PHOENIX FALLING - A Wildlands Novel Book Five by Laura Bickle -- The critically acclaimed author of Nine of Stars and Witch Creek, returns with a fiery new chapter in her celebrated Wildlands series. ***Join us for an interview with the Author***
Phoenix Falling - A Wildlands Novel
by Laura Bickle
Petra Dee and her immortal husband, Gabe, have been trying to gain a toehold in what passes for ordinary life in Temperance, Wyoming—
a wickedly enchanted land founded generations ago by the alchemist, Lascaris. Petra may be adept when it comes to the uncanny, but as a reasoned geologist, Petra still can’t fathom the wildfires suddenly engulfing Yellowstone National Park, or why Gabe claims to have seen the sky explode in flames. The answers could lie in the past.
It was a dreadful night in 1862 when Lascaris went harvesting for souls, only to be set upon by townsfolk determined to eliminate the root of all evil in a trial by fire. Petra can’t help fearing that Lascaris has crawled out of the ashes of history to wreak vengeance—and to complete his mission by claiming every vulnerable soul in Temperance.
With the help of Gabe and her coyote sidekick, Sig, Petra must now venture into Lascaris’s shadow before he turns her world into an inferno burning out of control.
“Bickle is well on her way to establishing her work as a cornerstone of her genre.”
An Interview with Author
Welcome to JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder.
Thanks so much for hosting me!
Tell us about your newest book.
PHOENIX FALLING is the latest book in the Wildlands series. Petra Dee, a scientist and daughter of an alchemist, finds herself facing the most deadly alchemical horror she’s encountered yet – a phoenix unleashed in Yellowstone’s back country. As the park burns and the fire threatens the town of Temperance, the founding alchemist of Temperance has returned. Lascaris intends to harness the phoenix’s power for his own evil ends, threatening all the magical denizens of Temperance and beyond.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing Phoenix Falling?
The most difficult thing about this book was writing the last book in a series. I wanted to tie up loose ends and finish character arcs I’d begun several books before, so it was a challenge to make sure all the plot lines moved together in a successful finale.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
I’ve been a published writer since 2010, with EMBERS and SPARKS, which followed the adventures of an arson investigator who hunted ghosts at night with her fire salamander familiar. Writing as Alayna Williams, I wrote two urban fantasies about a criminal profiler who uses tarot cards to solve crimes in DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE. I’ve written a few YA novels, including THE HALLOWED ONES and THE OUTSIDE, about a young Amish woman facing the end of the world.
The Wildlands books, beginning with DARK ALCHEMY, are my latest project. It’s been a delight to be able to wander in a weird western realm for several books, to play with basilisks, drug-dealing alchemists, and undead cowboys for the last few years.
They say Hind-sight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to keep moving forward, to look to the next horizon.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
I think the climax of PHOENIX FALLING was the most difficult. It’s the big magical showdown at the alchemical Tree of Life, and not everyone gets to walk away from it. Big magic requires big sacrifices, and this is no different.
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
They are. The Wildlands books examine the various stages of alchemy for theme and inspiration. For example, a god of death makes an appearance in Temperance in PHOENIX FALLING. He’s the culmination of a fermentation process in alchemy, rot and mortality made tangible.
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
My favorite character from the Wildlands books is Sig, a coyote who appeared in the first book to assist Petra. He seems to have stuck around for love of lunch meat and blankets, but he’s actually much, much more. He might even be THE Coyote, with a capital “C,” working his own agenda.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
I loved the Bunnicula books as a kid. I read THE CELERY STALKS AT MIDNIGHT over and over.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
Thank you so much for chatting with me today!
Good luck with Phoenix Falling, and thank you for spending time with us today.
Her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.