I featured author Alison DeLuca and the Crown Phoenix series on the blog back in June and I'm excited to have her back as part of her fabulous tour run by First Rule Publicity. Alison's books have beautiful new covers so we are showing off a bit plus she has a HUGE giveaway for a new Kindle Fire HD and other prizes. There is so much going on with this tour that it simply cannot be contained in one post. Please visit the Crown Phoenix Tour Page to see all the tour stops, read the full book descriptions, and see pictures of the giveaway prizes.
Today Alison stops by to talk about her childhood and share an excerpt from the third book in the Crown Phoenix series, Lamplighter's Special. For excerpts from Night Watchman Express and The Devil's Kitchen check out this post.
Alison DeLuca, the Early Years
My childhood was rather unique, I suppose. For one thing, our family did a lot of packing up and moving. There was a series of years where I went to a new school every September, which is pure torture for an introverted child.
To add to that, my parents were both born overseas. My mother grew up in Ireland and my father in England. They took us to visit their parents every summer (more packing up and moving) so my sister and I developed British accents. We kept them until they were well and truly teased out of us in middle school.
The unsettled life was a curse and a blessing. I’m fluent in American English and Britspeak, a godsend for an editor and a writer who sets novels in England. However, I never developed that one special setting – the one place where my books can take place, the village or town that I know inside and out, like Stephen King’s Maine or JK Rowling’s London.
With all the school hopping and teasing, our grandmother’s house near Dublin was something of a refuge. My sister and I played with our cousins and were spoiled by our grandparents. They didn’t own a television, only an old-fashioned radio that we were allowed to listen . For entertainment, my sister and I had to make up our own games. We put on plays for each other, pretending to be explorers and princesses on the long, smooth lawn that extended to the rocky, frigid Irish sea.
There weren’t any toys except for our grandfather’s Barbies (he couldn’t resist buying them, and they were kept on the top shelf of his closet – never, ever to be played with.) Instead, we created ballerina dolls from fuschia blossoms and matchsticks.
In those days Dun Laoghoire was very safe, and we were allowed to explore on our own. There was a tiny park filled with what we called secret passages – little paths that led to park benches and miniature circles of grass. Alas, that park is a haven for addicts now.
Our grandmother’s house itself was a divine portal to another world. There were forgotten doors and creaking floors. The house wasn’t very comfortable – the loo was miniscule and very, very cold. Ivy grew all over the walls and covered the windows. In the room where my sister and I slept, the leaves had succeeded in pushing right in through the antique, wavy glass panes.
The windows themselves were set very close to the ground and had deep sills. It was a perfect place to escape with a book and a Crunchie bar. While I stayed there, I discovered the delights of Enid Blyton and Angela Brazil – authors hopelessly behind the times, but fascinating to my ten-year-old self.
Certainly those summers were very influential in my writing. That old house still haunts my dreams, even though the ivy is stripped from the walls and the lawn has been “landscaped.” The old Barbies were discovered and played with – the tiny shoes lost, the careful hairdos destroyed. My old books had to go in the bin. Saddest of all, we had to say goodbye to our grandparents.
They live on, however, in my mind and, to some extent, in the books I write.
Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books. She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.
Check out Alison's full bio.
Connect with Alison on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, and her Blog.
Excerpt from Crown Phoenix: Lamplighter's Special
The Manor where Squire Bisselthwaite lived was in the center of Grimstead Compound. The thirteen farms that made up the rest of the Compound fanned out from the large, old house. Most of the fields touched the edge of the Manor grounds at their narrowest points, although all the farms were separated from the Bisselthwaite property by a dark, crumbling wall.
As Lizzie and her family rode through the huge, rusted iron gates set into the stones, she glanced up at the rooftops of the Manor. Her hat slipped down her neck, and she clapped one hand to hold it on as she squinted up at the dark front of the house.
There was a rather grand entrance, but of course the carriage took the family to the back of the house to the kitchen gardens. As the cart jostled over the pebbly drive, Ninna murmured in Lizzie’s ear, “Did you see that?” She pointed up to one of the windows on the third or fourth floor.
“What?” Lizzie squinted again. It was all a gray blur to her.
“Oh, nothing. Just thought I saw a face in one of the windows upstairs.”
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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.