06 July 2010

Liz Fichera, author of Captive Spirit

G’day, mates!

Okay, I always wanted to say that for real and since I am guest blogging with Jenny, I finally get my chance. Hope I said it right!

Hi, all. My name is Liz Fichera and I come to you all the way from the American Southwest. Phoenix, Arizona, is my home, although I was born and raised in a small town just outside of Chicago, Illinois. When I first moved to the desert, I never expected to last more than a year because, really, how can people live without snow and ice hockey?? And Chicago-style deep-dish pizza? But survive, I did. And I love everything about the Southwest so it should come as no surprise that many of my short stories and novels take place in my adopted state, oftentimes against the backdrop of Native American legends.

CAPTIVE SPIRIT, my historical romance debut with Carina Press, is such a story.

Here’s the book cover summary:

Sonoran Desert. Dawn of the sixteenth century.

Aiyana isn’t like the other girls of the White Ant Clan. Instead of keeping house, she longs to compete on the Ball Court with her best friend Honovi and the other boys. Instead of marriage, she daydreams of traveling beyond the mountains that surround her small village. Only Honovi knows and shares her forbidden wish, though Aiyana doesn’t realize her friend has a secret wish of his own…

When Aiyana’s father arranges her marriage to a man she hardly knows, she takes the advice of a tribal elder: Run! In fleeing, she falls into the hands of Spanish raiders and finds herself being taken over the mountains against her will. Now Aiyana’s on a quest to return to the very place she once dreamed of escaping. And she’ll do whatever it takes to survive and find her way back to the people she loves.

Aiyana is a Hohokam Indian. The Hohokam Indians were the original inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert. In fact, their villages were pretty much right where my neighborhood in Phoenix is located. Interestingly, the Hohokam vanished mysteriously around 1500 AD after living in the desert since 300 BC and no one really knows why. There are all sorts of theories—war, drought, famine, migration—but no one really knows why a thriving community of approximately 50,000 people at its peak would simply up and vanish. The Pima Indians were the ones who called them Hohokam which means “Those Who Have Gone.” This is also the piece of little-known history that inspired me to write CAPTIVE SPIRIT.

I keep all sorts of goodies on my web site for CAPTIVE SPIRIT, including the first chapter and a book trailer. The book trailer contains photos taken not far from my house where the Hohokam once lived and where many of their petroglyphs still remain.

If you’re a social media nut like me, I’d love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter where I like to hang out and talk about books, writing, and the best brands of dark chocolate, when I’m not plotting my next novel.

Thanks for inviting me to blog with you today, Jenny!


  1. G'day, Liz! Not a bad Aussie accent and if you've adjusted to the desert you'll fit right in here--we need rain! Does Aiyana know any rain dances?

    Thanks for visiting!!!

  2. Ooh, I'm almost done with CAPTIVE SPIRIT. Today was SUPPOSED to be a writing day, but I'm having a danged hard time putting it down!!!

  3. Which is about the best book recommendation ever -- but will your editor accept the excuse, "It's all Liz's fault. I couldn't stop reading her book."?

  4. Hi Jenny!

    Thanks so much for hosting me today! If only we had the budget to fly each other back and forth--this is the next best thing, though. Seriously.

    Funny you should mention rain dances because there's a dance or two in my book. Aiyana's people needed rain in the book and my people need rain now! But it's that time of year here; 115 degrees F. in the shade. We're supposed to get rain this weekend, now that the monsoon season is upon us. Fingers crossed. I love a good thunderstorm.

  5. Hi Tia!

    I'm so glad you're enjoying the book and, boy, does that make me smile. It's nice when you finally get to share a story from your heart and someone out there likes it. Hugs to you!

  6. A big Downunder wave to you, Liz and congratulations on the release of Captive Spirit.

    Thanks for the great post. I'm now thoroughly intrigued by the disappearance of Hohokam people. It's amazing that no one knows why they vanished or where they went. What a mystery! No wonder you were inspired.

  7. Hi Cathryn!

    So nice to see you here!

    The story of the Hohokam is one of those kinds of things that sticks in your brain because it's so dang intriguing. It's not even a given that they "went" anywhere, although one of the theories is that they migrated with the Pima. No one knows for sure.

  8. A raindance in "Captive Spirit"? I'll have to pick up some hints!

    I'm not such a fan of thunderstorms--although possibly it's the 40 kg dog quivering in my lap that I really object to! Poor Toby, and he thinks fireworks are nearly as bad. But wow it sounds hot over in Arizona, no wonder you're longing for a storm to break the heat. Cathryn and I, on the other hand, are freezing! Most unAustralian ;)

  9. Jenny, it rains a handful of days in the Sonoran Desert but, when it does, look out! Our monsoon seasons starts late June and can go to mid-September. During that time, we'll get storms that are a cross between a hurricane and a tornado. Very weird to see them crawl across the desert, spinning up the red dirt as they go. But the rain makes the desert smell wonderful. Nothing like it.

  10. Okay, my question for you and Cathryn: Do kangaroos make good pets? Is it true that you'll see them everywhere, kind of like we see coyotes in the desert? Inquiring minds gotta know! ;-)

  11. Bah Blogger! Don't make me smack you.

    Liz, my email alert has found your description of the storms in the Sonoran Desert and they sound awesome (literally). Hopefully, they'll appear here, too, in the way Blogger sometimes embarasses me with unpredictable won't-show/will-show.

    And kangaroos as pets? I guess the official line is that they're "wild" animals and no one would break the law by keeping one. However, as a kid a friend's family had a grey kangaroo. It ambled around the backyard (along with the emu--whole 'nother story) and was a bit like keeping fish--not a lot of interacting going on.

    I'm not sure how common coyotes are in Arizona (though I immediately add "roadrunner" and start giggling) but kangaroos are pest level in some areas and unknown in others. In Canberra I could see them just over the fence, lazing on one elbow in the sun, while I walked the dog along the river path.

  12. Wow, you're down under, Liz. How wonderful is that! :)

    115 degrees in the shade? Phew. And I thought we'd had a warm spell in the UK.

    Captive Spirit is on my TBR pile. Can't wait to get to it.

  13. Jenny,

    Coyotes are very common, at least in the outlying areas around Phoenix. We hear them at night, although we used to hear them a lot more. Roadrunners are very common too and they are weird little creatures. Very cartoonish, even in real life. When I was a little kid, I always wanted a kangaroo. I thought it would be cool to bounce around in that little pouch!

  14. Hi Shirley,

    Yes, sadly, it really is that hot right now, although we're expecting it to dip to a cool 110 degrees by the weekend. ;-) This is typical summer weather for Phoenix, though. We're used to it.

    Thanks for adding Captive Spirit to your TBR pile! Hope you enjoy it!


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