Welcome Leighgendaries to the twenty third edition of 10 Questions With…
Today, our guest is:
I will let Philip Harris introduce himself and then we will jump right into:
10 Questions With Philip Harris
Before we get to the questions, tell us about yourself.
I was born in England but now live on the west coast of Canada where I spend my days developing video games and my nights writing speculative fiction – anything from horror to science fiction to fantasy.
My first publication, Letter From a Victim, appeared in the award-winning magazine, Peeping Tom, in 1995 (gulp, that’s a long time ago). Since then I’ve been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including Garbled Transmissions, So Long, and Thanks for All The Brains, and James Ward Kirk’s Best of Horror 2013.
My indie publishing career began towards the end of last year when I published three short stories (Bottled Lightning, Curfew, and Saviour), closely followed by The Girl in the City, a dystopian science fiction novella set in Michael Bunker’s world of Pennsylvania. My most recent release is Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet, a science fiction novel inspired by the old Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon serials from the 1930s
I have also worked as security for Darth Vader.
1.) What is something that many people might not know about you?
I once queued for over two hours to get some books signed by Neil Gaiman and was too starstruck to say anything to him when I finally met him. I did take a photo, though.
2.) What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always been a storyteller. When I was young, I used to get to sleep by making up adventure stories set in the woods near our house. As I got older, I moved on to writing stories down instead of just keeping them in my head.
Those stories were a lot darker, though. Writers like Stephen King, Clive Barker and Poppy Z Brite showed me that I wasn’t the only person coming up with these weird ideas and it was inevitable that I’d start trying to follow in their footsteps at some point.
3.) Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
That’s a tough one – there’re so many great writers out there – but I’m going to go with Caitlin R. Kiernan. She’s a fantastic author who isn’t as well known as she should be. Her prose is phenomenal and she creates incredibly rich, imaginative stories, packed with originality. If I ever get to write half as well as she does, I’ll die a happy little author.
I love all her books (even the Siobhan Quinn series she wrote under a pseudonym) but especially Daughter of Hounds, Murder of Angels and The Drowning Girl. Her short fiction is even better. Oh, and she writes a great comic series for Dark Horse called Alabaster.
4.) If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’m tempted to say Neil Gaiman, but I’ve been fortunate to meet him since that first signing and did actually have a brief conversation with him. So, I’m going to go with Ray Bradbury. By all accounts he was a really friendly, helpful guy, and I’d love to spend some time with such a master storyteller.
5.) What book are you reading now?
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. It’s pretty good, I think he’s going to be big.
6.) Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Apart from that Stephen King guy, I was really impressed with Daniel Arthur Smith’s Hugh Howey Lives – it’s a very well crafted tale that keeps demanding I reread it. Jeff Chacon’s American Badass is a really fun Vegas ZomCom. Jennifer Ellis gets better with ever story of hers I read. David Bruns is creating good stuff (I really liked I, Caroline and The Yesterday Adjustment). I’ve enjoyed everything Chris Pourteau has written (and he’s promised to hook me up with some diamonds, which is nice of him). And last but not least, Christa Charter writes fantastic murder mysteries set in the game industry that also happen to deal with some very big issues.
I’m also going to make a prediction. British author, Cate Gardner, is going to be big someday.
7.) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
I’d make my science fiction novella, The Girl in the City a novel. Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania series is such a rich setting, I wish I’d spent more time there. I’m still hoping to write a sequel at some point.
8.) Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’m a very busy author at the moment. I’m launching Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet, which starts:
Five hours before Dwayne “Glitch” Mitchell died, he was standing outside a hotel, waiting for a bus and wondering if the whole “Win a Trip to NASA to See the Greatest Scientific Discovery the World Has Ever Made” thing was an elaborate practical joke.
I’ve also just sent the first in a series of zombie novels to my editor. I’m hoping to get the first three books out this year but I suspect it will take me longer than that.
I’m also writing an entry in the Apocalypse Weird series, tentatively titled Siren’s Call. That’s being edited at the moment.
And if that wasn’t enough, I’m wrapping up a whole bucket load of short stories. Some of them I may publish myself, others I’ll be trying to place in traditional markets.
This is the opening from one of them – a dark little tale called Menagerie
The steak on Lucy’s plate reminded her of the body in her refrigerator. She’d ordered the fillet mignon rare, and as she sliced her knife through the meat, a thin trickle of red dribbled out of the steak and pooled at the edge of the plate. Lucy smiled at her date, Frank, slipped what she hoped was an appropriately dainty sliver of meat into her mouth and began to chew. The steak was expensive, the restaurant one of the best in the city, but still the food tasted like ash on her tongue.
“Is it okay?” asked Frank.
Lucy nodded and swallowed the first bite. “Yes, it’s delicious. Thank you.”
Of the five suggestions the dating website had offered Lucy, Frank was the only one even remotely suitable. The other four candidates had been so ridiculously inappropriate that Lucy wondered if the site had failed to find anyone else that had fitted her profile and had simply picked four more names at random, just to make her feel better.
9.) If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?
As someone who lives in Canada, it seems a bit unfair of me to pick on a country I don’t live in. That said, maybe the US could give up one of the warmer states so that we Canadians have somewhere sunny to go during the winter? We did invent Basketball after all.
10.) A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
The penguin walks in without knocking, and I curse. I should have locked the door. I hold my hands out, palms up in an attempt to placate him and say “I know Derek, I’m late, but I promise I can get them for you.”
Derek the penguin stares at me as the door clicks shut behind him. He tips his sombrero back off his head and blinks twice, his beady little eyes glinting in the sunlight. He slowly shakes his head and walks across the lounge to the window. His feet make a moist slapping sound on the wooden floor – schlap, schlap, schlap, schlap.
He stands there staring out over the building opposite to the water, his flippers folded behind his back. There’s a smudge of white sun cream just above his tail. The penguin lets out a sigh, and I wonder if he’s
imagining flying – swooping over the city like the seagulls that wander up and down the nearby roof, taunting him.
I glance toward the door. Maybe I could make it out before Derek could stop me but the damn elevator is so slow and I’d give myself a heart attack trying to make it down the stairs.
Derek must have sensed my thoughts because suddenly he turns. He’s across the room before I can react – the little chap is quicker than you’d think. He karate chops me behind my right knee, and I go down. I twist, trying to raise my arm to fend off his attack. I’m too slow, and I see the flipper a fraction of a second before it hits me. It smells of chocolate and tears.
“Mr Brunetti wants his diamonds,” says the penguin.
I raise my hands again. “They’re on their way, I promise. I just need another week.”
The penguin stares at me, unblinking, and for a moment I think he’s going to hit me again. Then he turns and opens the door. He pauses, looking back at me over his shoulder. “One week.”
I nod a dozen times as the penguin flips his sombrero back onto his head and walks out of the apartment. As the door shuts, I get unsteadily to my feet, grab my iPad and start searching for the next flight out of the city.
Go ahead, pimp whatever book you want:
My latest release, Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet is a fast paced science fiction novel inspired by the old Flash Gordon serials. It’s packed full of bizarre creatures, alien races, and of course, a whole bus load of cliff-hangers.
I’m not quite old enough to have watched the serials on the big screen, but they were regular school holiday viewing when I was a kid, and I had a whale of a time writing about Glitch, Captain Anderson and Doctor Zheng and their adventures on the Unseen Planet.
If you prefer your science fiction a little more serious, try my dystopian science fiction novella, The Girl in the City.
And finally, If you’d like to read some of my short stories, you can get four of them free of charge by signing up for my newsletter here – http://solitarybooks.com/freeleigh
I would like to thank Philip Harris for joining us for this edition of 10 Questions With… I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. It was a fun interview.
To learn more about Philip Harris or to sign up for his newsletter visit his website.
GIVEAWAY: Philip Harris has agreed to do an amazing giveaway. He is going to giveaway a signed copy of the Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet paperback. All you have to do is answer the following question in the comments (Open to anyone on planet Earth).:
Glitch ends up in a lot of dire situations during his trip to the Unseen Planet including being attacked by vicious rock monsters, captured by aliens and of course being stranded on an alien planet with no way to get home. What “cliffhanger” situation would you put Glitch into?
Philip Harris will pick a winner at random and will write Glitch out of whatever situation that winner has put him in and post it on the Leighgendarium. This giveaway will run through the weekend and end Monday, August 31, 2015 at 8:00 am (est).
Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet (Currently $.99 for a limited time)
Dwayne “Glitch” Mitchell has always been obsessed with space. When he learns that NASA has discovered an alien gateway, he’s the first to enter a contest to see the incredible phenomenon. Glitch wins and he travels deep within the Colorado Rockies to get a peek. He’s in awe, but he’s also in danger.
As project head Dr. Zheng discusses the gateway, an armed man calling himself John Smith takes Zheng hostage and causes an explosion. When the rubble clears, Glitch is alive but trapped with Air Force Captain Scarlett Anderson on the other side of the gateway!
Far from home on an alien world, Glitch and Anderson must find Zheng before the planet’s inhabitants can eat, crush, drown, or execute them. Even if they can escape in one piece, will they still have a home to come back to?
Glitch Mitchell and the Unseen Planet is a sci-fi adventure that features exotic alien worlds and fast-paced suspense. If you liked the wild adventures of Flash Gordon, you’ll love this thrill-ride throughout the universe!
With the oppressive Transport Authority controlling every aspect of their existence, Leah and her father do what they can to carve a good life for themselves. Leah spends her nights scavenging in the rural zone around the City, risking capture by the Wild Ones as she hunts for salvage her father can trade for food and other essentials.
But when Leah takes a bag of salvage from a dying stranger, she and her father are drawn into the world of Transport and its war against the terrorist organization, TRACE.
A war that could cost them both their lives.
The Girl in the City is a standalone science fiction novella set in the world of Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania.