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From This Breaking Point

Tayvia Pierce
Tayvia Pierce Author Interview

The Twisting Flame follows Carys who faces unimaginable horrors as she fights corruption, gets abducted, and gets taken to Azkaelom where she’s pushed to the limits of her strength. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Initially, it began with a fascination with “What makes a villain tick?” The idea of “good guys” and “bad guys” became fascinating the more I realized that everyone (the best heroes and the greatest villains) all believe they are the ones doing the right thing, but..what IS the right thing, really? It’s all about the lens you view events through. The Rise of The Phoenix series explores the many perspectives of good versus evil, and that it’s not always so easy to know which is which.

The basic idea of the inter-relationships and conflict between Daon, Malik, Barak, and Eilam was suggested by my Muse years ago as an interesting dynamic that we found interesting, and finally I couldn’t help but wonder “What if we tossed an enterprising and clever young aristocrat from the opposite side into the mix?” I knew I had to write that series, and it quickly took on a life of its own, and in ways I didn’t expect!

“A Single Spark” (Book 1) showed the foundations of her belief system and family dynamics. The adage “history is written by the victors” comes into play in “The Twisting Flame” (Book 2). It’s only when she is brought to the point of mentally and emotionally breaking, only then fully introduced to the truths of the other side. From this breaking point, she begins to grow into a new version of herself, hence the symbolism of the Phoenix.

Carys is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted a strong female character who was no damsel in distress, but rather, someone who could be feminine and yet on equal footing as the men in the story. Yes, she needs saving on occasion, but not so much in the way that many females are portrayed. I love diving into Carys’s mind and watching her grow and change as the story goes on. She is learning so much, growing more clever, resourceful, and independent. Is it strange to say she is someone I admire, despite her faults? Watching the belief system that she has always accepted as “truth” completely unravel was thrilling as she was introduced to new ways of thinking, seeing both sides, and having the ability to make the choice which truth she wished to support.

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

I’m not sure how to answer that without saying “All of them!” I really wanted to explore how villains are created, but more than that, how there isn’t really “Good vs Evil” as much as “People of one belief vs People of another.” It’s also a story about courage and finding one’s purpose and destiny, love and family, loyalty and perseverance. At its heart, it’s about truth, but not like you might think. The truth of one person is not the truth of another, but if that’s the case, what is truth? It’s about seeing both sides and then discovering which truth you support for yourself.

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

I am working on “The Crimson Blaze”, Book 3 in the Rise of the Phoenix series. It will hopefully be available by summer, 2023! It continues Carys’s journey as she strikes out on her own after sending her family into hiding, and is determined to rescue Barak while trying to stay hidden from those who seek to use her for their own ends.

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In “The Twisting Flame”, Carys must survive unimaginable horrors as she fights the corruption of the enemy. Abducted by a mysterious and brutal stranger, Carys is taken to Azkaelom and pushed to the very limits of her strength and endurance as she longs for freedom and fights for her very survival. As she faces the Lord of Azkaelom, she begins to understand the truth behind her abduction and comprehend the significance of the storm she must endure.
In “A Single Spark”, Lady Carys and her family were forced to abandon their aristocratic life in Taurova, creating a new life in the western land of Lund. They quickly became the target of dangerous people, and Carys was finally forced to hire the mysterious Ben to help protect them. As their friendship blossomed into more and her family’s circumstances began to spiral, she no longer knew whom she can trust. When the unthinkable occurred and everything she believed was ripped away, it was too late — she had been caught in the dark net of their enemies.

“The Twisting Flame” is a masterful work of fiction and as the sequel in the Rise of the Phoenix Series, it shares an exciting story that readers of fantasy will love.

“I longed to be the woman I had once been, ignorant and foolish, but there is no going back…The spark that had flashed to life had become a flame, twisting my fate into its own form and life as I knew it was over.” – Carys

The Twisting Flame

The Twisting Flame: Rise of the Phoenix Book 2 by [Tayvia Pierce]

The Twisting Flame follows Carys after her family was forced to leave their comfortable aristocratic life for their own safety. With the kidnapping and return of her sister, Carys struggles with learning who she can trust which leads to her own kidnapping that opens The Twisting Flame. Carys endures brutal treatment from her kidnapper as she gradually learns more and more about who she is and what lies in wait for her destiny. Will she make it home? And what of her kidnapper?

This fantasy story feels very much like Game of Thrones meets Lord of the Rings; combining the epic fantasy feel of Lord of the Rings and the human drama and intrigue of Game of Thrones. There is a vast universe that we are introduced to, although from a very unfortunate lens of Carys’ point of view. There is also enough twists and turns to keep readers intrigued throughout the story. As someone who has been subjected to assault in the past, there were some pages that were troubling to read. However, the author does a good job in incorporating troubling topics into the story without feeling purposeless. Readers are able to identify with Carys’ struggle throughout the story. Despite this being a fantasy story, I feel as if Carys is incredibly relatable to women everywhere because of what she endured in the story, and how the author conveys the emotions that go along with that is so authentic and stirring. I also believe that Pierce does an excellent job setting up the ending of this book to lead into the third book in the series, The Crimson BlazeWhat Carys went through is part of what builds up her character for the third book in the series and I’m eager to see how her storyline plays out.

The Twisting Flame is an impassioned epic fantasy novel that tells a retable human story against the backdrop of a deep and complex world that I can’t wait to explore more of. 

Pages: 348 | ASIN: B094C297VC

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