S. R. Breaker
The Secret of the Phoenix: An Epic Fantasy Romance (The Complete Phoenix Series)
Sara lives in New Zealand (AKA Middle Earth) with her husband and five-year-old twin boys. When she's not chasing her kids around or cleaning the house, she writes YA books under her pen name: S. R. Breaker. Her tales are offbeat, quirky, easy reading teen/young adult science fiction and fantasy!
What drives you to write?
I’ve always loved to write. Writing for me, much like reading, gives me an opportunity to live different lives. I’m deeply committed to happy endings because I think everyone needs an escape—specifically, one that leaves you feeling so good, you’ll be virtually bulletproof from the harshness of reality for the rest of the day.
What is this week’s featured book about? Tell us a little about it!
This week’s feature is The Secret of the Phoenix, a second-world YA epic fantasy romance about a teenage girl who gets magically sent to a mysterious other-worldly land. It’s a classic fantasy adventure story inspired by Japanese animation, with damsels in distress, knights in shining armor, star-crossed love, and a mystical medieval land entangled in a heavy mech war. I've always loved the enigmatic and ominous nature of the storylines and settings that are ubiquitous in anime. It always made me want more. I wrote this series in an attempt to capture that essence in writing.
P.S. This series boxed set is only 99c this week!
Describe your perfect book boyfriend:
Obviously, he needs to be hot, of course. I don’t even mind if he knows he’s hot as long as he knows he’s the only one for the girl. And I’m quite a big nerd so my perfect book boyfriend has to be super smart. He doesn’t have to be a billionaire but should be able to support himself. He can drive. He’s a great cook. He’s a closet sentimental. He loves music. Bonus points if he plays guitar.
"Writing for me, much like reading, gives me an opportunity to live different lives. I’m deeply committed to happy endings..."
What are your all-time favorite tropes? What are your least favorite ones?
My absolute favorite trope is enemies-to-lovers! I’ll take snarky banter, funny back-and-forths with loads of subtext, opposites attract, and self-denied attractions that end with the couple happily together any day of the week.
My least favorites are the darker/bully/gloomy ones. Even with my Steampunk/Sci-fi series Selfless which is partly dystopian, I wanted to have substantial levels of suspense, conflict, and danger but still maintain an overarching atmosphere of levity and hope.
What was your first story idea as a child?
The first story idea I remember I had as a child was about a group of friends who discover a magical stick that takes them off to a fantasy land full of elf people. It was back in the second grade. I’m sure I would cringe the whole time if I could find it and read it again now. Haha. Suffice it to say, I don’t use as many adverbs anymore.
If you could go back and change anything about this book (the one we’re sharing) or another of your published books, what would you change?
I’ve been asked quite recently to write a continuation for The Secret of the Phoenix. I don’t want to give the ending away but I’ll admit I wrote it the way it currently is to keep the option of a sequel or another book in the series open. I loved the epic love story of my main characters and I’ve been having many great debates (with myself) on the several ways with which to satisfactorily write a resolution for my particular “star-crossed lovers” situation. I’m about to release my next Epic Fantasy series Nameless Fay this coming April, but another Phoenix series book is always in the cards.
What’s your writing process?
I’m a total pantser. I’m still new enough to this that I haven’t nailed down a routine of churning out regular word counts per day/week yet. Being a stay-at-home mom also adds to the chaos that if my kids are not in school, I basically can’t get any work done. But when I’m in the zone, I can write for hours while listening to music. Forget eating and sleeping. Lol.
"I've always loved the enigmatic and ominous nature of the storylines and settings that are ubiquitous in anime."
How do you choose names for your characters?
I love this question. My naming conventions can be pretty random. I don’t like to use the same name twice across all my books. In my contemporary romance, I stick to normal everyday names. Sometimes I’ll name my characters after people I know whose personalities I’ve “embodied” in said characters. With my epic fantasies often set in another world, I’ll pull names out of different places or make them up. The Secret of the Phoenix in particular has characters named after a 90s arcade game avatar, a star, a pasta dish, and a character in Greek mythology.
To you, what is the value of imagination?
Without imagination, I think life would be very boring. Not to mention, all the inventions that make life a whole lot better would never exist without it. I think it’s amazing that a lot of imagined science fiction decades ago are realities now. Personally, I have a very vivid imagination! In fact, my Steampunk Fantasy/Sci-fi series Selfless came about because I had imagined that this recurring dream of mine was actually me looking through at another version of me in a different parallel world where “she” was in danger and I stopped to think: what if she actually needed my help?