Today I am so pleased to welcome R. Phoenix to Joyfully Jay. She has come to talk to us about her latest release, Temper: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
“R Phoenix has mastered the craft of creating a monster. Elias is a man to hate, to let your deepest rage take hold and your demand for justice to consume you.”
– SW and BK; Amazon Review
When you’re told you write a good villain, there’s this moment of… Well, fuck. Do I thank them or wonder about the state of my sanity? (Or both, at the same time?) Do I have to think like a villain to write one? Is there a part of me that identifies so strongly with the antagonist that I’m able to portray him properly? Or is it just observation and luck? I’m never particularly sure.
Luckily, there are other authors who have expressed it better than I can; one of them happens to be a favorite of mine.
“Don’t be so simple. People adore monsters. They fill their songs and stories with them. They define themselves in relation to them. You know what a monster is, young shade? Power. Power and choice. Monsters make choices. Monsters shape the world. Monsters force us to become stronger, smarter, better. They sift the weak from the strong and provide a forge for the steeling of souls. Even as we curse monsters, we admire them. Seek to become them, in some ways… There are far, far worse things to be than a monster.” Jim Butcher, Ghost Story
So yup. I said it. Elias Ivers, scourge of the Ripples in the Status Quo world, is my darling. He’s my baby. He’s one of the most fun characters to write and have others write against. The way he thinks about the world and other people is so contradictory to how others do that he’s just… different.
How can he be your favorite? People ask me that question when I admit he’s my favorite. It’s because without evil, there can be no good. Without ambition, there would be only complacency. Without villains, there could be no heroes. We would live in a world where everything was perfect, and there would be no struggle to comprise the story. And that’s what this is all about: the story. He drives plot in a way no one else does; the most recent tagline for the series is:
“From light to grey to dark, follow those who test and defy the status quo’s subjugation of humans. In a world where the supernatural reign supreme, only love can set off the ripples that could change this depraved world for the better. But will the cost be too high?”
If no one enforces those laws, the story is rendered moot. Without Elias or another character like him, how would anything move? What would my characters truly have to work against?
What would–hmm…–my underdogs do without a big dog to fight?
Villains–monsters–define the world. What we do with them is up to us. I choose to let mine have his place and remind those around him that the stakes are very, very high. There’s no room for error, not in this world.
Not when someone like Elias Ivers is hovering nearby, prepared to rid the world of anyone who might get in his way…
Here are some other things people have said about my darling in Amazon reviews:
“Elias was my favorite, he was so delightfully wicked.” – Ana
“And Elias, I somehow envy and detest.” – Patricia S.
“We hate Elias. Like HATE HATE. Like if he was on fire and I had a glass of water, I’d drink it.” – DiverseReader
“I really love it when an author can make me despise a character. R. Phoenix excelled in this endeavor. I don’t think I have loathed a character before, but I loathe Elias Ivers.” – QUEERcentric Books
“[Elias] is a cruel, sadistic, bastard!!!!!” – Leah
“Hopefully [Elias] will get what he deserves in a future book.” – maggie23
All of these reactions tell me one thing: I’ve managed, as an author, to get beneath your skin. I’ve managed to get you to hate a character so intensely that you mention him in a review, that you wish terrible things upon him, that you express to me in and out of reviews how much you loathe him. (And I’m totally not cackling in amusement the entire time.)
I’ll leave you with one more quote to ponder, just so you can thoroughly appreciate the evil that comes from being an author…
“Authors write books for one, and only one, reason: because we like to torture people. Now, actual torture is frowned upon in civilized society. Fortunately, the authorial community has discovered in storytelling an even more powerful—and more fulfilling—means of causing agony in others. We write stories. And by doing so, we engage in a perfectly legal method of doing all kinds of mean and terrible things to our readers. Take, for instance, the word I used above. Propondidty. There is no such word—I made it up. Why? Because it amused me to think of thousands of readers looking up a cromulent word in their dictionaries.” Brandon Sanderson, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The vampire crouched down before Ash, gently urging him into a half-seated position. She rested her finger over her parted lips again, dragging the tip of it down over a partially visible fang. A bead of blood welled up there, though the wound that had caused it was already gone. “Here you are,” she cooed. Her eyes glittered, shifting to Reese as she painted her lips red with her own blood. “Kiss me, little lamb, and heal.”
Reese saw Ash’s eyes widen as he looked up, and Reese’s blood boiled in his veins. The idea of letting this woman—this vampire, this creature, this madwoman—touch Ash after what he’d been through was inconceivable.
“He’s mine,” Reese snarled, but when he went to take a step towards Desideria, she disappeared. Before he could even comprehend what had happened, the vampire had pinned him against the wall, her breasts flush with his chest.
“You came to me for help,” the vampire chided, her voice soft, lilting with each syllable. Behind her, he could see the witch—still relaxed, still languidly seated, with a lazy smile hovering on his lips. “Do you deny it now, goose?”
“Then hush,” she whispered, and this time her finger drew a line across his mouth. As it did, a searing pain spread across his lips, and it took him a moment to understand what was happening. He fought against her touch, but she held him in place with ease. Despite her slight body, she had an iron-tight, bruising grip on his wrist. “Shh.”
The seam between his lips vanished, the skin spreading until there was nothing there but a solid expanse of skin from nose to chin. “Next time you interrupt me,” she chided, her voice turning playful again, “I’ll remove the eyes.”
Only one thing can keep Ashton safe from the supernatural predators who made the world into their depraved, twisted playground after the Takeover—but it’s the one thing that would steal the last remnants of his freedom. At every turn, society confronts Reese and Ashton with the way humans are treated as mere playthings to be used and discarded. When they realize their own desires and pride have no place in the status quo, Ashton and his werewolf lover understand they’ll have to engage in the deadly games played by those in charge if they want to make a difference.
But Reese isn’t a diplomat, and Ash is only human. Together, they must decide if they’re willing to work with the devil they know in what might change everything or rely on their consciences in a world that has no place for kindness or honor… and if they’re ready to sacrifice everything along the way.
R. Phoenix has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes that love can corrupt and power can redeem. Her muse is a sadomasochistic slave driver who thinks it’s terribly amusing to give her the best ideas when she just got comfortable and warm in bed, and she passes on that torture to her readers.
If she had it her way, she would describe the books in her “Ripples in the Status Quo” world as: “Supernatural creatures take over the world and turn humans into pets and food. There’s some sex between guys. And… um… effed up things happen.” It’s probably a good thing she has people around her to remind her that she actually wants people to read her books. (They should really be more diligent, especially when they know she’s writing her author bio.)
She’s an author, stay-at-home mother, housewife, second time college student, and duck herder extraordinaire. She’s learning how to cook without burning the house down, her garden is somehow neither drowning nor drying up, and one day she might remember what that mythical thing called “free time” is. She’s starting to wonder who thought it was a good idea to write bios in third person.
She also tries entirely too hard to be funny, and she mercilessly inflicts her terrible sense of humor upon anyone who speaks to her. Really, it’s not you. It’s her. All the same, she’d love it if you’d say hello, because it makes her day to hear that someone read something she wrote. If they enjoyed it, there’s usually an awkward happy dance and embarrassing sounds of joy to accompany it (no, not that kind of sound, you perv). If all of that hasn’t scared you away, please visit her website at http://rphoenix.theupsideis.com/.
R. Phoenix has brought a $25 Amazong gift card and a copy of Collision [Ripples in the Status Quo Books 2-4] to give away to one lucky reader on the tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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