Now having just signed a book deal with Putnam, Elizabeth Richards talks to Goths and Goggles about 'Twilight', 'Within Temptation' and her upcoming debut novel, 'Black City'.
Firstly we here at Goths and Goggles would like to congratulate you on your
This must be a really exciting time for you, how long have you been dreaming of this?
I've wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child. I remember being in middle school and being asked to write a short story about a trip to a desert island. It was only meant to be 250 words long, but needless to say my story ran over 800 words (that was practically a novel for a nine-year old). I just couldn't stop writing, I completely loved it and I knew then that writing was something I wanted to do.
In high school, I decided to take it more seriously, so rather than doing my homework during study period, I
would write novels and scripts instead. One of my earliest attempts was a terrible Romance novel called
'Love on a Ranch' (I was a horny teenager,don't judge me), and a film script which eventually secured me a place at university.
After graduating I went into journalism, which I enjoyed and it kept me distracted, but I always felt something was missing. It was about 3-4 years ago I made the conscious decision to write a young adult book and try to
get it published. It's been a tough few years, but also some of the best of my life.
So, tell us about “Black City”?
Black City is the first in a trilogy called the Black City Chronicles, published by Putnam, Penguin and is due out in North America in August 2012. It's a dystopian fantasy with a steampunk edge, and is aimed at young adults.
Here's some blurb:
Deep in the heartland of the United Sentry States are the burning ruins of the Black City, a melting pot
simmering with hostility as humans and Darklings struggle to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a
brutal and bloody war. A wall now divides the city separating the two races. Trapped on the wrong side of the wall is sixteen-year-old hustler Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling who’ll do whatever it takes to survive, including
selling his addictive venom ‘Haze’ to help support his dying mother.
Then there’s Natalie Buchanan, the daughter of the Sentry Emissary, who feels imprisoned by her life of privilege and fame. When their paths cross, they instantly detest each other but Ash is shocked when his once still heart starts to beat. Bonded by a mysterious connection, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed. Then Haze users start
dying all over the city and Ash discovers the terrible truth behind his and Natalie’s mystical connection. Suddenly, city walls and the threat of execution become the least of their problems.
What made you go for a dystopian vibe?
I've always been drawn to dystopian books, so it made sense to me that I'd write a dystopian fantasy one day, but funnily enough Black City didn't start out as a dystopian fantasy. The very first draft of the book (originally titled CRAVING) was an urban fantasy set in England. But as I redrafted the book, I found I was adding more and more dystopian elements to it. Then based on agent feedback, I decided to completely take it back to the
drawing board and make it full-on dystopian, as I wanted it to stand out from other YA vampire novels on the market, like Twilight.
I'm so glad I did, as the book suddenly came to life. There was more peril, more drama, more conflict. I just loved the world, and it really deepened Ash and Natalie's charactisation.
The whole Dark Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genre seems to have exploded in recent years, why do you think its become so popular?
One word: Twilight. I think Stephenie Meyer just captured the imagination of a generation, and the success of the Twilight Saga made publishers more willing to buy these types of books, and authors more willing to write them.
What gets you in the mood and inspires you to write?
As someone who is drawn to the paranormal and strange, my most creative time of year is autumn. I simply love autumn nights, which are spooky and magical, especially in the build-up to Halloween. It's my favourite time of year and it just awakens me creatively. I always start my new books at this time of year, and it's no
I also get inspired by songs, especially by bands like Within Temptation. The lyrics and emotion of their music sends me to a different world!
And last but by no means least...
What's the weirdest song you've ever listened too?
Hocus Pocus by Focus.
Thanks for turning me on to that one!