An Interview With
Sam M. Phillips is the co-founder of Zombie Pirate Publishing and the editor/publisher of fifteen books. His short stories and poetry have appeared in over fifty magazine and anthologies worldwide, and he runs the poetry blog BIG CONFUSING WORDS.
His debut collection of stories, INFINITY AND I: Seventy Science Fiction Stories, is out now.
Check out his work before you get to know the man?
Often it is in our childhood days that we realize what we’d like to do when we grow up. Stories are now an essential part of your life. When was the first time you fell in awe with a story, and consequently, the art of storytelling?
I loved reading from a young age and recited poetry at eisteddfods, I don’t remember a specific book which switched me on. I enjoyed playing with toys and telling stories, living in a fantasy world. I remember reading books like the Goosebumps series and Rowan of Rinn as a child.
I used to love Goosebumps! Can you recall the very first story you wrote? When was this? What was it about?
It was a story about a young girl and her brother going to visit their parents in an old mining town. They go for a walk and see a glimpse of the town in the past during the gold rush. It was published in the school newsletter.
What inspires you to write?
A demon inside me.
You’re a creator of many different beautiful stories. For an author, stories are like kids, and it’s impossible to pick a favorite. But will you still try?
Let’s go with my novella INTO THE EYE. It’s my longest work published to date and reflects a lot of my deeper ideas about fate and addiction.
Which authors do you look up to? Whose works do you enjoy the most? Your favourite quote?
George Orwell, Franz Kafka, H.P. Lovecraft. Lots, really. A quote?
“When all is said and done, heaven lies in my heart.” By the band Napalm Death. That’s a good one.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you come up with ideas spontaneously or you lay some groundwork before you actually start writing?
I just make stuff up on the fly. It then informs itself and the goal becomes clear as we go. I sometimes have a vague idea where it’s going beforehand, don’t often plot a lot out though.
What are the steps in your creative process? How many drafts do you go through until you’re satisfied with the end result?
I write once and then edit for grammar.
In a week, how many hours do you usually write? What’s your secret to keep writing regularly? Do you prefer writing in the wee hours of morning, or after midnight?
When I first wake up before I get bogged down in the day and the dreamlike mind gets lost in mundane stuff. I write for an hour or two a day.
Is your family supportive about your creative endeavors? Who is your go to buddy when something goes wrong and you need a shoulder? Do you belong to any awesome writer circles?
We’re lucky to have a support writing community on the Zombie Pirate Publishing Facebook page and website. www.zombiepiratepublishing.com has all the contacts and links.
How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies? Do you watch TV shows or listen to music?
I play drums in a death metal band, walk, read, and paint miniatures.
That’s a lot of free time, man. Lol
Is there anything about you—strange likings or personality quirks—that no one knows yet? Would you like to share them?
I’m fairly open with my weird side in my works.
Guess we’ll have to read your stuff to find out. I wonder what about your Black Veins story reveals about you. Now that I think of it, yeah, it does make sense : )
What are your big writing goals?
A long career walking my own path.
I’m sure you’ll have one.
Do you have any dreams that go beyond the field of writing?
Music and spiritual goals I’ve set for myself.
You’re a terrific writer. What writing tips would you like to give to upcoming writers? What is the most important rule of fiction? What makes a story brilliant?
Just keep trying and find what it is that’s unique about you. It’s a blend of hard work—learning the basics and nuts and bolts of grammar and what makes a good sentence, sitting down and giving things a go—and artistic genius and inspiration. Spend the time to get good at your skill set, and spend the time discovering your higher self, the inner voice which will speak through you.
Okay, so you mean we all need to find our inner devil voice. Cute XD And that part about finding your unique stuff, yes, that’s a seriously good advice.
This was such a delightful interview! Thank you so much for your time, Sam. It was great having you. All the best for your upcoming projects!
Sam is one of the owners of Zombie Pirate Publishing, an awesome fiction publisher based in Australia. Do check them out!