Interview with Olivia Pharos, Author of Celestial Academy: Essence

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Celestial Academy: Essence?

I was watching Breaking Bad, and it occurred to me—what if there were a reality behind the street name of drugs? What if Angel Dust actually came from Angels? And what if there was only one young woman in existence who can see and collect Angel Essence, and turn it into a drug? A drug that is the most addictive and sought after one in the world, that all humans and demons go crazy for? And from then on, Wen White was born, and the literal post-apocalyptic world of Afterworld came into existence.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Celestial Academy: Essence, what would they be?

It’s a Hard Knock Life, from the musical, Annie for Wen, my heroine, who is demon-owned, and became a drug dealer to buy out her Indenture.

An Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier, Angels Like You by Miley Cyrus, and Dirty Thoughts by Chloe Adams for Wen and Godric’s complex, agonizingly slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Romantic fantasy and paranormal romance all the way, to both read and write.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo and House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

There are many, but I had a particular blast writing the drug-dealing, street urchin’s heroine’s first meeting with the all-powerful, morally-grey nephilim hero. It was the ultimate meet-cute (meet-ugly :-D), with him crash-landing in front of her, destroying half the street and literally knocking her off her feet, placing her under arrest, and dragging her to the Celestial Court to stand trial…on a leash! And what followed, with the beginning of their agonizingly slow-burn enemies-to-lovers passion, was such wicked fun to write.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I have to have one or both cats sitting by me (my lap-adjacent cats :-D) and I need to have some deep focus music playing in the back ground, and some steaming hot beverage.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Write the next book. Pursue the next dream.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

The character dynamics, esp. between the hero and heroine, and for them to ship them hard.


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