Therian Cursed: Equinox Novel 1. It's also in the young adult Paranormal/Fantasy genre. I plan to release Therian Cursed by the end of 2012 and follow it with Therian Called in mid-2013. Hopefully Therian Cursed will make it out just in time for Halloween, if I push it. ;) If you like this genre, I'm your girl!

10. How can we find you online and where can we pick up a copy of Phoenix? You can find your copy of Phoenix: Phoenix Elite Book 1 on Amazon.com in both Kindle & paperback; on Barnes & Noble.com; and just about any other Indie Bound Bookstore around the world. And please, people, leave a review of the book wherever you buy! I don't think fans know how much it means and helps authors to see those customer reviews. Sometimes it motivates us to keep writing!

You can find me online on Facebook, Twitter, Word Press and on my own Official Website.

*Bonus Question: What book are you reading now/did you just finish reading? How is/was it? I just recently finished Becca Fitzpatrick's Finale and I loved it, as I did the rest of the Hush, Hush Series. I can't wait for more from this brilliant author. I am actually just about to start the Hunger Games Series to see if it lives up to all the hype. :)


Kudos to you, Melissa Starr, for penning what sounds like a captivating story that YA Paranormal fans are sure to love. Continue following Melissa as she travels along the Phoenix Virtual Book Tour. Along the way, there will be book giveaways and lots of other fun stuff to see and learn about both Melissa and her literary projects! Get all the details about when and where by clicking on the banner below. Melissa's next stop? All Things Books - See you there!

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