Mike Phillips is author of Hazard of Shadows, The World Below, Dawn of Ages, 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. Please visit Mike at www.mikephillipsfantasy.com.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Hazard of Shadows, Chronicles of the Goblin King book two. When did you start writing and what got you into urban fantasy?
My writing began shortly after I graduated from college. I scored a great job as a safety engineer in the insurance industry. There was travel, something new every day, but I found myself getting bored with the whole routine. It wasn’t enough to keep me interested, not enough creativity in what I was doing. I found myself making up stories. To be done with a project and be satisfied with myself, I had to write it down and make it into a finished story. Soon I had a collection of short stories. I couldn’t get it out of my system, I couldn’t stop writing. So, I gave in and bought a computer.
My story collection kept growing and growing until I decided to write something more challenging, a novel. It was a crime novel, and is now hidden safely away in the depths of data storage, never to be seen, but it cemented my desire to write more. I was successful in getting some short stories published and when I finished my second novel, Reign of the Nightmare Prince, it wasn’t long before I received an offer from a publisher. Now, the transition into Fantasy, and then Urban Fantasy was easy. Fantasy and Horror were always what I liked reading and were a part of my short story writing (I still have trouble believing my work frightens anyone) and it seemed a natural transition into writing a modern tale full of magic and mystery.
Hazard of Shadows picks up where The World Below left off. The premise is that all the magical creatures of legend exist. They live in hiding. One of these places in the World Below. Mitch Hardy led a revolt against the despotic leader of the World Below, Baron Finkbeiner. In the second installment of the series, Mitch tries to bring justice to a people that time passed by. Little does he know that the people pulling the Baron’s strings are unhappy with his death, and they send a hellish enemy to teach Mitch a lesson. A major theme of the book is justice, justice for the little guys especially. I also write about friendship and honor. There’s romance too. To me, love is a part of life like breathing.
What was your inspiration for it?
The most unusual aspect of the book are the goblins. In this series, as the name implies, the heroes are goblins and we trace a human’s experience into becoming their leader. I’m not sure where the idea first came from. I knew that another neat and tidy book with beautiful heroes and ugly villains wasn’t for me. As a myth, goblins have such unexplored potential. I’ve made them cute and horrible, like many of us, actually.
Did your book require a lot of research?
None. Ha! Absolutely none at all. Now, the myths of the Sidhe or Elder Race and other creatures of legend are subject that I, and most fantasy readers, are familiar with. I build upon those notions, that history, and bring it into the modern world. The setting is Traverse City, Michigan, the details of which are correct but have come from years of bumming around. Everything else I made up as I went along –call me lazy.
What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
A lot of writers spend a lot of time worrying about their muse and whether or not their talent for writing has finally run its course and gone. I don’t. There’s always something to do. If I don’t feel particularly creative, I might work on some editing. If the editing is too much, there’s always promotions to be done. Writing is something I enjoy, bad days and good. I don’t put myself under too much pressure to accomplish it.
How do you keep your narrative exciting?
Blowing something up or burning something down helps out a lot. Beyond destruction and mayhem I like humor. A good joke at the right time goes a long way.
Me? No, not at all. I write for the pleasure of the creative experience.
How do you define success?
Success comes every day with a well written paragraph, a good joke, a snappy comeback, or a villain getting his or her just deserts.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Thank you so much for having me as your guest and a special thanks to everyone who stuck around until the end. I hope you like the Goblin King Series. Take care, MP.
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