Pitch Madness #8 – Nicole Evans and “The Path of the Phoenix”

Pitch Madness #8 – Nicole Evans and “The Path of the Phoenix”

1. Let's hear your pitch.
Rejection destiny might not have been the best idea. Darryn Syn does just that and quickly realizes that choice is much more powerful. And far more deadly.

2. If you were querying me, what would the teaser of your book be?
Rejecting destiny might not have been the best idea.
When a beautiful stranger shows up and takes an interest in Darryn Syn, he quickly returns it. However, when she tells him he isn’t human, his shock quickly turns into disinterest. Especially after she tells him his new species—shapeshifters called D’erívare—believe him to be touched by a destiny that falls dangerously close to the “last-chance-chosen-one” routine. Darryn, however, isn’t interested in turning his life into an emulation of an overdone fantasy novel. He doesn’t care if he is “meant” to kill a once-shapeshifter-now-Undead-overlord, whose epithet is Eternal, even if that means saving both his new race and the clueless humans. Destiny or no, the D’erívare can find a different—and better—savior. They need one.

3. Who is your target audience? What genre is your book?
Adult fantasy.

4. How did this story come about? Who or what inspired you/this story?
The story originated accidentally, from a separate project about my MC’s parents. I was outlining that story—it was a paranormal romance—when I realized that they would have a kid. Then, suddenly, I was asking myself more questions about Darryn and his life than I was his parents, Rayven and Adam. I ended up not writing that romance at all and started working on Darryn’s story instead.

5. Is this your first book?
It is the first one I’ve completed, yes!

6. Why did you enter #PitchMadness?
I entered #PitchMadness because I discovered that Twitter is a great place to connect with agents, other writers, editors—pretty much anyone with an interest and passion for writing. When I realized many contests were held to help bring likeminded writers and agents together, I couldn’t not enter. What a fun opportunity!

7. Do you have any past experiences with this story you would like to share?
I think I’ve gone about writing this trilogy in an odd fashion. After I finished this first book, I queried for one round and received rejections all around (even printed some out and hung them on my wall in pride). But I didn’t seriously pursue querying, instead moved on to writing book two. Then, eventually, onto book three. I haven’t taken querying for this series seriously again until finishing book three, only a few months ago. This contest was one of the ways I wanted to try and get more exposure, while attempting to find representation. I have a nice set of rejection letters now to keep me company, but I’m excited for the possibilities the future holds. And regardless, I’ll still be writing, which is where I’m happiest. 🙂

8. What can we expect from your story in the future, do you have any plans?
Well, Darryn’s story—told through the trilogy THE DESTINY OF THE DRAGON—is finished. I hope to do an accompanying trilogy about the history leading up to the war Darryn fights in the future, but I currently have switched gears and started working on a science-fiction novel. More info for planned projects for 2016 can be read about here: https://thoughtsstainedwithink.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/writing-projects-and-goals-for-2016/ …

9. Can we hear an excerpt?
Reaching the other end of the room, he lifted his hand to brush his finger against the books stored in the wall, tracing over numerous spines. He knew the content of every book by the feel of the spine alone, an intimacy created from years of intense and purposeful study.
Steele, Steinbeck, Stevenson, Stoker…Stoker…
His hand shook as he hovered over the name—either from ancient age or unexpected nerves, he could not tell. What he planned to attempt was tricky and one of the few things—if not the first—where he had no idea what the outcome would be. He knew the possibilities. He had seen those a thousand times over, replaying them in his head until each felt like they had become reality. Only one outcome, however, could come true, once time finally caught up with his visions. And despite his brothers’ pleas and pestering, he understood the cost necessary for the future he desired to come true; the only future where the world would survive, intact.
For an immortal, his life would finally be forfeit.
He pulled the thin book off of the shelf, his hands shaking. He turned and tottered back towards the solitary bench. He made it halfway back before he went rigid. His heart stopped once before accelerating in his chest.
They were here.

10. Have a website or social media platform for your story?
My blog is my main website, where most of my posts deal with writing—or struggling with writing, rather—in some fashion, though occasionally I post whatever fits. It can be found here: https://thoughtsstainedwithink.wordpress.com/

11. I’m getting a sense of magical realism and word building. Does this take place in the real world, past or future? Is this a world you are building?
Actually, it takes place in both. Darryn is a native Kiwi (from New Zealand), yet his ancestors are from Sanctimonia, a land home to the D’erívare that is connected to Earth, but not part of it. The shapeshifters were forced to leave Sanctimonia and retreat to Earth when Erebus took it over centuries prior to when the first book starts, which is modern day. Now, the D’erívare–through Darryn–are trying to return there, as some are worried Erebus is going to invade and take over Earth, as well. So there is quite a bit of worldbuilding going on, despite not seeing much of Sanctimonia within the series itself, particularly early on./

12. Interesting transition from a romance novel to The Path of the Phoenix. Can you share some insight of the transformation?
Sure thing. So when the threads of the romance novel were coming about, the bare bones for the D’erívare were also being formed. Darryn’s dad, Adam, is a D’erívare, while his mother is human. Despite a fun twist at the end, however, when mapping out that novel, I couldn’t get past how many clichés were incorporated into it. And instead of trying to figure out how to fix them and improve that story, I kept switching the focus to Darryn, until eventually, his story took shape so nicely that I was trying to keep up with the ideas and write them down fast enough. One day, I’d like to write Rayven and Adam’s story, as sort of a prequel to Darryn’s trilogy, but switching projects at the moment is a healthy change for me, and I hope a productive one creatively.


You can connect with Nicole on Twitter @thought_stained