Burn by Paula Weston and the most awesome Interview ever!

Contains spoilers for previous books in The Rephaim series
Burn The Rephaim Book Four
Written by Paula Weston
Check out my review for Book One
Check out my reviews for Book Two and Three
Angels, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published June 24th 2015
432 Pages
Thank you to Text Publishing
Add to Goodreads
Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.

For a year she believe she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.

Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe, one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon smiting badass and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa. Now she knows who faked her memories, and how, and why it’s all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.

More importantly, she remembers why she’s spent the last ten years wanting to seriously damage Rafa.
Gaby has spent the last week trying to remember the life she knew before arriving in the small seaside community of Pandanus Beach, a life where she was part of the Rephaim, half angels who are now preparing to go to war with demons who plan on destroying the town she now calls home. Gaby and twin brother Jude now remember their lives before the rift that drove the two apart ten years earlier, why Jude walked away and why Gaby feels an inexplicable attraction to Rafa.

But before Gaby can come to terms with her past, she and the Rephaim must prepare for a war against Zarael and his hellion army. Secrets will be revealed, alliances will be tested and Pandanus Beach will become a warzone. A fight for not only the Rephaim's survival, but for humanity.

Kelly's Thoughts

The Rephaim series has been phenomenal. From it's characters to it's vivid locations, Paula Weston has created a stellar series that infuses angel lore with charismatic and relatable characters who are brilliantly flawed. But above all else, it's incredibly entertaining, the story gathering pace with each book and Burn definitely did not disappoint. Once again we're transported back to Pandanus Beach, the fictional Australian seaside town where the two segregated groups of Rephaim have joined forces to fight Zarael. But now both Gaby and Jude remember their lives as part of the Rephaim, what lead to the decade long separation and what ultimately brought them back together. I loved how the storyline sprinkled their new revelations throughout, keeping readers on their toes.

The Final Verdict

It's sassy, fierce and such a worthy finale to a series that is wonderfully written and one of the most engaging urban fantasy series' in young adult. Paula Weston has created a world that readers can immerse themselves in, characters to engage with and a series to celebrate the best that Australian young adult has to offer.

Interview with Paula Weston

The Rephaim series is a brilliantly imaginative take on angel lore, the Book of Enoch and the Nephilim. Is angelic mythology something you've always been interested in and how much research was involved in the process?
Thank you. To answer your questions, I studied a couple of units in world religion at uni quite a few years back (for ‘fun’), so I’ve always had an interest in theology generally, but not specifically angels. With the Rephaim series, the characters of Rafa and Gaby came first*, and then I started researching the best world in which to set their story. To be honest, I wasn’t looking specifically to use an angel-based mythology until I read the story of Semyaza in the Book of Enoch, a 2,000 year-old apocryphal text. It gave me a light bulb moment about where I could take that set-up, which led to the world of the Rephaim as you now know it.

I did a reasonable amount of research to see what other aspects of angel lore could work for my world building, including traditional Judeo-Christian and Islamic concepts, medieval writings and the diverse New Age approaches that have nothing to do with traditional religion. I found it quite fascinating that a lot of our contemporary imaginings about angels and demons come from sources other than the bible. The beauty of writing fiction is that I could take bits and pieces of whatever I thought would work best for my characters and their story.

The original idea for the series involved a girl and guy in a bar who have a complicated history that only he remembers, and he knows that if he takes advantage of the situation and she remembers their history, he’ll be in huge strife. I knew there were paranormal elements in how she lost her memories and that she and he had ended up on different sides of a conflict. I worked outwards from there to figure out their story and their world.
As a very character driven series, Gaby is one of the strongest, multi layered, yet self assured heroines in young adult. What was the inspiration behind her character and why do we need more feisty and confident characters like Gaby in young adult?
I’m pleased you see her that way. I can’t pinpoint the exact inspiration for Gaby: she pretty much jumped onto the page fully formed as soon as I started writing. I suspect it’s because this series is the first time I’ve written in first person, present tense and, intentionally or not, I ended up channeling my 19-year-old self. At that age I was probably better described as quick-tempered (read: angry), impulsive and easily frustrated. I’d like to think I’ve grown a lot over the intervening decades, so it was fun to dip back into that head space – but I should point out Gaby is NOT me, she just shares some of my traits at that age, good and bad.

I think it’s important in YA to show there are different ways to be a girl/young woman, and being feisty and confident is one of those ways. But it’s been important for me that Gaby also has a fair degree of self-doubt to deal with. I wanted her to be fallible and flawed, and to make wrong decisions with very real consequences. And then to take responsibility for her mistakes. It’s those moments that help us grow and that give us confidence in ourselves. I know my flaws and mistakes have always taught me much more about myself and life than my successes.
Gaby and Rafa's relationship is intense and the chemistry between the two in undeniable. Between the Rephaim characters, the romance is very sex positive. Were you mindful to portray sex as a positive experience for the intended teen audience?
In truth, I didn’t consciously write the series for a particular audience and have always written it by ‘feel’ rather than ‘forethought’ as far as tone is concerned. I shaped those particular scenes involving Gaby and Rafa based on what I wanted for them at that point in the story. Each scene offers a different dynamic between Gaby and Rafa and serves to show who they are at that moment, and what they want/need from each other.

It’s important for YA to cover the full gamut of sexual experiences, so I wouldn’t have had an issue with writing something less positive if I thought the story warranted it. You might remember in Haze that Gaby learns that Mya had a distressing experience with sex when she was much younger. And although I don’t explore that in depth, it’s hopefully clear that it’s left Mya with a less than healthy approach to sex and intimacy.

The whole sexual awareness / experience is slightly skewed in the Rephaim series because even though Gaby believes she’s a teenager, she’s really not and (in Shadows especially) I wanted her to deal with the confusion between how she feels emotionally and how her body reacts in those more heated moments.
One of many aspects that had me enchanted by the series, was the likability of it's characters and how relatable they are. As an adult writing young adult fiction, do you draw on your own experiences as a teen to create your characters and the issues they face?
Thank you. Another interesting question! I’d love to say that I’m so much more mature than I was as a teenager and it takes effort to reach back and find that head space, but the truth is that I can go there in a heartbeat. I suspect it’s like that for most people – we never really feel any older in our heads, just hopefully slightly wiser. I vividly remember my teenage years, the good and the bad, especially how it felt in those big moments.

Obviously some of the issues Gaby faces in the Rephaim series aren’t ones most teenagers have to worry about (having to fight demons, setting off a chain of events that could lead to a war between heaven and hell…). But there are plenty of moments where Gaby faces issues around friendships, family, parents, love and loyalty, and she has to deal with consequences of the choices she makes. Those are challenges that are often heightened when you’re a teenager, which is possibly why they are so easy to recall and tap into as an adult writer.
With the Rephaim being your first series and Shadows being your debut, how did you find the publishing experience and what key piece of advice would you give to young, budding authors?
I’ve had a totally positive experience thanks to Text Publishing. I’ve learned an enormous amount through the editing process and the team has been very inclusive on things like cover art, ‘puffs’ (quotes from other writers or reviewers on the front jacket), blurbs and catalogue copy etc.

I also need to give a shout-out to my agent Lyn Tranter, who scored the deal with Text in 2011. Lyn signed me back in 2008 on the basis of a fantasy series I was writing at the time. It took three years – and for me to start writing what would become Shadows after a particularly frustrating rejection – before the deal with Text was struck. Lyn’s advice and guidance has also made the journey easier.

My advice to young, budding authors: Keep reading, keep writing and when it comes time to submit to publishers and agents (if that’s the path you follow), always be polite, even in the face of rejection. The publishing industry is small – everyone knows each other, especially here in Australia – and your pride is not worth burning bridges over. You never know when the next opportunity is coming along and you want to be remembered for your professionalism and humility on the way up. I speak from experience: I was writing and trying to find a publisher for a long time before the Rephaim series changed my life. I have a big fat rejection folder of my own!
This year especially, there's a huge campaign for Australian young adult novels and bringing our phenomenal authors to the world. Besides your own, do you have any Australian young adult authors you would recommend?
Why yes, I do. Lists can make me a little nervous because it can feel crappy to be left out so I’ll say up front this is not an exhaustive list of Australia YA authors I love and recommend, just some of my faves, in no particular order.

Melina Marchetta Vikki Wakefield Kirsty Eagar
Markus Zusak Pip Harry Simmone Howell
Fiona Wood Cath Crowley Christine Bongers
Ellie Marney Randa Abdel-Fattah Marianne de Pierres
Jaclyn MoriartyMargo Lanagan Jessica Shirvington
Amie Kaufman Jay Kristoff Rebecca Lim
Ambelin Kwaymullina Leanne Hall

And a couple of exciting new voices on the scene:

Trinity DoyleJustin Woolley

There are plenty of other great Aussie YA writers I should’ve read by now – and will soon!
And finally, now that the Rephaim series is complete, are you working on anything new that you're able to share with us?
I’ve started on a totally new stand-alone book. I’ve had a kernel of an idea for a few years now, so it’s exciting to finally have the time (and head space) to explore the characters. It’s a thriller, and already has the same sort of pacing as the Rephaim series. Like the Rephaim series, the idea started with a guy and girl in a strange situation and I’ve been figuring out their story every since. There are no angels, but there is a speculative fiction twist, which I’m still working out how to best describe. I’m hoping to be able to talk about it in more detail later this year when I’ve got more of it written.
Thank you so much for joining me Paula. I've absolutely adored the series and looking forward to seeing what you're working on next.
Thanks so much for having me!

About Paula

For my day job, I’m a self-employed writer-journalist-professional communicator, where my writing involves a lot less profanity. I also love to read, blog, cook, eat, drink and travel and tend to get passionate about human rights, ethical food production… Actually, I can get passionate about pretty much anything.

I’m also a huge fan of Australian literature, fantasy / paranormal writing across books, TV and film, I love comedy. I’m a closet comic reader and TV addict and I’m borderline obsessed with the Foo Fighters.

Thank you to Paula and the always fabulous Stephanie at Text Publishing.
The Rephaim series is out now in Australia at all good bookstores.


    Thanks for an awesome interview

    1. Yes, you totally do Angel. This series is absolutely brilliant, totally knocked my socks off. Stop everything and grab a copy, borrow it from your local library and immerse yourself.

  2. I am so eager to start this series, Kelly. Which reminds me! I incidently stumbled upon the first book Shadows over at NetGalley the other day and immediately sent it to my Kindle - where it is ever so persuasively whispering my name ha ha! :D

    1. I seen that on there, and it's a READ NOW title so no excuses not to download it people. I can't wait to see what you think of it Claudia, it's absolutely incredible!

  3. Great interview! It's not a genre I read but I love hearing more about authors' processes and inspiration.

    1. I used to read quite a bit of urban fantasy, but quickly tired of the same premises and love triangles over and over. This series was brilliant though, and not a love triangle in sight. I absolutely adored it and has reignited my love for the genre again.

  4. Great questions, Kelly! I'm so curious about this series now. It sounds like it's full of great characters and exciting moments. I also really need to check out more Aussie authors. :)


    1. Aussie authors are incredible and there are so many out there now taking our young adult to the world Lauren. This series is incredible, I can almost guarantee you'll love it as much as I have.

  5. Melina Marchetta!!! Yes. That woman is amazing. I'm honest-to-goodness happy that you enjoyed this series, Kelly! Reading your review of Burn just made me finally order the last book off Book Depository. I know it's not going to be out yet here in North America, but thank God for TBD! Dying. Dying to read this book.

    Thanks for the thoughtful questions and answers, ladies!

    1. Ohhh, I can't wait to see what you think of it Joy. I know how much of a massive advocate you are of Shadows, one of the reasons that made me pick this series up too.

  6. I read the whole series when I saw you were reading it on Goodreads. Yeah, a bit stalker-ish but I hope that's cool. This is one of those stories that you just have to read non-stop or else you'll lose yor mind over it. The characters are just beautiful and the chemistry between Rafa and Gaby is just WOW. Paula Weston sure knows her stuff, from the tension and mystery. It all makes for an amazing read.

    1. Of course it is! You should have Tweeted at me Ana, I would have loved to have read it together and discussed it. Next time we end up reading the same series, let me know. I'm so glad you loved it too, I'm still fangirling over how incredible the series was.

  7. I must admit that I am NOT a fan of angel books. Halo by Alexandra Adornetto scarred me for life, and I haven't been game enough to pick up another angel book since. :( But I'm so glad to hear that you absolutely loved this series Kels! Thanks for sharing your interview with Paula, it's always so nice to get some background into an author's process for her characters. And yay to sex-positive books!

    1. I didn't like Halo either Joy, it was almost painful to get through for me. But the Rephaim series is incredible, no instant love, lusty, intense and the banter is awesome. You'll love it Joy, I can almost guarantee it.

  8. Cannot freaking wait to read this final installment, Kelly! It sounds like it all wrapped up really nicely and I'm glad you had fun with the series.
    Ahh and thanks for sharing that interview! I need to read so many of the authors she's listed. *sighs at how big my TBR is*
    Lovely review and interview, Kelly!

    1. So many incredible Aussie young adult authors Nick, all brilliant writers that I would definitely recommend as well. The finale was incredible, lived up to the hype and anticipation, even surpassing it. I shed a few tears towards the end too. I can't wait to see what you think of it!

  9. What an awesome interview! It was so fun learning the author's ideas for the series. :D

    Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger

    1. I loved hearing about how the series came about too Sarah, and Paula is so incredibly lovely. I had a fabulous chat with her privately on Twitter about Australian young adult fiction and really looking forward to hearing more about what she's working on now.

  10. OMG I had no idea this one was set in fictional Australia, it sounds totally awesome! I've herad so many great things about it. I love how she really delves into the angel lore using the research that came into play.

    Gaby sounds like a really strong character and I love how she has her flaws but she's also fiesty. She sounds like so much fun! Having realistic sexual experiences are great, because YA often doesn't delve into that. Exciting to hear that Paula has started her own thriller, I'm already looking forward to reading it!

    Fantastic interview Kelly!


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