Interview with Elizabeth Stephens, Author of Taken By The Pikosa Warlord (Xiveri Mates Book 7)

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Taken By The Pikosa Warlord?

When it comes to romance tropes, I love three things: barbarian warlords, enemies-to-lovers, and the end of the world.

Taken by the Pikosa Warlord is set in a distant future, one in which the earth has been reduced to sand, rocks and rubble. To rebuild civilization, a group of scientists was put into a cryosleep. Their goal was to wake up four thousand years in the future to a completely empty earth, one that had recovered from the climate catastrophes and war of our present and that would be ripe and ready for rebuilding.

But what did they find instead? Survivors.

Now, the scientists must contend with warlords hardened by the savagery of the new world. They find an unexpected weapon in one scientist in particular, Halima. None of the tribes of this ravaged earth speak the same language, but Halima — the etymologist and interpreter — intends to unite them so that she can bring the Warlord Ero down.

Through Halima, this book draws heavily on my love of language and the time I spent living, studying, and working in the Middle East and Africa. I lived in Cairo for a year, including during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, and fell head over heels in love with it.

I like to think of this book as The Arrival meets Mad Max meets my own experiences living around the world — from Cairo to Addis Ababa — meets the romance tropes I listed earlier meets Xiveri Mates magic

If you woke up in the world of Xiveri Mates, what is the first thing you would do?

I’d start on Kor and definitely do a bit of marauding with the four-armed Niahhorru space pirates before heading to Lemora for an evening watching the exploding Dark Flats and drinking lobba. I’d also very much like to take a dip in the Xamxin river on Voraxia and after that, I might head on over to Sasor to become a snake charmer. One place I wouldn’t go, though? Nobu. While I love the Okkari and his fated mate Xhea, I don’t do cold weather.  

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of your book, what would they be?

Ero’s song: Venom by Eminen
Halima’s song: Shouei by Yasmine Hamdan
Their song: A Mountain With No Ending by Classixx & Panama

What are your ideal writing conditions? Set the scene for us.

Sitting in front of my TV at 3 o’clock in the morning bleary-eyed and watching Criminal Minds. That’s it. That’s how you’ll find me writing 90% of the time.

If you had to write a blurb for the last book you read, what would it say? 

Alpharoll saves the day! Surprisingly sweet jock meets his match in a strong, intelligent heroine who’s overcoming PTSD in this new adult sports romance. This book ticks all the boxes — fake date, slow burn, natural budding relationship, and all the steam.

The Deal by Elle Kennedy, was an easy 5 star read from me.

What romantic couple from literature makes you swoon? Which one is over-hyped?

The romantic couple from the literature that makes me swoon most will always and forever be Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Sorry, I’m not more original, but I’m a sucker for this classic couple. I love every romance ever written that’s based on this trope and every version of this movie that exists and, of course, the original book.

Overhyped? Sorry, but the couple from Bridgerton is arguably my least favorite pairing. While I loved the diversity of the TV show, I found the male lead far, far too toxic — actually, I found all the guys in that show too toxic — and that’s coming from someone who wrote a book where the hero tortures the heroine in the opening scene!

I prefer a hero who will lay waste to armies for his heroine just so he can give her the world and Mr. Bridgerton didn’t quite cut it for me.

Where did you write Taken By The Pikosa Warlord

I write everywhere! I’m always in motion when I write and while I do minimal amounts of creative writing at my desk, I’m most often spotted on my couch conjuring up words in front of the TV or at crowded coffee shops. The extra noise helps me zen out.  

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Make my writing more dynamic by limiting the amount I use the verb “to be.”

Include a link to my newsletter sign-up at the beginning and end of all of my books.

Stack my promos.

Don’t try to do everything! Pick 3 book marketing tools to focus on and stick to making those great so that way, I have more time to do what I actually like (and what actually brings in the bucks), which is to write

Elizabeth Stephens is the author of the new book Taken By The Pikosa Warlord (Xiveri Mates Book 7)

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