Mike Phillips is author of The World Below and Reign of the Nightmare Prince. His short stories have appeared in ParAbnormal Digest, Cemetery Moon, Sinister Tales, Beyond Centauri, the World of Myth, Mystic Signals and many others. Online, his work has appeared in Lorelei Signal, Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Midnight Times, and Fringe. He is best known for his Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first published book was Reign of the Nightmare Prince, a Fantasy/Science Fiction novel, but that wasn’t my first attempt at writing a book. At the time I started my first novel, I had been writing short stories for some time and had even gotten a few published. Though I love the short form, I was ready for a new challenge. Writing a novel length work is, as many of your readers can understand, a monumental accomplishment and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I loved every minute. That was a crime novel, finished but unpublished, and I haven’t thought about it in a long time. Who knows? Maybe now I’ll dust it off and see what happens.
What books have influenced your life the most?
The Story of Ferdinand has to be one my favorite and most influential books. For those of your readers who aren’t familiar with the book, it is a children’s story. It’s about a bull who gets taken away to the bullfights in Madrid. Only, he isn’t a fighter, he’s the sort that goes his own way. Like so much of children’s literature, it was formative in my young life. I was ever one to go my own way too, and The Story of Ferdinand told me it was okay.
What are your current projects?
My new Science Fiction novel, Dawn of Ages is coming out in November of 2013. As the story begins, war has lasted for generations. In this technological age, no longer must humans risk their lives in combat. Fierce robots operated by remote control make up the bulk of the militaries. Satellites in the atmosphere render the heavens a frenzy of violent confrontation. But the war has little effect on everyday life. The bloodshed is minimal, the disruption to commerce even less. It is a comfortable war. Most of the populace believes they have nothing to fear. Little they know their world is about to come to an end.
The sequel to The World Below is in the works. It’s going very well. I’m just about to the climax, so it’s an exciting time. I’m also putting out short stories at a regular pace. I have more than enough for an anthology, and hope to look in that direction soon. In the meantime, mikephillipsfantasy.com has a list of where my short stories are appearing.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
People have been so kind. They have been so very supportive of my short stories and novels that I find it hard to complain about anything. When a negative review comes along, however, and they always will, I try to learn as much as I can from it and try to improve upon what I’ve done.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Work is a blessing. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the work. Don’t worry so much about success or business. Do what makes you happy and your writing will find an audience.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
My imagination seems to be out of the ordinary. I think that is reflected in The World Below and the pending sequel. Most of my life, I’ve felt like an outsider, just because my imagination was so crazy. I felt like I had to hide it from those around me and adopt a shell of normalcy. For years, I hid my writing from my family and friends. My parents and my brothers had no idea that I was a writing until I handed them a signed copy of my first novel.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Wow! I have a list. My love of all things baked and deep fried is the most likely culprit.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you so much for having me. I hope your readers check out The World Below. Please visit me at mikephillipsfantasy.com Take care, Mike Phillips