|The next author stepping up to the plate and sharing with us is Phil. Hats off to Phil for a very interesting interview. I look forward to more of these as time goes on.
Q1: Why did you get into writing?
I think the seed was my innate desire to communicate with people, and perhaps turn them on to things they may be unaware of.
Q2: What inspired you to write Beyond The Darkness?
I was sick and tired of seeing films I love being torn to shreds by the critics, and I just wanted to ’fight their corner’ so to speak. That was the main inspiration. Not all the reviews in my book are positive though, far from it. I felt it was important to balance things up with a few not-so-positive reviews so that it wouldnt resemble some ’fanboy’ geek type of book (which it could easily have been!).
The book started as a blog that I had running for a while; I originally planned to write a complete A-Z guide for horror, cult, and extreme cinema, but soon realised it was just mad ambition and would take forever to complete, and so I settled on around 180 films. The blog has since been taken down to keep the folks at Amazon happy. Writing the book was a joy, but of course some films inspired me to write more than others. There were a couple of difficult and frustrating moments in putting the book together but on the whole it has been a very worthwhile experience…
Q3: What were the difficulties in writing your book?
Mostly factual/research stuff. Y’see, some of the films I covered are very obscure and finding information about them was sometimes difficult. Often the answers could not even be found at the usually reliable IMDB. The filmmakers themselves were difficult to contact and many of them dont speak English.
I interviewed the beautiful Asia Argento http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000782/ and it went really well. The phonecall to Rome cost me an arm and a leg but it was worth it. She was polite, engaging, and seemed to be genuinely interested in the book. It was my first interview and I was so proud. But there was a problem; the device I used to record the conversation was faulty – either that or my laptop was the problem – and the recording is lost. Devastated! I can remember the gist of most of her answers but decided not publish the half-remembered interview as it would be a disservice, and I wouldn’t want to misquote her.
Another frustrating moment was my attempted interview with Crispin Glover. Glover is best known as a Hollywood actor who has appeared in Back To The Future, Charlie’s Angels, and Willard, etc. But in his spare time he likes to get behind the camera and direct his own films which are much more disturbing and challenging, and as far-removed from Hollywood as one can get.
One of his films features Stephen C.Stewart, an actor who suffered from cerebral palsy, and in one scene he falls head-first down some stone steps. Now, early in the interview I asked Crispin why he
Maybe he was offended by my probing, or maybe he could sense my moral outrage at the inclusion of such a scene. I don’t know. But for whatever reason he hung up on me! Maybe he didn’t expect to be held to account by a nobody like myself, or maybe there was a fault on the line (he was in the Czech Republic when I called). Who knows. But I didn’t write the book so that I could kiss anyones arse. I wanted facts, but oh well, it was a learning curve at least.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom and frustration. My interview with Nick Zedd went very well. There are interviews available on Youtube with Zedd and in the past he sometimes gave interviewers a tough time, but he was completely honest, open, and forthright in his conversation with me. He was also happy to help out with stills assistance for the book for which I’ll always be grateful. Zedd also inspired me to self-publish; the ’Do-It-Yourself’ punk aesthetic has always fascinated me, and especially nowadays with the power of the internet, it seems the obvious thing to do…
Another good thing about my book that I must tell you about is that it reached NO.1 on Amazon’s Bestseller rankings for a few days in the ’Reference/Encyclopedia’ section, on both sides of the Atlantic. And I shall boast about that fact until the end of my days! The book has also sold surprisingly well in Germany which is still a mystery to me…
Q4: Another good looking book cover – how did you create it? If you paid someone to help – was it expensive?
Thank you. It is a pretty cool cover. The credit goes to my good friend Jenny Sinclair who created it for me. She used software that is free and easy to use online.
If Jenny is interested in joining MYO – I can link to her profile here
Q5: What are your favourite books?
I like anything that is dark, challenging, disturbing. Anything from William Burroughs to Zola. I love horror fiction, novels, and short stories. Reference books on film, art, music, true crime, etc. Bizarro fiction. And more horror. My favourite authors are people like Jack Ketchum, Jean Baudrillard, Stephen Thrower, and Brian Evenson.
You can view some of Phil’s favourite books here: http://make-your-offer.com/my_favourites.php?pid=61
Q6: How many books do you have available for sale?
Just the one at the moment; BEYOND THE DARKNESS: Cult, Horror, And Extreme Cinema.
Q7: Do you have any plans to write more books?
At some point in the future yes. I have many ideas for novels, novellas, and shorts. Mostly horror fiction but I will also try some black comedy at some point. I’m also a musician and at the moment it’s my rock band that takes up most of my time and energy… There may also be a Beyond The Darkness Volume 2 in the future with more reviews, articles, and interviews – that is if anyone will talk to me!
MYO edit: Interesting that you’re also in a band – I think the “Make Your Offer” works equally well for unsigned artists – a little like how radiohead did a “pay want you want” for their In Rainbows albumn. MYO lets you do something similar – but retain control of how much you “give it away for”. I didn’t want to “over-load” the website with “is it books, is it music?”. I’ve kept the title as “Products” and some point I’m wondering whether expanding to the music scene would be a good idea.
You can read about radiohead’s success here: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1666973,00.html
Q8: Why did you decide to join MYO?
I think it’s a great opportunity to be part of something new, not just as a self-published writer, but also as a book-lover too. I always enjoy a good haggle when I’m out shopping, and MYO gives us the oppotunity to approach authors with offers that are a bit lower than the RRP. MYO could be the start of something great; a community of book-lovers who are free to create a platform and rally to a cause – of being proud independent writers. I feel so lucky to have been invited here and to be part of this. Let’s just hope that this venture will blossom into a huge success.
But for that to happen we’ve got to spread the word and invite others along. I’m very excited about MYO, chiefly because we can all help and support each other in doing what we love to do. And also because this website is brand spanking new, and if there is ever a ’goldrush’ at MYO, us lucky few members who got here first will never miss out on that kind of action! So thanks for this opportunity, let’s make it happen!
Q9: Where do you do most of your writing? (Do you have a special place that you go to?)
I don’t really have a special place to write. I suppose the good thing about writing non-fiction is that the usual setbacks – such as writer’s block or a lack of inspiration, etc – don’t usually apply. For example, in the case of my book if I felt myself to be in a creative slump, all I had to do was watch a gruesome horror DVD and bingo! I had page after page of ready-made inspiration! When I eventually get round to writing fictional pieces I expect it will be a whole new ball-game of having to rely almost entirely on my own imagination. But I look forward to the challenge.
So although there’s no particular place where I do most of my writing, I do have one rule; I must be alone when I write. If I get distracted by anyone I will probably turn into Jack Torrence from The Shining and will hunt them down with an axe…
Phil’s book “BEYOND THE DARKNESS: Cult, Horror, And Extreme Cinema” is currently listed in KDP Select until 11th May. He hopes to then list his book on MYO. You can viewe Phil’s profile and learn more about him here: http://make-your-offer.com/members/philhfc/