Interview with Mike Phillips, author of Hazard of Shadows

Inside the Book:

Title: Hazard of Shadows
Author:Mike Phillips
Publisher: Caliburn Press
Pages: 280
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ecopy/Paperback

The enchanted creatures of legend still exist, taking refuge from an age of camera phones and government labs in a secret place called the World Below. After leading a revolution against Baron Finkbeiner, the despotic ruler of the World Below, Mitch Hardy has taken the throne. Unknown to him, ancient powers are at work. The Lords of Faerie seek to revenge the death of Baron Finkbeiner and recover the mysterious Blade of Caro. Soon Mitch is fighting for his life against hellish monsters, the likes of which he never imagined.
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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Mike.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A:  Thanks for having me. I appreciate having the chance to talk with your audience. My background isn’t all that remarkable. I grew up in a Midwestern, middle class family. I went to a public school and public university. What started me on this path, however, is unusual in modern terms. I grew up on a farm. My parents had traditional values. During the summer, rather than letting my brothers and I waste away in front of the television to reruns of lame sit-coms, they made us work. We pulled weeds and shoveled manure and tended sheep and did all the other chores families have been doing for hundreds of years. Our only entertainment was trips to Lake Michigan, board games, Garrison Keillor on Saturdays, and most importantly, weekly trips to the library. I hated it at the time. I didn’t understand. Some of your readers won’t be able to figure why my parents did it. Some won’t understand why more don’t do the same. As an adult, I see now how this lifestyle caused my parents as much hardship as it did for their sons. But it gave us strength and certain knowledge of our abilities. My brothers and I are all successful, but in a way that is of service to others. Now I can thank my parents for what they did. I hope I become a fraction of the man and the woman that raised me. As many of your readers will no doubt know, writing is a hobby for me. I don’t seek fame or fortune, which is good, because it’s not come. My joy is in creating stories and the written word and spreading a little happiness and magic in the world. 

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: Hazard of Shadows is Book Two in my Goblin King series.  When I began the series, I knew that I wanted to do an urban fantasy of some kind, but I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted it to go. I’m not interested in comic book heroes that never lose, or tragic, flawed heroes. That’s all been done before. So I took the lowest of the low and low and wrote about their challenges, how sticking together makes all the difference. Beyond that, it was about the writing. I wanted to write what is sometimes ugly things, but do it in a beautiful or at least interesting way. Last of all is the mayhem. I love stories with crazy, unpredictable stuff going on. If you’ve read The World Below, you know what I mean.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A:  For a writer, the day to day obligations of earning a living, making time for family, and enjoying life as it comes can be the most challenging. Writers write. Finding time every day to do what you love and being in the right frame of mind to do it when the chance finally arrives, though not very glamorous to talk about, I think is one of the biggest challenges. 

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A:  I’ve done a few reading groups and some radio, but generally I’m horrible. Yes, my jokes fall flat, my voice cracks, I draw a blank, or the section I chose to read suddenly has inappropriate content. I guess I don’t know what people want to hear. I’m not all that interesting, which compounds the problem. That’s why everyone should pay more attention to book blog interviews, they’re the best!

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A:  No, I haven’t had much luck with agents. I’ve been through a number of them, but they were never able to do anything for me. At this point in my writing career, I’m reconsidering that position, however. It’s always good to get help and advice from others. Maybe now I’ll be able to find someone to help me take the next step.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A:  No, no blitz for me. It’s too impersonal. Mostly, I go to the book blogs myself. Sometimes I use a tour company to help me out. I like being in closer contact with the bloggers and the readers. This is to me is one of the best parts of writing, meeting new people and hearing how they liked my work.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Lots of projects are in the works. My Sci-Fi streak just won’t be denied. Reign of the Nightmare Prince and Dawn of Ages have been out for a while, but a new one is on the way. We are editing Lost Amidst the Cosmic Storm as I struggle to keep up with interviews and promotions for Hazard of Shadows. So, if you are interested, we may be talking again some time soon. Summer release is what they are saying at Caliburn Press, so keep your fingers crossed. For those of you who like the Goblin King, don’t worry. Book three is shaping up to be the best yet. Look for news on that next year. 
Q: Thank you for your interview, Mike.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Thanks for having me as your guest. It was fun. I hope your readers check out my books and let me know what they think. My website is See you there! MP

Meet the Author

Mike Phillips grew up on a small farm in West Michigan, living much the way people did at the turn of the century. Whether it was growing fruits and vegetables or raising livestock, Mike learned the value of hard work and responsibility at a young age.

While his friends spent their summers watching reruns of bad sitcoms, Mike’s father gave him a very special gift. He turned off the television. With what was affectionately referred to as “the idiot box” no longer a distraction, Mike was left to discover the fantastic worlds that only exist in books. When not tending sheep, gardening, building furniture, chopping wood, or just goofing off, Mike spent his time reading.

With all that hard work at home, Mike was always eager to go to school. He excelled as a student and went on to pursue a career in the sciences. Working as a Safety Engineer in the Insurance Industry, Mike soon became bored with the corporate grind. Writing engaged him like nothing else. After a few novels and numerous short stories, he thought getting published would be a pretty neat idea. And so, here it goes…

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