The Crown Phoenix Series by author Alison DeLuca

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I’ve read the first in this series and really enjoyed it. I do hope to get to the others to find out more of what happens in this steampunk world that Alison has created. Here Alison tells us about torturing us readers.

 

An underground factory, a terrifying laboratory, and an Edwardian hospital…

Miriam has only her guardians’ son for company, and she and Simon dislike each other from the start. But they must find a way to trust each other, or they will end up on the sinister Night Watchman Express.

Torturing Readers

Kissing in books is great, magical, clean fun. A first kiss between characters is a beautiful thing, a moment of romance. It’s the point where the interaction between two people takes a completely different turn, and if it is done right, the reader should feel that jolt of electricity, an investment in the couple’s desire as their lips meet.

Creating that spark is a delicate process. To my mind, the force that really drives it is tension. The “will they or won’t they” tightwire is a delicious torture for readers, to keep them up far beyond their bedtimes as they turn the page just to read one more scene.

Keeping that tension building for one book is a huge sleigh of hand trick. Yeah – how about four? I’ve separated my leads for three books, and as I come close to finishing the fourth, I might have to finally satisfy the readers who have stuck this long with me.

Building the long relationship between Miriam and Simon required a lot of adventures, side forays into other lives, a setting at the turn of the last century, and a few moments that allow readers to glimpse the electricity that has been building between the two of them. And, of course, the most important part has been their own personalities. Simon was handsome, had an eye for the girls, and thought he had fallen for someone else. Miriam was impatient, and very angry at the hand life had dealt her.

So when they first met, there were indeed fireworks, but of a different variety. The two of them fought and argued at the start. That’s when I allowed different sides of each to emerge – Miriam’s loyalty, and Simon’s courage.

As well, they both had to have a sense of humor. I wanted to think of their being able to sit down and have a long conversation, as friends, before I allowed any kissing to happen. If I didn’t do that, then the kiss would have been pure, simple, physical attraction and nothing more. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but for me, at least, that just doesn’t create enough tension and excitement.

So, here is an example of the tension-building:

“And how about you?” Miriam asked.
“What about me?”
“Won’t you miss that Cantwell woman?” Miriam blurted out the question, and she dropped her gaze onto her hands in her lap. How ridiculous of her to blush!
“Well, Miriam,” Simon said, “as a matter of fact, no, I won’t. I won’t miss that dreadful woman one bit. In fact, when she had me in prison up there, in that dreadful room, and I felt like I had lost my mind, it was you that I saw. I saw you in a dream, and that’s what saved me from losing my mind.”
“Oh,” Miriam said. Suddenly the house got very still and very quiet. Simon’s gaze was intent upon hers, and for some strange reason, she couldn’t look away. And she found she couldn’t breathe, either. Her heart began to hammer in her chest, and her mouth opened in a slight gasp.
Simon’s grin disappeared. He opened his mouth to say something, closed it again, and edged a bit closer to her on the step.
At that moment, Neil appeared at the top of the stairs and trailed down, dragging his feet on the worn treads of the stair carpet. “What are you two talking about?” he asked.

 

About author Alison DeLuca

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

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