CT Phipps - Drop and Give me 20! 20 Hard Questions for Hard Writers
I'd like to introduce CT "Charles" Phipps, author of Rules of Supervillainy, Cthulhu Armageddon, Straight out of Fangton and more! We met when we were under the same publisher and he introduced me to Jim Bernheimer who later published my first book.
Now, enough of the this nicety crap, on with the freaking interview!
CT Phipps - DROP AND GIVE ME 20! - 20 Hard Questions For Hard Writers
1. Are you “An Author” -or “A Writer”
2. What’s the difference?
An author is someone who writes a novel. A writer is someone who writes anything.
3. Do You Google yourself?
No. *googles himself* Okay, maybe a little. *looks for new reviews* Okay, okay, I google myself all the time and am constantly looking for new reviews! Why did you have to drag it from me!? J
4. No bullshit, what’s your favorite thing you’ve written?
The Rules of Supervillainy was pretty damn fun to write. Cthulhu Armageddon is probably my most ambitious and detailed project. All of my books are things I’m proud of, though. My latest book, Wraith Knight, is my answer to the Tolkien-esque, “Happily ever after.” It basically starts with the premise, “Okay, so if Sauron is dead then what happens to the Ringwraiths and orcs? Do they get blamed? They were Sauron’s slaves too.” I’m also a fan of Lucifer’s Star which I wrote with Michael Suttkus based on the premise, “So, what if we crossed Star Wars, Firefly, and Bladerunner while making it R-rated?”
5. What is the last book you read which made you cry?
I don’t cry at the end of books. I cried at the end of Bioshock: Infinite and The Last of Us, though.
6. What popular movie/book/music which others adore, but you do not?
I do not get Breaking Bad. I think it’s because the premise is we’re supposed to believe Walt is going to be corrupted across a multiple season journey but it starts with the premise he’s becoming a meth dealer. I think that’s taking a flying leap off the slippery slope.
7. What is your biggest fear?
8. How many hours a day do you write?
Whenever I can get the free time to do it. Usually about three hours a day if I’m lucky.
9. What book written by someone else, do you wish you wrote first?
I wish I had been the person to come up with Eragon. I remember reading that and thinking, “I’m the same age as this guy and could have come up with this.” It inspired me to become professional about writing. I also wish I wrote Soon I Will Be Invincible since I could have become the pillar of deconstructive superhero literature. On the plus side, if not the first guy to do it, I’m certainly one of the first to do Post-Apocalypse H.P. Lovecraft fiction.
10. What is the worst criticism you ever received?
My first attempt at a novel was said to have a Gary Stu who all the women in the novel loved and was unrealistically noble as well as a wish-fulfillment character. Which he was. It was a terrible-terrible manuscript.
11. How did it make you feel?
Defensive. Which was the worst attitude to have.
12. How long/how many rejections did you get before someone gave you your shot?
13. What was your favorite scene to write?
There’s a scene in Cthulhu Armageddon where I realized I had to kill one of the main characters or it wouldn’t feel like the dark and disturbing universe it’s supposed to be. The realization not only did I have to do it but it made the story better was kind of a milestone marker for me. I did something similar at the end of The Games of Supervillainy and the story was stronger for it. I think this is what George R.R. Martin must feel.
14. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your writer’s ego?
5-6. Being an independent auteur keeps my ego in check as I haven’t yet hit the millions. I will say I have a funny system for increasing my ego. For example, I get really happy when I get hate mail from people who hate the fact I have GLBT characters in my books. I also enjoyed getting a letter from a reader who thanked me for having a Black protagonist in Cthulhu Armageddon despite (or perhaps because of) Lovecraft’s racism.
15. How comfortable are you with writing sex/sensual scenes?
I’m generally a “fade to black” sort of guy. Despite this, sex always plays a role in my books. I think it’s an important part of the human experience that characters want it, have it, and are motivated by it. Characters use it to manipulate each either, feel frustrated by its absence, or are surrounded by it as a symbol of the setting’s attitudes.
16. Have you ever been in a fight/punched in the face?
Yes. I was a nerd who was constantly getting in fights in high school. The irony of being a gigantic dork who was shaped like a football player.
17. What advice can you give to new writers?
Diversity your publication. If you can afford it, try and make audiobook versions of your book. Make a strong social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, and a webpage). Always take criticism of your work seriously and adjust your manuscripts accordingly. Network with other authors, especially by trading reviews (but be honest). Don't expect to just put your books up on Amazon and be able to quit your job. Don't be surprised if one book is a success while others aren't. Work on multiple books and don't quit your day job.
18. What is your writing kryptonite?
I take on too many projects and can easily get myself neck-deep in problems as a result. You should always moderate your ambitions. For example, I had about three years of writing done before my first novel was published. I ended up getting the rest of my manuscripts published after the success of The Rules of Supervillainy. Which meant I had a lot out at once when I should have gradually released them to give them the care and attention they deserved.
19. Have you ever written yourself into a corner, and if so, what did you do?
I did. I got halfway through a novel which I was certain would be the big epic sequel to a previous novel--then realized, halfway through, that I hated it. I didn’t want to throw away all of my progress and start over but, in the end, that’s exactly what I did. Art shouldn’t be compromised by laziness—I could do better even if it would take time.
20. If you were to die tomorrow, which book of yours would you want people to remember you by?
Tough call. I’d have to say it’s a toss-up between Cthulhu Armageddon and The Rules of Supervillainy. Cthulhu Armageddon is a novel where I got to create an entirely new world while also making use of some of my favorite monsters. The Rules of Supervillainy is also my most popular work and also the silly, crazy, and yet still dramatic fun which I just make from the heart.