Inspiration for The Phoenix Project

Inspiration for The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project is a story that is very close to my heart. I had the original idea in 2002 and it has slowly grown with the input of a variety of influences and inspirations.

Raven Kennedy: Raven began as the villain, Vincent, in my first novel “Dead End” (an idea which never came to fruition). The plot didn’t work, but I adored his character so I kept him and developed him more as an antagonist in the fantasy world of ‘The Light and Shadow Chronicles’ (You may have met him in the first of the series, A Chronicle of Chaos).

I loved the character so much that I took the idea of him and developed it in another direction—into the dark and depressed Raven in my next novel, ‘The Phoenix Project.’

Having worked with Raven for so long, I am very emotionally attached to him. Even though he is fictional, I feel that he is a part of my heart and soul. Hence this tattoo:

profile pictureRaven also features as a major character in ‘The Light and Shadow Chronicles.’ I don’t think I will ever write a book that doesn’t have Raven in it in some way. He is my muse and my access to my creativity.

The decline of religion: Religion plays an important role in my life, which is unusual, as I am agnostic. I feel that faith is beautiful and special. I, sadly, am not lucky enough to have it myself, but I don’t understand why people blame religion for the world’s problems. I wanted to portray a world which was clearly worse for the decline of religion in an attempt to show the benefits of faith.

Salverford prison: I travelled a lot whilst I was writing ‘The Phoenix Project’ and many of the places that I visited helped to fuel my imagination and give depth to my work. On a trip to Rome, I visited the Colosseum and was inspired by the ancient building. The exhibits on gladiators gave me a deeper understanding of the life of a person forced to fight to the death. I was able to pick out certain details and use them in ‘The Phoenix Project’ – such as the type of food gladiators were given to eat.

I also spent some time in Krakow, Poland, and visited Aushwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. I’ll never forget the horror of the place, particularly Block 11, the torture and incarceration block. The long, thin cell which Raven passes in the Ruby Tower dungeons comes directly from a cell I saw at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The descriptions of smoke billowing from small chimneys also come from things I saw at Auschwitz.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_11

The place which gave me the most inspiration for Salverford, especially the underground cellars of Ruby Tower and the dark room, was the Terror Haza Museum in Budapest. This museum is the old offices of the Soviet Union Stasi and, later, The Nazi party’s Gestapo. Underneath the building, in the cold, dark cellars, is a grim and depressing dungeon of tiny, damp cells and a crushing sense of futility. I crept inside one of the waist-high cells and sat in pitch darkness and felt despair crowding in on me. This is where the ‘dark room’ was born.

For more information on the Terror Haza Museum, visit:

http://www.terrorhaza.hu/en/museum/about_us.html

The Colosseum:

I love the city of Rome. I’ve visited three times and have loved it more every time! Setting the finale in Rome fitted in well with the religion theme and gave the novel a focus, but I also enjoyed writing about a place I loved so dearly. The Colosseum was a great place for Raven to end up as an ironic safe place.

As I was coming close to finishing ‘The Phoenix Project’, I was preparing myself to write the epilogue about Rome. My incredibly thoughtful husband surprised and delighted me by treating me to a holiday in Rome for Valentine’s day in 2010. It meant that I was able to write that final chapter in Rome itself.

Buy ‘The Phoenix Project’:

Nook:

http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/the-phoenix-project-by-dm-cain/2940157645656

Amazon:

US http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0195A6AYK
UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0195A6AYK

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-phoenix-project-dm-cain/1123117161

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/book/id1066900946

New teaser trailer for The Phoenix Project

My psychological dystopian thriller The Phoenix Project has a brand-new mini trailer! I’m so happy with the results 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXvGZoQ_Ftc

Want your own teaser trailer? This was from a fiverr gig, which you can access here: https://uk.fiverr.com/nomansalehzada/create-animated-book-cover-intro-video

The geeky side to D.M. Cain

Yes, I’ll admit it – I am a huge geek! Star Wars, Doctor Who, RPGs, Manga – you name it, I love it.

In this post (stop 2 on the 4WillsPublishing blog tour) I talk about how those geeky interests of mine have influenced my writing, and what impact they have made upon The Phoenix Project.

http://www.wendyjscott.com/my-blog/introducing-the-phoenix-project-by-dmcain

Why not pop over and check it out?

 

The Phoenix Project Blog Tour!

My 4Wills blog tour for The Phoenix Project will take place over the next few weeks, stopping at the blogs of lots of wonderful writers. To see where I’ll be on each day, check out the tour schedule here:

https://4willspublishing.wordpress.com/upcoming-events/blog-tour-author-d-m-cain/   

You can also win some goodies!

I am giving away two free book bundles, where you can win a signed paperback of The Phoenix Project, plus a paperback of my children’s book, Soren.


To be eligible to win one of these sets, merely leave a comment on any stop along the tour, including this one and you could be one of our two lucky winners!!!

The first stop on our tour starts today at the blog of the wonderful John Fioravanti, where you can learn about the changes from the first to the second edition of The Phoenix Project:

http://fiorabooks.com/introducing-d-m-cains-the-phoenix-project-2nd-edition/

Don’t miss my Author Party Event (http://4Wills-DMCain.chatovod.com/) on Friday, January 15th at 1pm CST!!

Want to win a £10 Amazon giftcard?

This competition has just one more day until closure – follow the steps below to win be entered into a draw to win a £10 Amazon giftcard. I’ll be announcing the winner at 9pm GMT (4pm EST) on 14th December.

Would you like to win a £10 Amazon giftcard?

All you have to do is share the links below for The Phoenix Project to your facebook wall and tag five friends who might be interested in reading it. (Also tag DM Cain so I can see your post!) Then you will be entered into a draw to win the giftcard. It’s that simple!

Here are the links you can share:

Amazon:
US http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0195A6AYKhttp://amzn.to/1NKjbrt

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0195A6AYKhttp://amzn.to/1QAoJW9

Nook:
http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/the-phoenix-project-by-dm-cain/2940157645656

Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-phoenix-project-dm-cain/1123117161

Dark, psychological dystopian ‘The Phoenix Project’ gets a makeover!

It’s taken many an hour slogging away over the manuscript, making tweaks and changes and tearing my hair out, but the new version of The Phoenix Project is finally here!

This brand new edition of my dystopian, psychological thriller The Phoenix Project will be re-released on December 11th. It was originally published in May 2014, and this new Booktrope edition has had a complete editing overhaul plus a stunning new cover design.

The Phoenix Project Cover - Booktrope

The book will be available to buy from a wide range of digital and paperback distributors, including Amazon:

Nook:

http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/the-phoenix-project-by-dm-cain/2940157645656

Amazon:

US http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0195A6AYKhttp://amzn.to/1NKjbrt

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0195A6AYKhttp://amzn.to/1QAoJW9

Synopsis:

How can you fight to the death, when you’ve given up on life?

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…

A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting re-released novel, The Phoenix Project.

Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?

‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.

An interesting fact about The Phoenix Project: The horrifying ‘dark room’ in The Phoenix Project (a pitch-black sensory deprivation cell) was inspired by D.M. Cain’s visit to the Terror Haza in Budapest—a museum dedicated to the fascistic and communistic regimes that operated from the building. In the cellar of the Terror Haza are the old cells used to imprison and torture inmates. D.M. crawled inside a very low cell and shut the door, casting herself into total darkness. It was terrifying and claustrophobic, and she only lasted five minutes in there!

 

Extract from Chapter One:

This is the opening, which throws us straight into Raven preparing for his first fight to the death
Cold, dark terror trickled through Raven Kennedy’s veins, freezing him on the spot. There was a thunderous drumbeat echoing around his skull and it took him a while to realise it was the relentless, agitated pounding of his own heart.

As he became more nervous, more afraid of his looming fate, his breath came quickly, sticking in his throat and choking him. A cough threatened to burst forth from his lips, but he held it in, afraid it would bring with it the contents of his stomach—the bland, tasteless meal he had been given in his cell.

It was the worst possible time to feel weak, but Raven felt like he could hardly lift his arms, his exhaustion was so great. He hadn’t slept a wink last night. How could he with today hovering over him?
The time for his first fight had come around quickly. He’d hardly been given time to think about it at all. Raven looked down at his hands and was not surprised to see they were shaking.

His opponent’s name was Wilson. Raven knew nothing else about him. He’d never spoken to him, had never even met him. Had they passed one another in the dining hall and never even looked up? If he had spoken to him would that make what he was about to do any easier?

He heard heavy footsteps in the corridor and his heart jumped into his throat. They were coming for him.

 

The Phoenix Project Thunderclap!

Hi everybody! I need some help with my release of The Phoenix Project through US publisher Booktrope. I have set up a Thunderclap campaign to try and get the word out. Any support would be greatly appreciated.

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/35467-the-phoenix-project-release

Thank you so much!

The Phoenix Project Cover - Booktrope.jpg

I won the #awethors opening lines competition!

#Awethors opening lines Winner badge
#Awethors opening lines Winner badge

Hooray! I won the #Awethors ‘opening lines’ competition with the first line of my psychological dystopian thriller The Phoenix Project:

“Cold, dark terror trickled through Raven Kennedy’s veins, freezing him on the spot.”

I will now be featured on the #Awethors website and have earned bragging rights 😉

Dark, dystopian thriller The Phoenix Project - soon to be re-released through Booktrope
Dark, dystopian thriller The Phoenix Project – soon to be re-released through Booktrope

Booktrope_logo

Secrets of The Phoenix Project

Secrets of The Phoenix Project…

The Phoenix Project Cover - Booktrope

The Phoenix Project was an idea floating around in my head for 10 years before it finally saw the light of day. All the characters, locations and events were gradually built upon to become what they are today. So here are some of the early influences on the novel. 

When hunting through my old notes from the very early versions of the book, I found these pictures. I cut them from magazines when I was around 18 years old and for years they were the perfect images for my characters. My ideas have changed somewhat (especially for Khan, who looks far too sweet here!), but the main ideas remained the same.

Alexia, Khan, Kiri and Seraphia

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SANY4173
SANY4165
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I even tried drawing some of my characters years ago! I have absolutely no talent in drawing so these are not very good – but they allowed me to get a better idea of the characters early on. Alexia and Raven

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Raven has also been a mixture of various people – both real and imaginary. I was working on the same character for a long time and he grew and developed into both Vincent Wilder from the Light and Shadow Chronicles, and Raven Kennedy from The Phoenix Project. Therefore, much of Raven’s character is from him. However, parts of him have been based around the following people:

Raven has always had dark hair and intense eyes. The first person I saw in a movie that really looked like my image of him was Billy Crudup as Tommy Marcano in the film ‘Sleepers.’

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Then I watched ‘Sunshine’ starring Cillian Murphy, and I loved the intensity of his eyes, and the haunted look he always has about him!

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Another good model for Raven is Aidan Turner – especially in ‘Being Human’. I like the darkness of his eyes, (though I think he may be a bit too ‘pretty’ for Raven!)

aidan_turner_by_madziulak-d5whxyt

The closest I’ve come yet to an actor who looks a lot like my image of Raven is Santiago Cabrera as Isaac in Heroes. As a character that deals with mental health issues, Isaac reminded me a lot of Raven and that brooding intensity he has is just perfect!

So, what do you think? If you have read The Phoenix Project why not drop me a line and let me know who you pictured when you were reading the book. Maybe your idea of Raven (or any of the characters) will be very different to mine, but I’d love to know!

The Phoenix Project Cover Reveal!

Cover Reveal for The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain

It’s here! Dark, gritty psychological thriller The Phoenix Project undergoes a makeover in the brand new Booktrope edition. Completely re-edited and re-designed, don’t miss this stunning cover by the talented Amalia Chitulescu.

The Phoenix Project Cover - Booktrope

Dark and gritty dystopian thriller The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain has undergone a complete revamp with US publisher Booktrope. It has been re-edited from start to finish with new background information on some minor characters, and a few scenes altered. The biggest change to the content is that the epilogue has been removed from the book itself and can now be found HERE.

To go with the changes in content, The Phoenix Project has had a completely new cover designed by the very talented Amalia Chitulescu!

The image was chosen very carefully to suit the tone and plot of the book. The man on the front (protagonist, Raven) is looking to the floor, to symbolise the guilt and sadness that weigh him down. Chains coil around his arms, indicating his captivity – both in the physical and psychological sense. The background is bleak and hopeless (a theme that is very prevalent in the book), yet the flames around Raven suggest the possibility of rebirth and regeneration.

The book will be available to buy soon from a wide range of digital and paperback distributors.

Author: D.M. Cain

Title: The Phoenix Project

Genre: Psychological thriller/Dark thriller/Dystopian

Book Content: Occasional adult language, graphic violence, and mild sexual content.

Original Cover Design from the first edition:  

Featured image

Synopsis:

How can you fight to the death, when you’ve given up on life?

A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…

A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting re-released novel, The Phoenix Project.

Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.

In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.

Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?

‘The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain is a superbly written debut, soaked in tension and intrigue,’ Jack Croxall, author of the ‘Tethers’ trilogy.