Indie Author Interview - Introducing Fi Phillips
It's time for another Indie Author interview. This time I chat to the charmingly talented Fi Phillips. Enjoy!
1. If you could begin by introducing yourself Fi , letting us know who you are, where you are from, and how we can find your writing online.
Hi Jon, lovely to be here.
I like to describe myself as a fantasy author and real-life copywriter. I’m originally from York but for the past decade and a bit, I’ve lived in North Wales with my family and more recently a pooch called Bailey. My passion is writing about magical possibilities.
You can find my writing at most online book stores, on my publisher Burning Chair’s website, and I’ve linked to it through my website too.
2. Ah a fellow fantasy author! Is there anything in particular you would like to promote today?
Well, thanks for asking. My debut novel Haven Wakes was published by Burning Chair in 2019. It’s a YA futuristic fantasy. How should I describe it? Magic, robots, murder, a shadow that comes to life, and a boy searching for the truth.
The follow-up novel is with my publishers at the moment, so fingers crossed that’ll be out later in 2021.
3. Sounds wonderfully magical. How long have you been writing for, and what initially inspired you?
I tell this story on the About page of my website, but I was involved in a car accident as a child and spent several months in hospital. I developed the writing bug during my stay as a way to alleviate the boredom of being bed-ridden. It’s a habit that stayed with me when I went home.
So you could say that I’ve been writing for decades, and several of them.
4. What is your favourite book/books and would you say you have a favourite genre and author?
As a reader, I go back time and time again to fantasy, but I’ll happily read a well-crafted horror too. Having said that, I’m not so much into traditional fantasy like Tolkien these days. I much prefer fantasy in the now or a future setting.
Favourite authors include Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Mary Shelley, Terry Brooks, and Sheri S Tepper.
Favourite books include Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Da Da De Da Da Code by Robert Rankin, and Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
5. Ah brilliant, a wonderful collection there. Tell me how do you get started when you write a story? Do you write notes, or do you see what comes?
I brainstorm. I write down every detail that I’ve already imagined – characters, book title, what if’s, settings, plot-lines – and then see what questions all of those lead to. I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who is happy to throw ideas around with me too.
I’m a flexible plotter. I like to have a skeleton route to write along, but I’m also aware that I may have to rejig the plot as I go. That might be down to a character unexpectedly going off on a tangent that I could never have predicted (in my current series, that’s usually Hartley Keg) or as a result of the edits my publisher sends back to me.
6. A big planner then. Even more than me. Then we move onto the actual writing of the story. How long did it take you to write Haven Wakes, and what challenges popped up on the way?
Haven Wakes has been with me for a long, long time but under different titles and in other formats. This final version, pre-publishing deal, probably took me around 2 years to write. Once Burning Chair said yes, it took me about another six months to get it into the right shape to be published.
Challenges? Well, like everyone, finding enough time around work and family commitments is always a juggling act. Self doubt – is this good enough or am I fooling myself? Pre publishing deal, I was definitely writing in the dark with no idea of what a publisher or agent would accept.
7. Self doubt - that helpful writer friend! With Haven Wakes published, how have you found marketing your book? What do you find works for you and what doesn’t?
I actually enjoy marketing and I’ve learnt a lot since Haven Wakes was published. I think it’s difficult having the first book in a series out though, because a lot of people don’t want to read book one until books two, three and so on are out. Obviously, I’m working on that.
I send out a monthly Author News to my mailing list, I blog, and I regularly post on social media too. What works best for me is seeing book marketing as a conversation with my readers. It isn’t sell-sell-sell. Instead, it’s both sides getting something out of the exchange.
8. I like it, solid advice there. Better get going with my book 2 as well. Have you met any particularly interesting people in the Twitter #writingcommunity?
So many. First of course, there’s the Burning Chair family. That’s Pete and Si who run Burning Chair, and the brilliant Liz Adams who pens their newsletter. The Burning Chair authors - people like Richard Wall, Richard Ayre, and Niki Baker - are a joy to talk/tweet to.
I’m also forever grateful to poet Lily Lawson who constantly supports the writing community with her retweets and book reviews.
9. There is some great advice on your website for new #indieauthors. Do you have any key tips for anyone getting started?
Write. Don’t worry about quality or polish at this point. Just get the words down. You can’t edit blank pages.
Read extensively and not just books in your genre of choice. Reading a range of other authors’ works can inspire and also teach you so much about wordsmithery.
Find your community. The writing community on Twitter is inclusive and generous, but there are many Facebook writing groups that are a joy too, groups like Savvy Writers.
10. Going to have to check out Savvy Writers. You've kinda already answered this but what are you currently working on? Should we expect any new work coming out in the near future?
I’ve just submitted the latest edited draft of the follow-up novel to Haven Wakes to Burning Chair. If all goes well, it should be published later this year.
I’m also working on a non fiction book that marries my copywriting and author skills.
11. Good luck! Will have to keep an eye out of for it. What is your favourite thing about writing?
My favourite thing about writing has to be introducing readers to characters that I love. I also enjoy the way that characters sometimes surprise me, even though I have a writing plan and should know what they’ll do next.
12. And finally could you tell us an odd fact/story about yourself that not many people know?
I’m a bit of an open book and I blether on a lot on social media so there probably isn’t much, odd or mundane, that people don’t know about me.
How about this? I once opened the door to an old woman whose back was covered in matted layers of cobwebs. I didn’t let her in.
An old lady covered in cobwebs? Given me the heebie jeebies a bit! Think I'll leave it like that. Thank you Fi! If you're a Indie Author and would like to have your own little interview send me a message on Twitter (@JonBolithoJones) or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. More importantly if you want to find RFi online you can do so by the following ways:
Author News sign-up: http://fiphillipswriter.com/subscribe/
Haven Wakes on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haven-Wakes-Chronicles-Book-One-ebook/dp/B07WJ4YFNX
With that it's bye for now. I'll be back soon!