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Death and Rebirth

Efthalia Author Interview

Phoenix: The Rise follows a demi-god and a vampire who are struggling to defeat a powerful enemy while protecting humanity and trying to get married. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The set up was established way back in book one and this was just a natural progression of where and how I wanted the characters to evolve. I also wanted them to experience a level of drama that the reader could relate to.

Carissa and Xen are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

As writers, we often talk about character types, and I always come back to trying to make them as three-dimensional as I can, and for that, there needs to be interaction, reflection, and some form of decision making. It is through the reflection stage that we can dive just a little bit deeper to see what they are made of, and it is at that point where we can either sympathize or feel their anger, joy and other emotions. It is how we make a connection with them. Sometimes that can be a hit-and-miss situation, and I am always biting my nails and hoping I got it right. 😊

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Death and rebirth. I hate to say it, but I had to kill one of my darlings. It was time. Another theme was the magical element of Carissa’s power. I wanted to explore a little more of that and the danger of having such a gift. And of course a big battle scene, that encompasses the theme of good vs evil. No story is complete without one of those.

This is book three in your Phi Athanatoi series. Do you have plans for book four?

Book four is Kane’s story, so we get to see what makes him tick. The gods are also present, and of course there will be a little of Carissa Xen in the story too. Sadly, that will not be released till early 2024, but things do change. I am currently working on a new three book series, The Willow Witch Chronicles. Book one is scheduled for release in November and is already up for pre-order. There’s more information on my website.

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She wants justice. He wants to make things official. But for a demi-god and vampire there are bigger battles.
Demi-god Carissa Alkippes has fought her equal share of demons and Olympian gods, when one battle ends another begins. Only this one may destroy the thin veil between supernatural creatures, gods and humans. To make things worse Zeus offers her a ‘get in and out of Olympus’ card, which paints a dangerous target on her back. Now she must get a handle on her power.
With new enemies hunting her down, Carissa must use everything she knows to protect those she loves from being collateral damage.
Xen Lyson, has seen much in his immortal life and walking Carissa down the aisle is at the top of his vampire list, but when an ancient libation bowl turns up, so does Discord and Death.
Now they have fight not only to protect humanity, but themselves too. Will they defeat their enemies in time to tie-the-knot?

ThePhi Athanatoi is a paranormal, fantasy romance series featuring; vampires, werewolves, witches and Greek gods. If you love stories with strong heroines, adrenaline-filled drama, prophecies, Greek mythology and immortal warriors, then you’ll love the Phi Athanatoi.

Phoenix: The Rise (Phi Athanatoi Book 3)

Carissa Alkippes is a demi-god, daughter of greek god, Ares. She is unable to control her powers but is learning to get a better grip on it. Being a demi-god can be dangerous, but has its wonderful moments (such as having cool powers and visiting the home of the gods, Olympus). Having danger around every corner means Carissa’s loved ones are in danger. She is determined to keep her grandmother and Aunt Paula, as well as mankind, safe from the darker things that lurk in the shadows. Along with her close friends, and mated vampire Xen Lyson, she fights the creatures most people have nightmares of.

Carissa is a strong and well thought out character that I loved following. She is put in situations that most people would not be comfortable with, as we expect with action packed paranormal novels, but what I enjoyed most about her character was how she thrived in those situations and how she handled them. This made her character a compelling protagonist to follow and one readers will easily enjoy following over a long series.

Xen Lyson and Carissa share a telepathic bond that gives their relationship an intriguing depth. Though they are placed in tough situations, the couple’s relationship doesn’t waiver which, to me, makes this novel stand out from other paranormal romance novels where the couple in the story often, and easily, struggle with this kind of stuff. In this novel author Efthalia has transcended that issue and taken her characters relationship to a new level.

Adam and Kane, Xen’s friends and colleagues, are also interesting to read about because they keep the story light and entertaining, which is welcome in a novel that is dramatic and emotional. The scenes about Greek gods add a fascinating layer of complexity to the story. The unique feel the author is able to imbue in her story with the creative use of mythology is something that kept me coming back to this novel again and again. While I enjoyed this rousing paranormal action novel I would have liked to have seen the characters challenged a bit more in the fighting scenes. The action scenes were fun, but I wanted to feel the danger a bit more.

Phoenix: The Rise is a gripping urban fantasy novel with alluring characters and a story that feels deep and meaningful. Well written and surprisingly deep, this is a great read and a fantastic addition to a spellbinding series.

Pages: 342 | ASIN: B09GKVX173

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A Victim of Circumstances

Arti Chugpai Author Interview

Arti Chugpai Author Interview

Phoenix tells the story of Sonam and her trials and tribulations as she builds her life as a woman in India. What was your inspiration for this heart-felt novel?

I have been inspired by experience and observation. My family background has been similar, and I have closely observed the lives of urban well-educated women in India. Despite a progressive education and multifaceted skills, they are expected to conform to obsolete family norms and not allowed to make life choices. This is especially true for the year 1983, when the protagonist Sonam wants to extricate herself from an abusive marriage. Indian society then was full of paradoxes: on one hand was the evolution of a knowledge society and unprecedented technological advancement and on the other deeply entrenched dogmatic beliefs in gender stereotypes. Instead of sympathising with a woman who was a victim of circumstances, her family and friends blamed her for her misfortunes and ostracised her.

I felt that this novel confronted gender stereotypes in a bold way. What themes did you want to capture while writing this book?

I have always felt strongly about the unequal playing field provided to women, even in the educated elite class, and the perception that they are appendages to male family members, whether father, brother or husband. Why should women be accorded respect only if they have empathetic men to battle for them? This discrimination is especially difficult to combat since one is pushing against one’s parents and closest family members whom one loves and respects. Through this novel, I wanted to highlight the need to cherish and support daughters as individuals regardless of the presence and status of their life partners.

I felt that Sonam was a multilayered character that was judged by her failings rather than her success. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?

While her parents despair of what will happen to Sonam after she leaves her husband and judge her by her failure in relationship, she demonstrates exceptional skills and shines in her workplace as an achiever. Her personality growth from 1983 to 2017 despite all odds illustrates the triumph of the spirit over ostracism, bigotry, negativity and injustice. She is rejuvenated from the ashes, just like the mythical bird, phoenix.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

My next book, tentatively titled ‘A Journey Within’ has a very different story though it also deals with women’s issues. The lives of 16 Indian women of varying age groups intersect when they go on an all-women’s trip to Spain and Portugal. As events unfold during and after the trip, each of them reaches a realization that changes her life forever.

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Phoenix by [Chugpai, Arti]

Caught in an abusive marriage, Sonam Aggarwal finds no family support when she struggles to break free. However, with unwavering grit, she makes a place for herself in the world and rises like a phoenix from the ashes of her dead marriage to discover true companionship and professional success. 

The evolution of a knowledge society in India that places a premium on human knowledge and skills regardless of gender finally bequeaths her a coveted place in the sun. The novel focuses on the core strength of a woman that asserts her value despite external trappings and women characters who go through their individual struggle with the inevitable challenges that threaten their existence. 

Phoenix, a novel, traces the life of Sonam and her upper class family in South Delhi from 1983 to 2017. It highlights the curious paradoxes in Indian society: its global leadership in digitalization contrasted with antiquated prejudices and gender stereotypes.

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Phoenix, written by Arti Chugpai, tells the story of Sonam Aggarwal and her trials and tribulations as she builds her life as a woman in India. Sonam is a complex character with beautiful soul, intelligence and integrity. Her presence demands authority, and as the Director of Publishing for a branch in India, she has certainly earned respect and accolades. However, there is a part of her that is broken by a moment in her life that she explicitly calls “The Betrayal”. Her family and friends judge her by her relationship failings rather than her career successes, leaving Sonam feeling lost and alone. Will Sonam be able to rise above the stereotypes and convictions of her family and friends to find true happiness?

Phoenix is a novel based on love, life and conforming to gender stereotypes. It’s the year 1998, and there’s a budding romance growing between a middle-aged business tycoon by the name of Kunal Vats and the main leading lady, Sonam Aggarwals. Set in India, Phoenix explores Sonan Aggarwal’s life through her ever-changing family, relationships, career aspirations and friendships.

The story then flits between two different eras of Sonam Aggarwal’s life, one part telling her life as it is in 2017 and the other turning back the clock to the year 1998. It’s here we learn about her life and the changing family dynamics and reoccurring expectations that seem to haunt Sonam, no matter how old her or her family members are.

It was refreshing to read a novel based on someone who is aged between their 40’s-60’s. Most modern love stories center around young adults in their twenties and Phoenix was a gentle reminder that age is no barrier when it comes to pursuing love and happiness. I enjoyed the sense of realism as the characters experienced a love that did not always result in happy endings. Instead, Phoenix dove deep into a raw and personal kind of love, where abuse, betrayal and forgiveness are all prominent players in the relationship game.

Phoenix also explores the events of Sonam’s life so thoroughly that at times you feel as though you are almost reading a biography of a real person. The novel also went into depth to showcase some of India’s culture, including foods, family life and working conditions. Arti Chugpai’s style of writing is confident and expressive, using strong descriptive words and phrases to demonstrate their points within the plot line. Fitting, considering the main character Sonam is a publisher herself.

Phoenix also brings to light the society changes and gender differences in India, and how things change over a period of time. It shows the difference in expectations between men and women, especially when it comes to love and relationships. Women are considered to be successful if they maintain a healthy, happy family, with their career aspirations and achievements often shadowed by the relationship, falls they have had in their life.

I would recommend this for anyone looking for a novel about budding romance, rising above the gender stereotypes and Indian culture.

Pages: 232 | ISBN: 1543701043

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