Today we travel to North Wales to chat with Fi Phillips about how a new creative path, blue sky watching, being knocked down by a car, freelance copywriting, being a visual person, writing murder mystery play scripts, Mary Shelley, and Dungeons and Dragons come together as part of Fi’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an author, playwright and copywriter living in North Wales, just over the border from Chester. For years I worked in an office environment until motherhood and my husband’s career moves tugged me into self-employment, dumped me onto a new creative path and turned my dream career into a reality.
I share my home with my husband, our two teenagers and a pooch called Bailey. We live in a green patch in the middle of nowhere where it’s easy to do a lot of blue sky watching.
In which genre do you write?
Fantasy. My current series is futuristic fantasy with lots of sci fi elements.
How many published books do you have?
At the moment just the one – Haven Wakes – which was published by Burning Chair Publishing in October 2019. It’s the first in a series so there are lots more books in the works.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
I was knocked down by a car when I was eight years old and spent several months in hospital recovering. That was when I started to write stories for myself. When I returned home, I wrote more and by the time I had started high school and the teachers were talking about careers, I had decided that I wanted to be an author.
What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?
I’m a visual person. Pictures inspire me much more than any of my other senses, especially vibrantly coloured pictures.
So when I’m writing a scene, I like to picture it happening in my mind and I often look for pictures online to inform my writing.
For instance, when I was writing Haven Wakes, I looked for pictures of old abandoned underground railways stations.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
It would have to be a room of my own with a beautiful view of trees, birds and sky.
My actual writing space ticks some of those boxes. I’ve commandeered the dining room for my study (unless we have an extended family get-together in which case my things are cleared away so we can use the dining table) and outside my window I can see our garden with trees and plenty of sky.
The décor in this room hasn’t been touched since we moved in though and is a little depressing (hence the need for the view outside of the window). Maybe I’ll decorate this room next.
What are you currently reading?
The Infernal Aether by fellow Burning Chair author, Peter Oxley. It’s the first in a gothic fantasy series set in Victorian times where an exiled demon attempts to create Hell on Earth using the ‘Aether’ in the title.
I’m about halfway through and it’s incredibly exciting and swashbuckling.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I’m a freelance copywriter, working with small to medium businesses and marketing agencies. I specialise in writing blog posts and web articles, but also offer a social media service. The magic of the internet means that even though I’m based in North Wales I can help businesses all over the UK and beyond.
In a previous life, I wrote murder mystery play scripts for small fundraising organisations such as theatre groups and schools. Although that business has been put to rest, I still write the occasional murder mystery play for returning clients.
If you could have a fantasy tea with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Could it be a tea party? I’d love to have afternoon tea with Mary Shelley, Aphra Behn and Stephen King.
I’d ask Mary and Aphra how they felt they fared as writers in an ostensibly male-centred world back then, and I’d ask Stephen how he manages to be so prolific.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?
I actually did this last year at Chester Literature Festival. I don’t remember using music to get me in the right mind-frame. Instead, I prepared by reading the excerpt from my book out loud at home so I could get the right intonation and character voices, and to practice my breathing too.
At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?
You’ve achieved the first part of our dream (having a book published), so don’t waste the opportunity to make this into a career. I’m depending on you to make my future amazing.
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
I’m torn between Scooby Doo and Dungeons and Dragons. The appeal of both cartoons is that here is a group of friends taking on the villains together but if I had to choose one, it would be Dungeons and Dragons. Fantasy is my genre after all.
If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?
It would have to be Hartley Keg. He’s not the best or most powerful magical in the world I’ve created but I would love to have his travelling magic.
I wouldn’t need to hop on a plane to visit all those holiday places I’ve visited and loved. I could open a door and be in Venice, or Crete, or Malta, and what is even better is that I could take my family with me too. Wouldn’t that be brilliant?
What are you currently working on?
My current work in progress is the follow up novel to Haven Wakes and Book 2 in the Haven Chronicles. It doesn’t have a title yet, but it takes the same group of friends from the first book and tosses them into a new adventure where they must face the consequences of their heroic acts from Haven Wakes.
Tell us about your most recent book.
Haven Wakes is a futuristic fantasy set in a world where robots are commonplace and nature has been largely pushed back in the name of technological progress. Underneath this sterile existence, however, lies a hidden world of magic.
The story is told through the eyes of two characters, a seemingly normal 12 year old school boy called Steve Haven and a dark fairy figure known only by the name of her race ‘darkling’.
They are joined in their adventure by a whole host of magical individuals and creatures, and their quest to keep a magical device out of the hands of the bad guys will show Steve exactly how strange and dangerous the world he lives in really is.
It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA, Fi! Congratulations on your first published book. All the best to you! – Camilla
The year is 2110. Everyone has their own robot, and magical worlds are just behind the next door.
Steve Haven always thought he was just another ordinary twelve-year-old boy. Well, as ordinary as he can be given that he’s the nephew of Rex Haven, founder of the Haven Robotics Corporation.
But when Rex dies in mysterious circumstances and Steve is given a strange artefact known only as the Reactor, he finds out that the world he thought he knew is a lot stranger and more threatening than he ever imagined.
On the run from dangerous villains, Steve finds himself plunged into a hidden and dangerous magical world. With his parents missing and no one in the normal world he can trust, Steve must join with his new-found magical friends to discover the truth about the Reactor and his uncle’s death.
Haven Wakes is the debut novel by Fi Phillips and the first in The Haven Chronicles, an exciting and enthralling journey through new worlds, both futuristic and magical.
Where to find the book:
Haven Wakes is available through most well-known book retailers. You can find the full details by visiting http://fiphillipswriter.com/books/.
Connect with Fi:
Links for mentions:
Burning Chair Publishing – https://burningchairpublishing.com/
The Infernal Aether – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Infernal-Aether-Book-ebook/dp/B00QO5K8VQ
Peter Oxley – https://peteroxleyauthor.com/
Chester Literature Festival – https://www.storyhouse.com/literature
Scooby Doo – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scooby-Doo
Dungeons and Dragons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_(TV_series)
Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:
- Comment on the interview
- Share the interview using the social media buttons
- Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
- If interested, buy the book and leave a review
To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host