Monday, November 7, 2016

Author Interview: C.T. Phipps

Welcome to our First Ever Author Interview.

Today we are talking with C.T. Phipps, who is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular reviewer at The United Federation of Charles and the author of The Supervillainy Saga, The Red Room series, Straight Outta Fangton, and Cthulhu Apocalypse.  Hope you enjoy the interview . . . I know I did!

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Oh, that’s a question which has no answer. I was scribing away at (awful) books when I was six years old. Whether it was make-believe, Dungeons and Dragons, or amateur writing I’ve always been a storyteller. When did I become a “serious” (heavy on the quotes since I got my start writing humor book) writer? That was the year before I met my wife when an author gave me a card which said that I should try to find a writing group to help me refine my craft.

I joined up with the now-defunct Permuted Press “Pit and the Pendulum” group which helped me tremendously by saying that my writing sucked. Too often you get positive feedback when you need actual criticism to know what works and doesn’t. Under their direction, I wrote The Rules of Supervillainy, Cthulhu Armageddon, and Esoterrorism.

For me, I always wanted to be a writer but it was a question of whether I could make a living at it. Changes in the market as well as growing experience now means that’s a yes and I couldn’t be happier.

2. How much time do you dedicate to writing per day/week?

I write in feasts and famines depending on the available time I can get. My best writing success is, of course, when it's dark and quiet with just my computer glowing beside my bed.

However, I've also been known to have flashes of inspiration I swiftly just put down a few paragraphs for.

Generally, though I try and fit in at least a few hours every day in writing. Really, it depends on what I'm in the mood for and whether the angel of inspiration can get my wiring working. I recall the most condensed bit of writing I've ever done in my life was Straight Outta Fangton, which I managed to do in just under a month and half in just under a week. Cthulhu Armageddon, by contrast, took years and involved several rewrites.

3. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what’s on the playlist?

Oh yes, I definitely do. I prefer to choose a playlist based on the genre I’m choosing to write in. For Cthulhu Armageddon, I got a Fallout-based collection of music from the games as well as Wild West music like Red Dead Redemption’s original soundtrack as well as The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly’s. I also listen to a lot of heavy metal with a focus on Blind Guardian when doing fantasy. Youtube is particularly good for this as you can find all manner of genre-appropriate music which can play in the background while you’re working at your laptop.

4. Why did you choose to write in the genres you write in?

This is a complicated question because I’m not one of those authors who sticks to a single genre. I write in post-apocalypse sci-fi fiction with Cthulhu Armageddon, urban fantasy spy fiction for Esoterrorism, space opera for Lucifer’s Star, superhero fiction for The Rules of Supervillainy, vampire fiction for Straight Outta Fangton, and epic fantasy for Wraith Knight.

I sometimes think I may have taken on too many projects but I would rather find myself immersed in too many worlds than too few. As for why I was inspired to write in various worlds, I can’t say. I wrote Cthulhu Armageddon because I love Mad Max and Fallout as well as H.P. Lovecraft’s monsters. I wrote The Rules of Supervillainy because I love the intricacies of superhero fiction but also know the worlds don’t quite make sense. Lucifer’s Star? Because I’d just seen The Force Awakens and wanted to see what a darker, less forgiving galaxy far far away would like.

So, why do I write in X genre? Because I want to.

5. If you could only have one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chinese. It’s more a genre of foods anyway.

6. Is there an author, or book, that inspired you into becoming a writer?

I am going to say The Hobbit since it was probably the second or third "serious" book I ever read. I was amazed at the strange, serious, silly, and wonderful world I was introduced to by it. To this day, I still consider it superior to The Lord of the Rings--at least for my tastes. It's also a huge influence on my writing since I can't quite take any genre I participate in completely seriously. I enjoy deconstructing tropes and challenging the assumptions of whatever settings I experience.

7. Tell us something about your latest release?

My latest release is WRAITH KNIGHT from Ragnarok Publications. Wraith Knight is a dark fantasy which takes place in a world where the Dark Lord has been defeated, his armies routed, and after the happily ever after of your typical fantasy series. Except, this means all of the various groups of "good" and "bad" species have to learn to live together now. The protagonist is a Ringwraith-like being named Jacob Riverson.

Jacob has regained his free will and reverted back to his arrogant power-hungry but heroic self. A man who was tempted by evil and enslaved long ago but now finds himself in a world falling apart without a common enemy. Accompanying him is an idealistic young heroine named Regina Whitetremor who believes the world is falling apart rather than just going through the growing pains of reality.

8. What are you currently working on, and when can we expect to see it?

I'm working on THE SCIENCE OF SUPERVILLAINY, which is the fourth novel in the Supervillainy Saga series. I'm also working on the third CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON book, THE TREE OF AZATHOTH.

I finished the second CA novel, THE TOWER OF ZHAAL, a little while ago.
I’m hoping we’ll release The Science of Supervillainy in March of 2017. I’m not sure about the Tower of Zhaal but I’m hoping for December or January of 2017.

9. Do you judge a book by the cover?

I think that's inevitable. We've got so many wonderful books out there that we must have our attention gotten before we can stop to look them over. This is why choosing the right sort of cover for your book is so important. I was lucky with the artists for my books as they've given me some truly wonderful covers. A great cover doesn’t guarantee success but it certainly helps.

10. If you could live in the world of any TV show, what show would you pick, and (of course) why?

That's a tough call as there's comfortable places (Star Trek) and awesome places (Game of Thrones) but you must balance those two. For example, as awesome as Westeros is, I'd end up digging ditches and dying of cholera. If I had to choose, I’d probably Rapture from Bioshock even if I’d end up joining the Atlas underground and dying in the revolution. Why? Well, I’d get to live 20 years in a comfortable underwater city of weird science. Alternatively, Conan’s Hyborian Age if I got to be an evil sorcerer.

11. Do you write full time, or have a day job as well? (And if you have a day job, what is it? What are some of your responsibilities?)

I have been lucky enough to have had a job which allowed me to do a number of my books. Now I'm actually a full time writer and able to live off the revenues of my work. While "don't quit your day job" is always good advice, I'm glad to say I was able to.

12. A meteor is one week away from destroying earth, how do you spend your last seven days?

Playing Xbox. My wife would probably object, though.

13. Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers, or things you wish readers / perspective readers knew about you?

Try to get your book out in multiple formats. Listen to any criticisms people have of your writing. Get social media (Twitter, Facebook, and a website). Don’t pay for reviews or promotions since they probably won’t work. Keep writing and do it for the love of the craft.

This is Phillip Tomasso -- and I want to say, hey, man -- thanks for stopping by. I can tell you now, all I am thinking about is Chinese food! Readers, be sure to follow C.T. Phipps on the Social Media Links we have provided below. Have a fantastic day!

C.T. Phipps Links:

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