INTERVIEW and giveaway: Corrina Lawson

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Corrina Lawson whose newest book Phoenix Legacy was released last fall.  Corrina will give a $20 Amazon gift card to a random commenter on today’s interview.

Philip Drake is the hero of Phoenix Legacy and was inspired by River Phoenix’s character in the movie Running on Empty. In the movie, River is the son of two former 1960s radicals on the run from the law.

:His parents are pretty nice people but I started wondering how he might have turned out had his parents been abusive,” Corrina explained. “It made things very bad for Drake growing up. But it made things great as a writer, because he has so much to overcome.”

She’s currently working on the next book in the Phoenix Institute series, Ghost Phoenix. Originally, Corrina had intened the villain of the book to be the brother of the villain in Phoenix Legacy. 

“Instead, my villain ended up being the hero of Ghost Phoenix,” Corrina said. “He’s an immortal prince who’s decided to chuck all of his past away and become a surfer dude. That makes him a ton of fun to write.”

Corrina has always made up stories and has been writing as long as she can remember.

“I told my mother when I was seven years old that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Thank God she didn’t laugh at me,” Corrina said. “I wrote my first fantasy story in high school, all in longhand, which tells you hold old I am. It  was a mash-up of Tolkien’s elves and the world created by John Christopher in his Tripods trilogy. Even back then, I was mashing up genres.”

She has written twelve stories with six of them being published:  Freya’s GiftDinah of SenecaEagle of SenecaPhoenix RisingLuminous, and Phoenix LegacyGhost Phoenix, one of the unpublished manuscripts, should be the next book in the Phoenix Institute series.

“Which is your favorite?” I wondered.

“I should say stuff like ‘I love all my books.’ And I do. But I know exactly what my favorite story is and it’s not published yet. That’s Above the Fold. The book is my crime reporter murder mystery romance, and I just adore the hell out of both my main characters, reporter Trisha Connell and security expert Edmund Grayson. They’re just a joy to write together.

“The story is my attempt to write a class romantic banter mystery, ala Castle or Remington Steele or the Thin Man series.”

“How do you develop your plot and characters?” I asked.

“Haphazardly,” she answered promptly. “I’m someone who starts with a general idea of the characters and their background plus an overall sense of the plot, including the ending. Then I start writing. When I get bored with what I’m writing, I throw in some sort of action—gunfights, fistfights, explosions, what have you—and see how the characters react and how that informs the plot.

“My first draft is more one long synopsis than an actual story and usually clocks in about 60,000 words. That’s about 20,000 words shorter than the final draft. Now that I know who my characters are and what’s going on in the plot, I insert scenes where needed or even move them around.

“I know other writers are weirded out by my ability to move chapters around in my rough drafts, dropping scenes from the second half into the first half, writing new scenes to transition between chapters, and expanding scenes already written, as if it’s all one big puzzle.”

With her titles, developing them is another story. She told me she never does it the same way twice!

“I first wrote books with a crime reporter as the main character, so I used newspaper terms as titles. But when I sat down to write my superhero romance series, the Phoenix Institute, I wanted something that suggested the supernatural and finally settled on Phoenix because the main character is a firestarer. And because the Phoenix in the X-Men comics is a favorite of mine,” she said. “Since the first Phoenix Institute series is somewhat of a coming of age story for the main character, Phoenix Rising worked well as a title. After that, I knew I had to put Phoenix in all the titles.

“Many times, I have to brainstorm with friends. Dinah of Seneca was named by a dear friend who has since passed away, one of the reasons that book is so special to me.”

“What is your work schedule like when you are writing?”

“I’d call it ‘flexible.’ I write every day but it’s not always at the same time. Basically, I have three jobs. I have four kids. I run a non-fiction website,, and I write fiction.

“When the kids are in school, I parcel out the non-fiction/fiction writing time depending on which is a priority on that day. When I’m in the middle of a first draft of a novel, I write for at least an hour before diving into email. When I’m revising, I do the work at night. Well, at least ideally.

“Most days I’m interrupted by various emails related to GeekMom or by one of my kids, or by errands I need to do around the house. Laundry is never-ending….”



About the Author:  Corrina is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, though not necessarily all of those on the same day. She has written a superhero romance series, an alternate history romance series, and is senior editor of and the co-author of GeekMom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st Century Families.

5_22 PhoenixLegacy72lgPhilip Drake is immortal by virtue of a psychic power that heals all but the worst injuries. He’s needed every bit of it as a black ops agent, a life so violent that the line between pain and pleasure is tangled up in his head.

When he walks away from the CIA, the last thing he expects is to discover someone stole his DNA to create a race of super-healers. And that the expectant mother is a woman from his past who’d consider it her pleasure to spit on his grave.

One moment, Delilah Sefton is listening to a seriously hot, seriously deranged man giving her some half-baked explanation as to why she’s pregnant with no memory of how she got that way. The next, armed men swarm into her bar, and she and Mr. Sexy-Crazy are on the run.

Safety at the Phoenix Institute is only temporary, but it’s long enough to put the pieces together. A madman plans to steal her son in a plot to take over the world. And to stop him, she must learn to trust the baby’s father—a man she blames for her greatest loss.

Warning: This novel contains fast cars (that are driven), numerous guns (that are shot), a hero who prefers pain over love, and a heroine determined to fight for those she loves.


  1. Val Pearson says:

    I can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for the blog post, I enjoyed it.

  2. It’s true, isn’t it? Laundry never ends.

    One of the things I like to do in revisions is sit on the floor in the middle of my chapters and physically rearrange them. That, and the multi-colored draft, where I highlight the passives, adjectives, and qualifiers, help me a lot.

  3. Maria Davis says:

    Just added this book to my must read list! Always looking for a great adult super hero action novel!

    • Thanks, Maria!

      Devon, I use a legal pad and divide up my chapters into columns. But I just learned a new trick with sticky notes so I might try that too!

  4. I’ve read the three books in the Phoenix series.

    I love Philip’s story and I love that the characters share such a emotionally wrenching past. I strongly recommend the series in general. I read it out of order and was able to follow without any problem.

    I’m a big fan of the comic book genre and this series melds the genre with romance in a very clever way. Luminous in particular played out as a romantic superhero movie in my head. I liked that the woman was the one with the powers.

    Meanwhile, I’m really looking forward to Ghost Phoenix.

    • Aww..thank you so much! Ghost Phoenix took me a little longer to write. I’ve expanded the world a bit so..stuff had to be done. But the hero of Ghost Phoenix is the brother of the villain in Philip’s story. He started out as the villain of this one too but he was too fun not to turn into the hero.

  5. Maria D. says:

    Great guest post! I think it’s great your mom was so supportive of your desire to be a writer and was never discouraging of your ability – I think that a lot of parents don’t realize how much of an influence their approval can be when we are really young and how their acceptance of what we want to do or be is important to who we become. I have to admit that I would probably be freaked out by your writing style too…I think I would be more of a plotser…lol…I love the sound of “Above the Fold” and can’t wait to see it released:)

    • I admit, I try very hard not to be practical when my kids express the same desire. Moms, I think, have to be practical by nature.

      Thanks for the kind words on Above the Fold. I probably should have spent more time talking about books already out but I just have such love in my heart for that book. I’ll have it out within the year in some format or another before newspapers disappear forever. 🙂

  6. Shannon says:

    I love the casual interview style. I look forward to checking out Above the Fold when it is released, it does sound really good

  7. Nancy Gilliland says:

    Love this series and can’t wait to read this one. Family support is so terrific, especially for an aspiring writer. You are so lucky to have that from your mom, and it shows in the confidence in your writing and in the voice you use.

  8. Danielle Monsch says:

    This underscores to me once again how I need to be supportive of my kid’s interests and do my best to not discourage them.

    I love superheroes! I’m glad more and more are being found in romance!

  9. I’m a haphazard writer as well. Everything constantly surprises me when I’m writing but isn’t it fun when you don’t know where you’re going! Maybe you share my love of jigsaws too!

  10. The characters sound intriguing

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  11. Barbara Elness says:

    Wow, three jobs, and I don’t have enough time to read with just one. I don’t know how you do it, Corrina. 😀
    Phoenix Legacy sounds like a great story and I’m looking forward to reading it.

  12. It’s always interesting to hear writers reveal their methods–fun interview!

  13. I love this series and am looking forward to reading more exciting adventures featuring these intriguing characters! (and yes, I remember writing things in longhand…but thank goodness for computers so that one can actually understand what I am writing!)

  14. Its on my shelf, just desperately need to get reading it. Thanks for sharing the process!

  15. Great interview. 🙂

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

  16. He’s an immortal prince who’s decided to chuck all of his past away and become a surfer dude. …. I can’t tell you how much this amuses me! LOL!!! mnark111 AT gmail DOT com

    • It amuses me too! But I had to think of what a bored immortal might do and I’d just been reading Susan Casey’s The Wave (Non-fiction, a terrific book) and the community of surfers and how no one wants to give up riding the waves, even as they age, and it seemed to me that the never-ending challenge would be something an immortal would crave.

      It also sent me into research on surfer lingo. 🙂

  17. I just happened on this site. I love, love the sound of the book, the series and the characters. I am going to have to look up the rest of your books now. They all sound awesome.

  18. And the winner, decided by randome number generator is..Barbara Ellness! Buzz me and I’ll get that certificate our for you!

  19. Lani Mai-Nguyen says:

    I’m so glad you followed your dream. You mother must be amazing since she didn’t give up on you 🙂 I hope to read more of you in the future. You’ll go far.

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