Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Phoenix Book Interview and Giveaway

Book Interview and Giveaway:    Phoenix by A.J. Scudiere

Jason Mondy’s world is unraveling.
His seemingly secure job as a fire fighter is suddenly thrown into chaos.
The bright spot in his week is that he rescued two children from a house fire,
but he returns home that night to find all his furniture is missing.
His girlfriend has left him without warning and his nightmares keep him from sleeping.
Even just a simple trip home to find some rest leads his adoptive mother to sit him down
and tell him that maybe his troubles aren’t quite as innocuous as they seem.
Then she divulges a secret she’s kept for over twenty-six years . . .
Jason has a brother he doesn’t remember existed.
He doesn’t remember his life before he was adopted at age seven.
He only knows that he was rescued from the fire that took his birth mother’s life.
But the story is deeper than that, and the foundation on which he built his world is now cracking.
The brother he doesn’t remember it out there somewhere, left behind.
Armed with only this stunning new piece of information,
Jason embarks on a quest to find the truths buried deep in his past.
As he searches, one by one the pieces of his life fall like dominoes.
And the more he uncovers, the more everything he thought he knew
about himself and his past
begins to turn to ash.
His truth isn’t true at all . .

Biography of best-selling thriller author A.J. Scudiere

 It’s A.J.’s world. A strange place where patterns jump out and catch the eye, very
little is missed, and most of it can be recalled with a deep breath, it’s different from the
world the rest of us inhabit. But the rest of us can see it – when we read. In this world,
the smell of Florida takes three weeks to fully leave the senses and the air in Dallas is so
thick that the planes “sink” to the runways rather than actually landing.
For A.J., texture reigns supreme. Whether it’s air or blood or virus, it can be felt
and smelled. School is a privilege and two science degrees (a BA and MS) are mere pats
on the back compared to the prize of knowledge. Teaching is something done for fun
(and the illusion of a regular paycheck) and is rewarding at all levels, grade school
through college. No stranger to awards and national recognition for outstanding work as
a teacher, trainer and curriculum writer, like most true teachers, the real joy for A.J. is in
the “oh!” - the moment when the student sees the connection and it all makes sense.
A.J. has lived in Florida and Los Angeles among a handful of other places.
Recent whims have brought the dark writer to Tennessee, where home is a deceptively
normal looking neighborhood just outside Nashville.

Author Website
Follow A.J. on Twitter: @ajscudiere
or at Facebook:

 Scudiere's newest novel ‘Phoenix’ releases this fall, already earning burning hot reviews

The Lit Critic said of Scudiere, “She’s in the top five of my best writers list. I have a list of King,
Grisham, know, those guys. They are authors who you know will deliver.”

Readers are highly anticipating her upcoming novel Phoenix (October 2, 2012, Griffyn Ink), a
thrilling mystery featuring a firefighter on the hunt for the true cause of his brother’s death.

Book bloggers call it “a great fast-paced mystery with enough twists and turns in the plot to keep
the most avid reader hooked!”

My Book Review

This book is action packed, a bit of romance, and a lot of mystery, not only in the fire department, but police department and other state departments to get to the truth of the matter as to why a woman was murdered on her couch when 2 little boys were left to burn in the arson fire. Amazing how all the clues lead to them solving the mysteries as other mysteries arise.
I was first attracted to this book because the main character is a fire fighter. I am totally terrified of fire and for many years after my kids left home I would need to sleep with the light on so I could see down the hallway, in case of fire. Witnessed 2 fires in a mobile home, starting in wee hours of the morning. It's so terrifying. I love learning how the people do it, safeguard others in harms way.
Jason after having fought the house fire was back in his apartment, just woken up by the phone and noticing there's not much Kelly had left behind.
After struggling through one fire that leaves him with nightmares he heads home for a few days and is finally able to sleep. Problem is his mom informs him of her new job with child and family services. They adopted him after the fire in his apartment with his mother. They were not able to save her. He never knew of the other child, his brother.
With all that turmoil he also had job problems. He would have to qualify for a higher level of EMT to keep his job and maybe help others out in the firehouse to even have a job months down the road.
He's also got some leads on his brother, still not knowing if he lived or what his name is.
Gunman, cars on fire and screaming from him to the firemen to go get his brother still inside the building...
Although this is all taking place it's not hurried or too fast. You have time to take this all in. Never a dull moment between all that and his money and work problems. He does find out in time that the original fire was probably arson but that's not what others have told him. It's a surprise as to who was at the fire that night.
They meet with others involved and not sure what to do about opening a can or worms or to let the trail of finding his brother/dead or alive, stop there to protect others life's.
Deaths of fireman always brought them all down and they knew who was to blame.
The deeper they dig the more people are involved and it's looking like murder, arson and others who are now dead or have been threatened. Bigger and bigger case.
Love all the learning of the fire protocol when the firemen first come to a fire. So many things I learned.
Love how everything is linked together but you don't find out everything til the very end...

 Because this book is so good I went and bought several others of AJ's and they are just as good.


1. How did you do research for the firefighting parts?
Researching the firefighting was actually a lot of fun. I knew very little about actually firefighting work before I started looking into it. So I simply went down to my local volunteer station, showed them my previous books and explained that I needed help. They stepped right up and showed me all the equipment, sat me in the truck and answered some interview questions.
But I knew I needed more. So I called around and finally found the West Columbia Fire Department in South Carolina. They allowed me to live in the station house and ride along on all their calls for about a week. The men there were beyond helpful. They must have answered a thousand questions for me and told me so many great stories from best days to worst days to pranks they played on the police officers who had a station house just behind theirs.

2. How did you come up with this storyline, was it from an old unsolved case?
There are two main pieces to the story of Phoenix. The first is the underlying idea that I wanted the things that happen in the story to have a reason. Jason—the main character—was the victim of an apartment fire as a child, but it wasn’t a random happening. So I wanted to have a series of events that logically led to this. I wanted all the things that happen to Jason to be triggered by something that he did. I wanted his actions to come back to him.
          I also used the classic tale of Jason and the Argonauts as a base for the story. Readers who aren’t familiar with the original story won’t miss anything, but those who know the old story will see pieces of it. 

3. Future books you are looking forward to writing?
I have a handful of books lined up for the future!
I have currently written four chapters of my fifth book—INERTIA. It’s a sci-fi meets ‘The Firm’ kind of story.
After that, I’ll be writing JUSTICE, the sequel to my second novel VENGEANCE.

4. What was your favorite scene to write?
That’s a hard call!
There were some really dramatic scenes—and I get caught up in those, writing furiously until I can finally say I got it written.
But there are also a handful of funny scenes in PHOENIX, too. In one scene, the Southfield Fire Department plays a prank on a new member, and in another the firefighters answer a call at a lingerie shop and deal with plastics melting and things exploding. The second scene didn’t make the editing cut, but both are available in my blog, Smart Chickens (, as excerpts.

6. What do you do to relax? Read, hike, shop, eat, cook?
I love to cook when I have the time, and I consider myself an amateur gourmet. I have a friend with a culinary degree and she gets a lot of calls from me!
I also have 2 kids, 3 dogs and 2 cats, so I have plenty to occupy my days and lots of playmates for some time in the yard.

7. What other authors/genre can we find you reading?
I’m a voracious reader—up to 150 books a year! A lot of fiction, and medical non-fiction, too. Some recent favorites are Guns, Germs and Steel and Freakonomics, both of which I finally got around to reading.


Giveaway for: Two signed copies of Phoenix, 2 Phoenix hats (2 winners total)
*Entrants must Follow A.J. on Twitter, Facebook and leave a comment for A.J. on this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Other book giveaways


j. barrett said...

I found it very hard to put this book down and after I went and bought several of AJ's other books because they not only kept my interest but I learned new things and there was travel involved. Thanks

Courtney Diles said...

Thanks for the recommendation! Though I'll admit - that entire list of giveaways is very distracting! I found you through twitter - happy to be following!

j. barrett said...

Hi, with only 27 followers I have to join blog hops to get people over here to read the giveaway details, hope you enter this one book and hat giveaway. welcome to the site.

Ironic Lady (BookSpark) said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Phoenix, Julie. I'm part of the blog tour too, and I must admit I didn't find it as attention-grabbing as I thought I would. Sigh. I loved reading your review and the wonderful interview though!

Donna said...

question to the author: What inspires you to write?

eclairre said...

Do you ever find you have writer's block? How do you get around that?

Sharon Martin said...

Thanks for the info, loved the interview, I haven't read this book yet. Thanks for popping over to our weekly book blog hop this week xx

nrlymrtl said...

I read the author's book Resonance earlier this year and it is cool to see this author still producing AND have a totally different subject. I think it would be interesting to see how she tackles a different genre.

50437 said...

Could you publish your first first ever writing ?

A.J. Scudiere said...

Donna - I'm inspired by many different things. My first book--RESONANCE--came about after I read a scientific paper (of all things!) It was a Harvard theory of how the earth's poles change, and suddenly, the whole story was in my head.
My third book--GOD'S EYE--started as a dream, and PHOENIX came about because I wanted to tell a story where nothing happened that the main character didn't trigger himself.
The fifth book, INERTIA, has no beginning that I can remember. It was always just 'there' . . .


A.J. Scudiere said...

Eclairre -
I have writer's block all the time! Sometimes it's big and sometimes it's small.
What I've learned to do is never let it actually stop me from writing or at least from the task of writing.

So when I get stuck, I go lie in my bed and think. I tell my family I'm 'plotting' (my husband is convinced I'm napping!) But I usually work out enough that I can come back and write more.

I think the trick is to NOT go do something else because you don't know what to write.


A.J. Scudiere said...

nrlymrtl -
Thank you so much for comment! I love to write in different fields. Though I stick to suspense, I do genre-hop a bit in there.
If you are interested, GOD'S EYE, my third book is a bit off the beaten path, and certainly different from PHOENIX!
Let me know what you think.

A.J. Scudiere said...

50437 -
I don't think I could publish the first one . . .
I love to read it and think about how I've grown. I cringe a little at certain parts. (I don't do that with my first published book, RESONANCE . . . thank goodness!)
I would have to re-write that first one entirely to get it published and it's so far out of this genre, that I don't know who would publish it!
I picked that story to practice with because it was one I liked but was pretty sure would never see the light of day!