Crown Phoenix Tour with Alison DeLuca~Character Interview (Giveaway)

26 October 2012
I'd like to thank First Rule PR for seeting up this tour and also Alison for taking the time to stop by with the character interview!

My characters were all eager to be interviewed, and it was difficult to choose just one. Miriam, my main heroine, wanted to talk about how much she learned with Mana, her magical governess from the islands. Mana herself wanted to talk about the challenges of being a woman of color in the Edwardian era.

But Simon, who is a bit pushy, won out. I told him he had to talk about his relationships with Miriam and Mana, though.

AD: Hello, Simon. Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Simon: Hello. My full name is Simon Marchpane; dire, isn’t it? I don’t know what my parents were thinking. Of course, I don’t know why they do the things they do most of the time.

Before The Night Watchman train came along and I got involved with the mystery surrounding Miriam’s house, I went to Firbury College. My best friend there was Neil.

The other boys at Firbury used to tell me to drop Neil, since he is poor. Since they are all fearful snobs, I ignored them. I always do what I want to do, for the most part.

I’m good at sport, and I suppose you could say I have an eye for pretty girls. Well, I mean, who doesn’t?

AD: What did you think of Miriam when you first met her?

Simon: My parents are Miriam’s guardians. I was annoyed when they informed me that we had to go and stay in the country, at her house. Luckily she lives by the sea, and her house is quite large.

Still, when I first met her, I thought she was the most annoying, immature girl I’d ever met in my life. Not to mention, her hair is always in a mess. Those black curls of hers hang into her eyes, especially when she is interested in what she’s doing – writing a story, or talking to Mana. We fought all the time. Still do.

As an example, I would do something for her like sharpen a pencil, and she laid into me about it – said I’d made it too sharp or some such nonsense. Of course I avoided her after that – and then Barbara arrived.

AD: Oh, yes. Describe Barbara for us.

Simon: Barbara Cantwell is probably the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met in my life. She has long, red hair that curls and the tiniest waist imaginable. Her clothes are fantastic, especially the one dress that looks like peacock feathers. Her laugh, her voice, the way she walks – she is just simply perfect. Small wonder I was bowled over from the start.

It was only later that I discovered that there was much more to Barbara than met the eye. She was lovely on the surface, if you know what I mean, but underneath she… wasn’t.

AD: You mentioned Mana, Miriam’s governess. Do you get along with her?

Simon: Oh, yes! She’s amazing. I was shocked at first when I met her, since I never met anyone from the islands before. She’s beautiful too, like Barbara, but in a very different way. Mana is very dignified, I suppose you could say. She never shouts; in fact, I have never seen her get angry. Yet somehow she influences you to do your best, and not only with lessons.

Even Miriam began to shape up once Mana became her teacher. I noticed that her hair was neater, and she calmed down, too. I heard that she (Miriam, I mean) used to have the most dreadful tantrums. She threw a cricket ball at my father once and hit him in the leg.

Actually, I rather admire her for that.

AD: And what happened to Neil?

Simon: Didn’t I say? Neil came to stay at Miriam’s house with me, thank heavens. I was able to go off with him and stay away from my parents and Miriam. However, later the three of us – me, Neil, and Miriam - somehow became friends.

In fact, when Miriam and I were kidnapped and put on that horrible Night Watchman Express together, it was Neil who sorted us out. He may be poor, but he is a hero. Of course, I’d never say that to his face.

AD: Have you heard from Barbara since that happened?

Simon: She just disappeared. Still, I have the feeling that she will reappear. People like that always do.

The Night Watchman Express coverBook One – Crown Phoenix: Night Watchman Express

Miriam Pearson’s father has died. Her guardians, The Marchpanes, take over her house and her father’s company. The strong-willed girl instantly clashes with their son, Simon. The Marchpanes hire a governess, Mana, to take care of her. Mana is black, and has magic powers. She and Miriam eventually become friends. With Simon and Neil, his friend, they uncover a plot by the sinister Barbara Cantwell to use Miriam’s father’s company for evil means. Barbara is very beautiful, and at first, Simon is very attracted to her.

Once Barbara realizes that Miriam and Mana are on to her scheme, she forces the guardians to fire the governess. Mana is hustled out of the house by the Marchpanes, but Miriam, Neil and Simon follow her to the Night Watchman Express. However, Miriam and Simon are captured and put on the Night Watchman, bound for a sinister destination. Mana is loaded onto a boat headed to Big Star Island.

Neil manages to steal a boat and follow Mana’s captors to the island. A native girl, Riki, rescues him and brings him to her house. She is spoiled and her mother has no control over her, but Neil manages to become her friend. Her father forces him to stay with the family so Neil can be Riki’s companion and manage her wild behavior.

Neil learns about Atol, the king of the island, who seized power after the last monarch was killed. Atol is plotting with Barbara Cantwell to force the islands to produce drugs instead of bolemor wood, and he is also shipping his people out for use in human experiments. Neil discovers that Mana is the rightful queen of the island, and is being held by Atol. Neil and Riki manage to rescue Mana, and they head back to the mainland to look for Simon and Miriam.

Devil's Kitchen CoverBook Two – Crown Phoenix: The Devil's Kitchen

Miriam and Simon are imprisoned on the Night Watchman Express, heading for the Devil’s Kitchen. It is a huge, dirty factory where the prisoners process the drug imported from the island. Simon tries to fight the guards and is hauled away to a huge, strange house belonging to Barbara Cantwell.

Miriam is forced to live in a cell and work underground under the fearsome Headmistress and Headmaster, who run the factory. Meanwhile, Mana and Neil arrive and start searching for their friends.

Simon wakes up in Barbara’s house and undergoes torture. He manages to gain her trust by pretending to be on her side. Eventually he is rescued by Mana. Miriam is about to be punished by the Headmistress and Headmaster when Mana and Simon arrive and rescues her. Barbara tries to kill Mana but is foiled by Simon.
Mana regains her kindgdom, and Miriam regains her home and future control of her father’s business.



The Lamplighter's Special coverBook Three – Crown Phoenix: Lamplighter's Special

Miriam, Simon, Neil, and Riki reunite on Lampala for the summer holiday. They are happy to be together but wonder what has happened to Neil’s family.

Neil’s sisters, short-sighted Lizzie and beautiful Ninna, are forced to work in the Manor House to help take care of new guests.

The guest arrives, a lovely lady called Miss Wilkinsl. She and her brother have a mysterious obsession with the Crown Phoenix.

Lizzie meets Toby, the oldest son who cannot leave the attic. They become friends. Lizzie is also forced to work in Miss Cantwell’s rooms, where the dresser, Siddons, tortures her with violence and overwork. Siddons locks Lizzie in a room, and Toby finally emerges from his attic to rescue Lizzie.

Toby fixes The Crown Phoenix.They all board a ship called The Lamplighter’s Special and sail to the island. On the way, the typewriter works some strange magic and they arrive in a matter of hours instead of weeks.

Lizzie, Ninna, Toby and Priam discover there is a person hidden below deck in the boat.

Miss Cantwell takes the four children to the island and strands them there. They are rescued by Miriam, Neil, and Mana.

Miss Cantwell threatens to blow up the islands with the Crown Phoenix. She is captured. The rest return to the boat and head back to England, but Toby’s agoraphobia returns.

The links to Amazon will be up before the tour starts, but you can add it on Goodreads. This tour is a re-launched and newly edited version, cover design and newly formatted book series.

What Reviewers are saying -
“I really loved this book. It reminded me strongly of Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. (The Golden Compass etc.) The three main characters are likeable and believable as they struggle to understand the hidden perfidy of the adults in control of their lives. It's a great coming of age novel too. I'd recommend it to anyone who liked THE GOLDEN COMPASS and it's sequels, or Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle books. It has the same sense of magic, mystery and intrigue. Although there are occasional typos throughout, the story is so strong they are easy to get past. I devoured it in two long sittings..”

“It's very intriguing! I want to know more about Neil and why he's with these people. And who or what are the Marchpanes? Good set up and hook.”

“Alison DeLuca is a master storyteller who deserves much more recognition than she gets. I would not hesitate to recommend not only this book, but the entire series. This is Steampunk adventure at its best!”

“The story is told almost as if it were a fairy tale, but it has a gritty steampunk quality that makes it a perfect rainy weekend read. There is danger, there is darkness, and suspense; there is a serious good vs. evil plot. I found that I was thinking about the characters at the end, and wondering what was going to happen next. This story captured my interest from page one, and kept me reading all the way through it to the end. I enjoyed it immensely, and I am looking forward to reading more of DeLuca's work.”

- Amazon Reviews

…this is the type of story that will appeal to readers who enjoy immersing themselves in a fictional world. The pacing is slow, but the characters are bold. They almost seem to jump off the page and grasp you by the wrist so that you may live their lives alongside them….

“DeLuca writes in an enjoyable faux-Victorian voice, capturing the ‘prim and proper’ spirit of the times while simultaneously subtly critiquing conventions (for example, the Marchpane’s treatment of Mana, a black governess). Mostly, the style gives the novel both a lightness of touch and, when the voice is at its strongest, an authenticity.” From Doctor Fantastique’s Show of Wonders, Volume One, July 2011. Review by Sophie Playle

Alison DeLuca Author HeadshotAbout the Author

Alison DeLuca grew up on an organic farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Her parents were British, so in the summers she went to stay with her grandparents near Dublin.

There was no stereo or TV there, so Alison, her sister, and her cousins spent the summer inventing stories and plays for each other. “This gave me the ability to entertain myself with my own imagination in any situation,” she says. “We used to be taken to tea with great-aunts, and we were expected to sit on an uncomfortable couch and not move or say a word. It was possible to endure it because I was watching my own little stories play out in my mind.”

After graduating from West Chester University, Alison became a teacher of English and Spanish, teaching students from kindergarten up to college level. She loved teaching, and it was with reluctance that she left the classroom to be a fulltime mom when her daughter was born.

While she was teaching and raising her daughter, Alison took every free minute she had to write. The Night Watchman Express and The Crown Phoenix Series were the result.

She is currently working on the final book in the series, as well as several other projects.

You can find Alison here:

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  1. Thank you for having Alison today!

  1. Thank you so much for being part of the tour

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