A: I've always been an avid reader, and throughout school
I was told I wrote well. But the desire to write novels, or anything other than rap lyrics just wasn't there. The budding
rap career never did take off though, and by that time I had a serious love affair with words, so I had to find some way of
expressing myself. I didn't know what it would be, or what it would entail, but I knew somehow I would continue my journey
with words. Then I happened upon DISAPPEARING ACTS by Terry McMillan. That book planted the seed of thought for me to try
a novel. I dabbled on one but it never really took off. Then, while on vacation about seven years ago, I came upon MILK
IN MY COFFEE by Eric Jerome Dickey. That book watered the seed, for real. From the moment I closed the book all I thought
about was writing my own novel.
Q: How many novels in all have you written?
A: Counting the novels that I now consider homework, the
novels that will never see publication, five. The published novels are: PLAYING WITH DESTINY (April '05), GROWN AND SEXY (April
Q: How long did it take you to write your first
A: I'll answer for my first published novel, PLAYING WITH
DESTINY. I worked on it for about seven months, put it aside, came back and tweaked it over the course of another two months.
Then, when it was accepted for publication, there was another small polish done. All together, it took close to a year of
Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your
stories? Are the characters based on real people?
A: My inspiration comes from observing life. I've gotten
story ideas by something someone has said or done. I've gotten story ideas from television, the newspaper, dreams. In every
case I start with a "What if" situation and the novel is the exploration of that question. As for the characters, there are
certainly small similarities to real people I've encountered, but for the most part the fun is in creating something from
scratch. Writing is the only opportunity I get to play God.
Q: Tell us about your latest release "Grown
A: Grown implies maturity and responsibility. Sexy is that
carnal part of our nature. Sometimes the two collide. Sometimes our sexuality isn't mature or responsible. That's what I wanted
to explore with the novel. My vehicle for exploring the collision of grown and sexy is an ex-con who comes out of prison so
much closer to God. His journey outside those four walls ends with him as Baptist minister. That's the grown part of his being.
He's made mistakes, but atoned for them, and is moving to greater things. But then, a woman in the church who he shouldn't
get involved with becomes his passion. That's the sexy part of the equation. That's the collision. It makes for some good
drama, too, I believe.
Q: After writing your first novel, did you self-publish??
If so, how was that experience?
A: I did a brief little self-publishing thing for my first
novel, which I just don't talk about anymore. I was unprepared for the game at that point, in my writing ability, and in my
approach to this difficult business. I took some lumps and learned some valuable lessons, so all was not lost. I have tremendous
respect for those that self-publish successfully. It isn't easy.
Q: What feedback have you received from fans?
A: The feedback has been tremendous. A lot of positive feelings
for the story, and most importantly, my writing ability. Which is important to me, because I don't want to just tell a good
story, I want to tell a good story with style and substance.
Q: What authors do you admire? Did one of them inspire
A: The list of authors I admire is too long to even begin
to divulge. But I will say that Terry McMillan and Eric Jerome Dickey inspired me to do this writing thing. Margaret Johnson-Hodge
and Timmothy McCann mentored me as to the business. They took me by the hand and led me every step of the way. I valued that
so much because they both are such tremendous writers. My list of favorite authors is a mile long, but hands down my favorite
genre to read is crime fiction. Lawrence Block, George Pelecanos, Dennis Lehane, Daniel Woodrell...and on and on.
Q: Is writing your only passion?
A: Writing, family, God, life.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Hopefully I've grown as a writer, continued to write
good stories, continued to take chances. I'd think my readership will be established at that point, and whether it is fifty
or fifty thousand I will consider it a blessing to have anyone read my stories.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
A: Sharpen the skills first. Too many writers start writing
a story in May and want the glory of publication by "no later than July". LOL. I was there at one point, so I understand the
anxiousness. But the best thing an aspiring writer can do is write, develop the discipline to sit down and see a story from
beginning to end. There are many in this who I consider sprinters. The goal is to be a marathon man/woman. I think any writer
who has honed his or her craft is better prepared for a distance run in this business.
Q: What would you like readers to learn from your stories?
A: I consider my stories deep emotional journeys. I want my readers
to not only experience that with the characters, but I also want them to come away from my novels with a desire to explore
the deeper mysteries of themselves and those they love. I received a great deal of reader feedback about PLAYING WITH DESTINY
making them reevaluate the relationships with their siblings and parents. Mission accomplished.
Q: Are you working on another novel? If so, What
is it about?
A: Just agreed in principle to a contract for two more books.
So y'all are stuck with me for a little while longer at least. APPLE BROWN BETTY will be out next year, April '07. It examines
a relationship complicated by lies and more lies...and a character lurking in the shadows who will do just about anything
to make sure the relationship does not prosper. It was an enjoyable writing experience for me. I mixed point of views and
did some other things I've never done in writing before. That's the thing for me, to flex a different muscle with each book.
Q: Where can people purchase your books? Do you have a
A: The usual places: amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, the
chain bookstores, anywhere where books are sold (always wanted to say that). My website is www.phillwrite.com. Surf on through readers, and when you're done surfing, towel off
and send an email to email@example.com.