Here at Big Shiny Robot we spend a lot of time bringing you the big news in entertainment and geekdom but we have a special place in our cold, steel, heart compartments for independent artists. To that end we're bringing you another installment of Indie Books, wherein we feature an independent author and their work. This time around we visited with D.M.Cain to talk about her new novel "The Phoenix Project."

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, UK, with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal.

Below Cain elaborates on "The Phoenix Project" as well as some of the influences that guided her through her development as an author.


Science fiction, fantasy and general geek culture have always been a huge part of my life. Growing up it was "Star Wars," anime series such as "Death Note," and a fixation with the "Final Fantasy" game series. As an adult, I am slowly working my way through the great sci-fi and dystopian films and books of our time, and finding an immense love of all things fantasy ("Game of Thrones" is my current obsession.)

My novel, "The Phoenix Project," was released recently and I decided to delve into the themes and ideas within the book to see which of these geek influences made their mark upon my writing.

  • My protagonist, Raven, always started out as a Cloud Strife/Squall Leonheart lone-wolf type character. Headstrong, independent, steadfastly avoiding others in favour of skulking around alone. He makes no effort to befriend others, preferring his own morose company. Cloud was (and is) my all-time love. Roll on the FFVII remake <3!
  • Isn't there always something exciting, though undoubtedly disturbing, about a high-pressure, adrenaline-fuelled fight to the death? Maybe it was my obsession with computer games as a child that led me to use this concept for my first novel. "Tekken" was my personal favourite beat ‘em up and what really appealed to me about these games was the fact that each character had their individual strengths and special moves, but at the end of the day, the power was really in the hands of external forces (call it fate, destiny or some kind of deity).
  • One of my favourite elements to any type of game is the ‘boss battle’. That peculiar mixture of apprehension and anxiety that accompanies stepping into a fight you probably won’t emerge from (the first time I walked into the final fight with Sephiroth and "One Winged Angel" started playing I swear my heart stopped for a moment!). That buzz was something I hoped to communicate in "The Phoenix Project" when Raven is forced to battle some of the near-invincible superstars of the death matches.
  • There is also an element of "Battle Royale," "The Hunger Games," and "The Running Man" to this novel, though I like to think my book is perhaps more psychological (and a wee bit disturbing!)
  • I can also see the very strong influence of dystopia in my books – Room 101 from George Orwell’s "1984" inspired one section of the book, then there’s the oppressive feel to games such as "Bioshock Infinite," "Far Cry," "Lost Odyssey" etc.

All of these influences have shaped who I am as a person, and as such, have helped me to write a book that is very dear to my heart. If you enjoy the same type of things that I have mentioned within this post, why not check out "The Phoenix Project" and maybe you'll see something of yourself in it too.

Looking through Cain's list of influences I see more than a few of my favorite games, movies, and books. If, like me, you feel inclined to check out her work, you can find "The Phoenix Project" in digital and print forms at Amazon (UK Link here), and on Nook

You can follow D.M. Cain for updates on current and new works on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

Previous Post: Miss Mecha's Games of 2015

Next Post: Saturday Morning Cartoon! 'Johnny Bravo'

Tags: D.M. Cain , Author , The Phoenix Project , Indie , Book