I recently did a request for questions on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/charles.phipps.946
Lots of wonderful questions and I tried to answer them as best I could.
1. You’ve created several series, how do you manage to keep them so distinct and memorable? [Luke Hindmarsh]
I basically just feel like writing things I’d want to read and I have diverse interests. Gary is born from my life-long love of superheroes and the Dresden Files. Cassius from my desire for a darker Star Wars than the ones we got. Cthulhu Armageddon from a mixture of Fallout with the Walking Dead. Peter and Jane are more or less just products of wanting to send up urban fantasy the same way I did superheroes. But to answer your question, I make the characters first and the plots second.
2. Can I borrow your time stopping machine? I just don’t know how you manage to fit everything in each day. [Paul Lavender]
Yes, but only if you don’t meet your past self. That’s how Firefly got cancelled. As for how I do it? Well, my wife is supportive and I write full time.
3. I love the i was a teenage weredeer series. Where did your inspiration for the series come from? [Brent Williams]
It very much was written with a sensibility to being the “urban fantasy Gary.” However, it was inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and my own frustrating small town life. Jane is a character inspired by my wife Kat and a few other wonderful people I’ve known who have been ever larger than their circumstances allowed. As for the idea of a weredeer itself. I felt I needed to do something different. So I decided, “What would be funnier than someone who was aggressive and tough who had a really nonthreateming but plausible shapeshifter type.” I’m tempted to have Jane meet a Lagothrope someday who points out wild rabbits are pretty tough. Jane refuses to believe she’s real.
4. How does the Cthulhu Armageddon and Lucifer’s Star series fit into the same word as Fangton and Weredeer? [ML Spencer]
Like Brandon Sanderson, there’s a multiverse where all my books take place. Cthulhu Armageddon. Lucifer’s Star, Agent G, and the United States of Monsters all exist in the same multiverse as my Supervillainy Saga. Furthermore, though this will probably never come up, Agent G, Lucifer’s Star, and Wraith Knight are all set in the same universe. Lucifer’s Star takes place 1000 years after the Agent G series and Wraith Knight something like 10,000 years with the original humanity having hit the Singularity to become “gods.”
5. Is there another genre that you’d really like to have a go at and how do you think you’d handle it? [David Hambling]
I really needed to reign myself in after all of my expansive writing in multiple genres. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean it might not happen anyway. I’ve got a half-finished fantasy steampunk novel that is a sequel to the Wraith Knight trilogy. I’m waiting for that to get done before I do it, though.
6. How did you find the experience of collaborating on Tales of the Al-Azif? [David Hambling]
Very enjoyable but it was a bit hard to match up all our styles into a single coherent narrative. I am glad that it worked out as well as it did. It helped, I believe, that we all seem to be more of the “Pulp Cthulhu” sense than cosmic horror.
7. Is Cassius Mass an expression of your inner sexuality or do you truly perceive yourself as a sex god? [Allan Batchelder]
Cassius, G, and Gary are undoubtedly much better lovers than me. I’m assuming Gary is the best of the three as it’s the only way to explain his inexplicable attractiveness to women way out of his leave.Codpiece or loin cloth?
8. Codpiece or loin cloth? [Allan Batchelder]
Fur speedo like Conan.
9. How do higher level vampires maintain their awesome fashion sense if they can’t see themselves in mirrors? [Allan Batchelder]
Vampires like Thoth, Ashurra, and Lucinda make use of slaves (err, Blood Servants) to serve as their fashion choices. Mind you, many of them outright possess supernatural beauty so they could wear potato sacks or nothing then make it fashionable. One thing I haven’t mentioned is Thoth’s fashion sense is actually rather dated and if left alone will look like he escaped the 70s.
10. Is there going to be a Fangtown sequel? [Brian Parker]
11. In Tournament of Supervillainy, you included a lot of your characters from other series, but not all of them. Why did you choose who you did and who you didn’t? [Matthew Davenport]
It was an interesting situation as originally I wasn’t going to include any of my characters. It was going to be multiversal characters that were wholly original. Then I realized Jane and Gary would play off each other very well. I added G to replace Mr. Inventor as I realized he’d add another interesting layer to the story. Sadly, I had to cut John Henry Booth and Mercury from the story as just didn’t fit in the space I had. Cassius? Well, Cassius was there because I liked the idea one character would just straight up not like Gary.
12. Are you going to write a Fangton prequel about Thoth? [David J. West]
If and when I have time, I have plans of writing novellas about Thoth, Gabrielle Anders (Ultragoddess), Cindy Wackowski (Red Riding Hood), and Lucien.
13. Your protagonists tend to be alienated outsiders (with superhuman powers) with uncertain ethics and more loyalty to their immediate group than any greater cause — how much of this is deliberate? [David Hambling]
I think that it’s a function of writing what you know and like. While I certainly consume plenty of hero media, I feel like giving my protagonists flaws is an important part of my style. John is probably the most straightforward hero and he lives in a post-apocalypse wasteland where that’s rare. Another element is making the protagonists a bit more selfish and ruthless means you don’t always know what they’re going to do. The entire 3rd act of Lucifer’s Star changed because Cassius and the others didn’t care about solving the central conflict, which I thought was awesome.
14. Any new series in the pipeline? [Michael Baker]
I’ll be trying to finish up my existing series first but may be doing some novellas soon. I do have some ideas for spin-offs and wonderful work with other authors too like PREDESTINY and Frank Martin plus SATAN’S SALESMAN 2 with Matthew Davenport. We’re getting a new compilation called TALES OF THE AL-AZIF too.
15. You have a number of series, as you mentioned above. How far ahead have you planned these? [Andrew McVittie]
The Supervillainy Saga: Until I get bored. 12 is my current number of predicted novels.
Agent G: 4 novels
Straight Outta Fangton: 4
Bright Falls Mysteries: 4
Lucifer’s Star: 3
Cthulhu Armageddon: 4
Red Room: 3
Wraith Knight: 3
16. Planning on catching up with some games like Kingdom Hearts 3, the Resident Evil 2 remake, and Soul Calibur 6? [Connor Clay]
Absolutely. Resident Evil is my jam. I even named a character after Claire Redfield in Agent G: Assassin.
17. Question about Gary from the rules of supervillain I was watching MegaMind sounded a bit familiar. [Jim Varey Paige]
Gary was actually inspired by an evil Spiderman combined with Harry Dresden. The idea of, “With great power comes great irresponsibility.” 🙂 Another good inspiration was SOON I WILL BE INVINCIBLE.
18. I recently finished the Audible of Wraith Knight. Are you planning anymore? It was left pretty open. And what do you have planned as your next book? Ooh! And what is the current (such as it is) status of Thoth?! And have you ever considered putting the Supervillainy books into an omnibus? It’s probably less profitable (especially the Audible bit), but it does attract new fans. That’s how I got into the Tome of Bill, anyway. [Anders Haywood]
Wraith Lord is being made into an Audible book right now. Really, we can release it at any time but I hope you’ll throw your review both on Audible and Amazon. 🙂 It’s lacking in those, sadly.
Thoth is not dead as we’ll find out in Vampirez4Life but he is a prisoner of the Council of Ancients. He is aware of many secrets, true names, and bank accounts they want to get from him. Unfortunately, he’s far from Peter and his power base has been given to some of the worst most incompetant human hating vampires in the setting.
There are plans to do a collection of 1-4 books as a Omnibus with Crossroad Press. I need to get a cover, though, and some short stories or even novellas to throw into it, though. David Wilson is very excited about it.
I also got Tome of Bill like that. FYI, BILL OF THE DEAD comes out on the 16th. It is the sequel.
19. Peter Stone from Fangton and Jane from Brightfalls Mysteries: will they have a joint story, some mystery to solve or some big butt to kick, in the near future? [Susan Voss]
It is my hope that we’ll see Jane and Peter collaborate in Vampirez4Life. Lucien already showed up at the climax of 100 Miles and Vampin’ being part of Thoth’s organization (albeit a very independent part of it).