Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Interview: Phil Partington

Phil is a writing enthusiast of many years and he has had non-fiction articles published in national magazines, web publications, governmental trade publications and other media arenas.

He currently has his book Deshay of the Woods on Authonomy for free and you don't need an account to read it! If you'd like top comment of rate the book then you'll need an account which is quick, simple and free (also you can read and rate other great books!)


Now for the interview!



Me: Tell us a little about yourself. 
Phil: I am 31-years-old, and live in the northwestern part of the United States with my wife and infant son. I enjoy telling stories, especially when they include fantastical elements of some kind. My favorite part is developing a storyline. There’s something about connecting the dots of a plot to make things work that gives me a high. My favorite book series is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, I also love the Harry Potter book series, enjoy music and playing guitar, am adopted, and I routinely toss pennies on the ground so that kids and superstitious people can find them and have their day brightened.


Me: Have you always wanted to write? When did it all start?
Phil: I have always been drawn to anything that involves creative thinking. I enjoyed sketching as a child and was eventually drawn to music. In school, the structure and process of writing reports always made more sense to me than mathematics and the sciences, and I suppose that skill translated a bit into storytelling. I recall, at age five, drawing characters with bubbles above their heads. The bubbles had scribbles inside, and I made a habit of going from adult to adult telling the story/dialogue that was written within the bubbles. Of course, the story was always much more elaborate than what could possibly be written in the small bubble, and the story always changed, but I consider that to be the age when I started writing. If that doesn’t count, then I suppose I started in fourth grade when I wrote a story about popcorn characters. I do not remember how the story went exactly, but recall that one of the characters was named Colonel (which I spelled “Kernel”) Caramel Corn.

Me: You have your manuscript uploaded on Authonomy and it's currently doing well. Any other plans for your book?
Phil: I write because I enjoy it, so my plans are a bit limiting in that I haven’t given it much thought. I’m pretty humbled that it’s done as well as it has, and chock it up to having received extremely helpful, constructive feedback. Once (if) I make the top five on Authonmy.com and get a review from Harper Collins, I would like to pitch it to an agent and see if it goes anywhere. I do have a sequel in the works, tentatively titled “The Blood Gardens.” Originally, TBG was book one of the series, and Deshay of the Woods was a mere component of that book. I separated it for many reasons, the main one being I liked it as a standalone tale. TBG is written from the POV of two new characters whose story parallels the events of DotW. Eventually, the characters’ paths will cross, but probably not so much in TBG.
Me: What inspired you to write Deshay of the Woods (DotW)?
Phil: In college (about nine years ago), I was involved in an online writing community (not Authonomy). After college, I fell out of writing fiction, instead focusing on trades/technical writing as part of my profession. A couple years ago, an online writing friend from that site (who now goes by the writing alias, Anastasia Rabiyah) started encouraging me to get back into writing fiction. She had since co-founded an independent publishing company, called The Purple Sword Publications, which was geared toward romance and erotica writing. I told her the idea I had for a story and she helped me with the first draft. DotW was even published for nearly a year through The Purple Sword, but I eventually asked to have the rights back as I realized it needed a lot of work (That, and it wasn’t really a romance story, even if it did have romantic elements). Ana obliged me with my request, and I’ve significantly changed the story since (hopefully for the better). It went from 27K words to over 50K and has seen dramatic improvements thanks in part to a lot of helpful feedback from other authors, many of whom provided the feedback via the Authonomy website. I’m not exactly sure where the idea of DotW came from, I sometimes credit it to parts of different stories I’ve read and loved in the past, but I have to credit Anastasia for motivating me to write fiction again.

Me: Did you enjoy writing DotW?
Phil: Very much so, and I’ve enjoyed learning how to be a more effective novel writer throughout the process. I think I have much more to learn, but I am improving.

Me: What is you biggest dream when it comes to your future in writing?
Phil: If I’m dreaming, I’d love for DotW or something I wrote to have some noteworthy success. I would love to see my book on the shelf of a well-known bookstore, or being considered as a Blockbuster film. If I’m setting more realistic goals, my dream is simply to finish the series to the point where I’m satisfied and can look upon it with pride.

Me: Have you picked up any valuable advice you'd like to share with fellow writers?
Phil: I have two pieces of advice: 
  •     Enjoy the process, because it sucks sometimes and it can be very easy to quit midstream. If you’re ever at a point where things feel like you have to force it, take a break from what you’re working on and perhaps work on a scene of the story that is meant for a much later part of the novel.
  • Make a point to take criticism with an objective eye. Some people who criticize your work simply don’t know what they’re talking about, and others just seem to enjoy telling writers how bad they are. If you’re putting your writing out there, you’re going to take some negative feedback; it’s just the nature of the beast. With that in mind, just because a reviewer tells you something you may not want to hear does not mean their points are not valid and should not be taken to heart. The trick is deciphering how helpful the critique is and whether or not it’s constructive. Is the person telling you something is wrong or bad without offering suggestions on how to improve it? Is the reviewer narrow minded, or is there ample justification to support the reviewer’s point? Are follow up questions for clarity necessary? I believe everything an author puts on paper should be deliberate, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and look at the text you’ve written with an objective, analytical eye. 

    Quick-fire Questions: 

Me: Vampire or Werewolf? 
Phil: Werewolf. (silver bullets are harder to come by than the sun or crosses)
Me: Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?
Phil: Harry Potter
Me: Fast food or a home-cooked meal?
Phil: home-cooked meal
Me:  Summer or winter? 
Phil: Summer (though I prefer the winter holidays and the sports seasons J)


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