Credit: Jemina @ Booknerdfangirl
Last week saw a bittersweet day for me as I published the last Blue Phoenix book. Call it a cliche, but this series has changed my life – I finally achieved my dream to become a full-time author thanks to Blue Phoenix. So, here’s a blog post with some fun facts and backstory about the series. Thank you for reading and all your support.
Today I’m saying goodbye to the band and moving on to new projects. I feel as if my new friends are leaving town and I won’t see them again!
These are a few questions people often ask me:
Where did you get the idea for the series from?
Almost three years ago, I was half-asleep and a scene started playing out in my head. Two people were involved in a car accident on a country lane in England – a famous guy and a ‘take no nonsense’ girl both running away from their lives.
I tried to push them away, but in the end I gave up, climbed out of bed and switched on my laptop. In the early hours of that morning, I wrote the beginning of a book and only stopped because I was too tired to carry on. I still have no idea where this all spilled from, but it became Summer Sky.
To begin with, the unnamed famous person was going to be an actor but he decided to be a rock star. At this point, I had no idea rock star books were popular! I’d read one years ago but as I mostly wrote and read paranormal romance back then I missed this. In fact, it wasn’t until I published the book I realised the rock star is what caught people’s attention.
Summer Sky was only ever going to be one book and now the sixth in the series and Dylan and Sky’s third book is available (fourth if you count Dylan’s novella). The last three years have been a rollercoaster ride with the books, the band and readers. I’m still stunned by the fact the series hit Amazon bestseller lists and has been so popular and am grateful for the people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve had since Summer Sky released.
Why are the band called Blue Phoenix?
The name was chosen after researching tattoos! Because Dylan’s tattoo features in the story as a clue to Sky (that she completely missed) I wanted to find something that looked good but wasn’t already a well-known band name. I loved phoenix tattoos but the name already existed so I had play around with colours, checked out some tattoos and decided on Blue Phoenix. Fun fact: I now have a blue phoenix tattoo. A lot smaller than Dylan’s!
Why did you choose the names Dylan and Sky?
I wanted a name that had a connection with the ocean (or the sea in this case). Dylan, as you probably know by now, means ‘man from the sea’ and Sky seemed a perfect match for this. Which leads to the next question…
Why are the band members Welsh?
Basically, the reason is because I chose the name Dylan and that’s a Welsh name. Then it made sense because Cornwall is in driving distance of the part of Wales the band grew up in. I once lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales (close to St Davids, actually) but only for a short time as a child.
How did you choose the other band members’ names?
By research into surnames and popular Welsh names. Bryn is because it’s one of my favourite Welsh names and because he’s how I picture ‘a Bryn’. Jem – I like J names and wanted something that was short for a name people might not expect him to have. Liam has a gentler feel (to me). It’s tough to remember because if I hear any of the names now I only picture the characters.
Where is the cottage and town Sky and Dylan visit?
The town is fictional but a mash-up of seaside towns I visited as a child in the south-west of England. I usually stayed at camping sites rather than quaint cottages, but definitely had my fair share of dips in the cold sea!
Who is your favourite band member?
My answer as always… depends on who I’m writing about at the time. None of the four match my ideal man and how could they if they all have their flaws? I love Dylan’s romantic nature, Bryn’s humour, Liam’s protective and passionate side, and Jem … I couldn’t live with a man like him but still love him.
What do the band members look like in your mind?
Another tough one. I think readers will all picture them differently and I didn’t base their looks on anybody in particular. The exception is Liam who’s based on one of my best friends as a teenager. He had Liam’s caring and gentle nature and was also as protective of his distinctive hair! He passed away when I was eighteen and I still think about him. He wanted to be a rock stars I made him into one I do have the Dylan & Sky covers framed on my wall so the couple have begun to look like Sky and Dylan in my head now. There are a few images on my Pinterest board for each book if you want ideas on how I visualise Jem and Bryn. And props to the wonderful Jemina for working with me and creating the band in the image above (look carefully at Jem’s tattoos and you might see something Ruby Riot related…)
Which is your favourite book?
Impossible to answer, of course! Although, when I published Rising and readers’ opinions of Jem completely changed I felt a real accomplishment because I’d managed to open up a character people hated and make him the hero.
Who is your favourite heroine in the book? Are any of them like you?
Not really! And again, hard to say. Of course I love Sky but feel sad that sometimes her very British sarcasm is mistaken for bitchiness. Ruby was tough to write because of what she went through and so different to Sky. I love Cerys’s strength and vulnerability, and I’m happy I ‘found’ Avery to step up to the mark and match Bryn’s humour.
Does Blue Phoenix sound like any of today’s bands? Did you base them on anybody?
Their sound (in my mind) is a mix of a few. The band started in 2008 so I looked back at who might’ve inspired the guys as teens. They’re lovers of the classics too – Led Zeppelin especially (just ask Cerys). Jem of course likes Metallica, and Slash is an influence on him too. Liam’s a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. Plus I hear Bryn likes Pearl Jam (just ask Jem).
Their sound isn’t as heavy now as in their ‘angry teen’ early days – I would put them in the same kind of place as The White Stripes or looking further back, Pearl Jam. Somebody once told me they think of Dylan sounding like Eddie Vedder and I agree he’d have a very distinctive and versatile voice. Especially after that choir boy training…
Because Ruby Riot are more recent they have a different sound – Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers etc
Here’s the Blue Phoenix playlist I created while writing the books
How did you manage to match the different character timelines? Do you have a detailed plan somewhere?
Okay… I shared this on Facebook last year. Don’t laugh, but this is my whole Blue Phoenix timeline and the only notes I have… Some is blanked out because *spoilers*
Please tell me this isn’t the last book…
The last book was Reverb! Forever Sky came about because readers’ love for Sky and Dylan was very vocal and I decided to follow their story through to what I feel is their final HEA. Is this it from Blue Phoenix? I’m fairly certain this is the last full-length book for any band member. Novella? Maybe but not in the near future. Short stories? Perhaps… If I could pull off a ‘Back to the Future’ vibe I’d write about the Blue Phoenix children but I’m not sure I can predict 18 years into the future 😉
How much do you like bacon sandwiches?
I never thought I liked them enough to make them a character in my books!
Can I buy signed paperbacks?
Yes, you can as I stock all the books for signings etc. The problem is postage is very expensive from Australia to the rest of the world. If you decide to buy the paperbacks from Amazon, I will send signed postcards and bookmarks to match them. If you have done this, or would like to order any, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out about the whole series here: http://www.lisaswallow.net/main-books-menu/blue-phoenix-books/
Find out more about the band members here:
What am I writing next? Good question! I have four different projects in mind and on the go. Keep up to date by subscribing to my newsletter here.
Thanks for reading and feel free to ask any other questions in comments below!
Forever Sky is now available
Forever Sky is available now:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bpX3U7
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bpXg9E