Welcome to Gift of the Phoenix Author Donna Cook! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
Donna Cook is an Arizona native transplanted to Boise, Idaho, where she is delighting in the change of scenery. When she’s not writing she spends her time chasing the kids, exploring delicious eateries downtown, and dancing with her talented husband. Her fantasy adventure, Gift of the Phoenix has won several awards, including Semifinalist in the Kindle Book Review Book of the Year Awards, and Notable Read in the Shelf Unbound/Half Price Books Indie Book of the Year competition. It was also nominated for the Whitney Award, which recognizes LDS writers. She’s currently working on the sequel to Gift of the Phoenix.
Gift of the Phoenix Interview with Donna Cook:
Welcome to Cuzinlogic! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’m an Arizona native transplanted to Boise, mother of three boys (who inspired the idea of three male protagonists in my book), stepmother to three girls, and currently seeking applications for the role of Alice. (You were thinking about the Brady Bunch, weren’t you?) I love to dance, travel, and read, but don’t do any of those things as much as I’d like. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I majored in creative writing but, upon graduation, promptly stopped writing and didn’t start again for another 10 years. (I talk more about this elsewhere on the tour.) My goal is to keep writing stories until the day I die. I hope that’s a long time from now, because I have lots of stories to tell.
Please tell us in 20 words or less, why we should read your book.
If you like fun, epic, fantasy adventures along the lines of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, read mine.
What kind of research (if any) did you have to do for this book?
One of the things I love about writing this kind of fantasy is the fact that little historical research is required. The world is whatever I say it is. It’s history is whatever I invent. I have so much fun with that creative freedom. Occasionally I do have to do a bit of research, and I have a funny story related to that. My world has a older feel to it, so when a character needed to light a fire, I spent some time researching flint and steel and the like. I wanted tactile details and was getting frustrated at the sterile nature of the information I found. Then I remembered: my character was a wizard. Duh! I replaced the flint and steel with a fire-starting spell and moved on.
What time of day do you like to write?
I would write all day, every day if I could, but since my family likes to talk to me on occasion, I have to limit myself to a few hours a day. I’m most productive first thing in the morning and late at night.
If you had to pick just 2 ways to promote your latest release, which would you choose and why?
Way #1: Peter Jackson makes a movie of my book. Do I really need to say why? It would rock the house. Way #2: A midnight reading at the Natural History Museum in London, a la J.K. Rowling. (Wait, were these supposed to be realistic promotions?)
What are your favorite movies and TV series based on books? Did you read the book before or after you saw the movie or TV series?
Lord of the Rings. I adore Lord of the Rings. I’ll out myself and admit I’ve never read the books. I’ve tried several times, but by the time I get to page 100, without even having left the Shire, I just can’t go on. Especially knowing how far we still have to go. But I hope one day I’ll be in the right mood for it, because it seems a shame not to be more familiar with the classic of the genre.
What do you do in your spare time?
Wait, what? Am I supposed to have spare time? Because no one told me. Maybe I’ve misplaced it somewhere. I’ll take a look around and get back to you.
Who designed the cover of your book?
My husband has been a professional artist and illustrator for over 20 years, so he got to do the cover. He did such a great job bringing to life my vision of the Phoenix. He’s definitely set the bar high for future books. We’re currently planning the cover of the next book, along with the final cover for the Nashua Chronicles.
If you could require high school seniors to read one book, what would it be?
The Hiding Place.
What can your readers expect from you next?
I wrote Gift of the Phoenix as a stand alone, so it won’t leave you hanging. But I left room for myself in case I wanted to write a follow up, and that’s what I’m working on now. The working title is The Hidden Branch. I’m also working on a series of novellas about a minor character from Gift of the Phoenix, whose name is Nashua. Her first novella is out as an eBook, with a temporary cover. Once the series is done, I’ll release it in print with the final cover. Also in the works are two other fantasy novels, unrelated to and with a different feel from Gift of the Phoenix. A literary novel is simmering on the back burner.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thank you for hosting me! I love hearing from readers, so if you check out the book, feel free to drop me a line.
Thanks Donna, for joining us today and good luck with the follow up to Gift of the Phoenix and your series of novellas.
Gift of the Phoenix
When three strangers are brought together by the discovery of a common enemy, they must fight to keep the magic of the Phoenix out of dangerous hands before their world is destroyed forever. The Three must learn to unite in spite of what separates them, and unlock the magic of three stones that seem to harm as much as they help. But uniting will not be easy for Nicolai, the simple peasant with a powerful secret; Marcellus, the warrior prince who’s no longer heir to the throne; and Corren, a gifted wizard whose ambitions threaten to ruin them all. Full of magic, mystery, and a touch of romance, Gift of the Phoenix is an epic fantasy that takes the reader deep into the heart of a wondrous world and the three men destined to defend it.
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