Title: Dawn of Ages
Author: Mike Phillips
Genre: Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Eternal Press
It’s the end of the world, but a new beginning for humanity.
The war has lasted for generations. In this technological age, no longer must humans risk their lives in combat. Fierce robots operated by remote control make up the bulk of the militaries. Satellites in the atmosphere render the heavens a frenzy of violent confrontation. However, the war has little effect on everyday life. The bloodshed is minimal, the disruption to commerce even less. It is a comfortable war. Most of the populace believe they have nothing to fear. Little they know their world is about to come to an end.
Thank you so much for the having me as your guest. MP
Dawn of Ages: The war has lasted for generations. In this technological age, no longer must humans risk their lives in combat. Fierce robots operated by remote control make up the bulk of the militaries. Satellites in the atmosphere render the heavens a frenzy of violent confrontation. But the war has little effect on everyday life. The bloodshed is minimal, the disruption to commerce even less. It is a comfortable war. Most of the populace believes they have nothing to fear. Little they know their world is about to come to an end. Please join me at mikephillipsfantasy.com
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
Success for me is when I’ve told the story, polished it to a shine, and have that little voice in my head telling me that it’s done. It’s a feeling of accomplishment like no other.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I grew up on a small farm in West Michigan. In addition to hard work and responsibility, my father gave me a very special gift. Each year during summer vacation, the television, affectionately referred to as “The Idiot Box”, was turned off. This meant that when not tending sheep, mending fences, gardening, building furniture, chopping wood, or goofing off, my summers were spent reading.
When and why did you begin writing?
It was in the first grade that my illustrious writing career began. Though this may seem an early age to develop such lofty aspirations, I none-the-less published my first book, The Robot, which warned of the dangers of corporate espionage and the impending economic hardships these below board activities often cause, especially from the often overlooked threat of the vast Canadian financial empire. This book is available still in its single copy edition, bound in its original, quite fetching, brown imitation-leather cover from the Whitehall Elementary School Library Press.
From those grand beginnings, I found that my writing career, as so often happens to such promising young authors as myself, lapsed. Writing had to take a back seat to my formal education. During this time my soul wailed for the opportunity to express itself. I was in misery. This was the darkest time in my career. The second grade was bad. The third grade was the worst. The fourth grade was the worst too. Then the fifth grade was the most worstiest. I don’t know how I would have survived this time if not for peanut butter and pear sandwiches.
The sixth grade, however, saw a revival of my career. Recognized for my grand talents, I was commissioned to compose a work that was to bear the title, All About Me. Enthralled with the topic, I researched tirelessly, all in an attempt to find what it really, really meant to be me. I kept at the project for nearly two months, remaining within the strict guidelines provided to me by my unidentified patron. I wrote, illustrated, and bound the piece all myself as were the dictates of the project, a surprising twenty-three pages of text in total.
To my superlative disappointment, I found that, upon completion, after all my hard work, my diligent effort, my hard work, and my still additional hard work, that no less than one hundred and twenty eight others, from my own school and academic grade no less, were poised to snatch that very assignment away from me. That they unfortunately did. I found that, like so many other things, this project was not really all about me as its title implied, but all about anything but me. I wasn’t paid for my efforts. No copies other than what I had developed myself were ever made. And the only editorial notes I received were the obligatory, “Good Job!”, some cryptic letter (A-) and the comment that my family tree was not in the proper format. Well after this crushing blow, it was difficult for me to take pen to paper again for some very long time.
Arising from my creative slump, I would say that the next major event in my career occurred in my freshman English class. Yes, I foolishly returned to the idea that an education would serve me well in my life as an adult, that it was through knowledge that I would improve myself as an individual and citizen. Though this idea would once again prove to be folly, I was, at the time, convinced that only in higher education would I ever make anything of myself. Well, it was in my Freshman English class that the next pothole came in the winding country road that is my writing career. I composed an essay, which was the only essay to be read aloud to the class during the entire semester. I was proud but once again not compensated for my efforts. I must attribute that minuscule resurgence of my career to the subject matter of the essay. I wrote about the feeding habits of domestic sheep, which is inherently amusing, especially since no one writes about sheep anymore; unless, that is, with some derogatory, sexual overtones which I find it appalling to speak of.
During these college years, I took non-literary work to pay for such obligatory items as tuition, books, room, food, clothing, electricity, whiskey and so on, in an environmental analysis laboratory. In this vocation I preformed badly at a number of tasks requiring skills of accuracy and precision that I do not possess. Though this particular fact is not directly related to my writing career, it is, I think, essential to the telling of my story.
After school, I continued writing privately, for the first time doing something that was all about me. Also at this time, I embarked upon what some have labeled as my professional career. Though my official title has been Loss Control Representative, a more apt title would be Safety Guy. I have received some local fame for my activities in this capacity. This is due mostly, I believe, to the fact that in my Hazard Communication class I perform live demonstrations in which I blow shit up! In my professional capacity I am also very involved with the development of educational safety materials. I have had rave reviews for these efforts including…
“This really doesn’t suck.” -Anonymous
“Pass the hog hocks, would you?” -Nameless
“I wasn’t as bored as I thought I would be.” -Unknown
“It could have been worse.” -Mom
So far my literary career has been the joke I have made it out to be. I have spent my free time writing like a madman since as long as I can remember, and I decided about six months ago that maybe I should try publishing my work. I hope whoever has the patience to read this short biography finds some small pleasure in it.
Thank you for your indulgence… MP
When did you first know you could be a writer?
Writing was certainly nothing I ever planned for in my life. It started when I was just out of college. I was working my first real job, and getting a little bored I must confess. Snippets of story started popping into my head. The only way I could get the ideas to leave me alone was to write the story. At the time, I had no intentions of getting my stories published and no illusions about success. One story turned into two, then three, then a score. At that point, I thought it might be fun to see if I could get a story published. My first story, Junkyard Haze was published in the now defunct Enigma. Then I thought about taking on a new challenge, a novel length work. Writing a novel is, as many of your readers can understand, a monumental accomplishment and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I loved every minute. Now here I am with a ton of short stories, two published novels and another novel on the way. Life is so weird.
What inspires you to write and why?
Nature, the world around me, is my true inspiration. I can’t tell you how many of my stories began with a low hanging cloud or a rustle in the bushes. I find miracles in everything around me. The Earth is a wonderful place and I try to express that beauty in my work.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
When it comes to genre, I’m all over the map. In my short stories, I write a lot of Fantasy, Dark Fantasy and Horror. Most of my stories also have an element of romance or at least friendship. That’s what life is all about, after all, our relationships. My first book, Reign of the Nightmare Prince was a Dark Fantasy/Sci-Fi. The World Below is an Urban Fantasy with elements of horror to spooky things up. My third book, Dawn of Ages is a pure Science Fiction.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
The poetry of WB Yates has been a big influence on my writing. I love the imagery. My style of writing is most influenced by James Lee Burke. Beyond that, I must give a nod to Dean Koontz. He taught me how to write suspense, how to draw out key moments to make the action more dramatic.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
The toughest part about writing for me is marketing and staying in touch with my readers. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to all those people who have supported my work over the years. I wish I was better at telling them how much I appreciate their loyalty. I also have a sense of obligation to my publishers. Taking a chance on an unknown like me is a huge financial risk. I feel that I need to be better at supporting what they are trying to do in promotions and sales. I’m afraid that all too often I fall short of expectations in this regard.
ABOUT MIKE PHILLIPS
Mike Phillips is author of The World Below and Reign of the Nightmare Prince. His short stories have appeared in ParAbnormal Digest, Cemetery Moon, Sinister Tales, Beyond Centauri, the World of Myth, Mystic Signals and many others. Online, his work has appeared in Lorelei Signal, Kzine, Bewildering Stories, Midnight Times, and Fringe. He is best known for his Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series.
Please visit Mike at mikephillipsfantasy.com.