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:
Raven 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.
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:
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.
The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain
The brand new edition of dystopian, psychological thriller The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain will be re-released on December 11th. Originally published in May 2014, this new Booktrope edition has had a complete editing overhaul plus a stunning new cover design.
The book will be available to buy from a wide range of digital and paperback distributors, including Amazon:
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:
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!
D.M. Cain Biography
D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released three novels: The Phoenix Project - a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, Soren – a middle-grade fantasy, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, 'The Shield of Soren', and a novella to accompany it.
D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and is one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story ‘The End’ was published in Awethology Dark – an anthology by the #Awethors.
Cain lives in Leicestershire, and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.
Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/XevZH