Hey, Happy April! Can you believe it's here already? Me neither. Give a warm Spring welcome to today's guest, Scott S. Phillips!
Thanks for letting me step up to the plate, Andy! I've been a professional screenwriter for the last 17 years, and before that I wrote some comics and short stories. I wrote the cult action movie DRIVE (the one with Mark Dacascos, not the one with Ryan Gosling), a bunch of episodes of the CW Network series KAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT, and a few cheesy low-budget movies. My first published novel was FRIDAY THE 13TH: CHURCH OF THE DIVINE PSYCHOPATH. I love me some Star Trek (Original Series, natch), classic rock, and playing my KISS and Evel Knievel pinball machines. I spend my days dividing my time between writing and serving the whims of my Chihuahua. Greatest achievement: being Lemmy's stand-in for a Motorhead video.
The Same Six Questions
1. Have you published a book yet?
Several, the most recent being Pete, Drinker of Blood - Part 1, a serial novel in 8 parts. Pete is an idea I’ve been kicking around since 1999 when I was living in Hollywood and feeling sort of adrift and a bit vampiric myself. It’s an oddball take on the genre, about a reluctant blue-collar vampire with insomnia who was “turned” in the early 1970s and has never moved past that. He works nights for the Department of Water and Power, and hates the typical Goth-type vampires, especially the music they listen to. He winds up getting all crushed-out on the cute bartender at the Sunset Strip dive bar he hangs out in, and everything goes haywire when the sinister vampire who turned the L.A. vamps returns to reclaim his children. I’m a big vampire fan and wanted to play with the cliches — there’s a lot of humor but it’s not parody by a long shot.
I decided to experiment with the serial novel format while writing a comic book mini-series recently. I had written Pete as a screenplay, but a year or so ago I started adapting it as a novel, then got sidetracked by other writing projects. When I came back to it I realized it was perfect for the serial approach. Parts 1 and 2 are available now for Kindle, Nook and at Smashwords, with new installments released monthly (part 3 will be out in April).
2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
It sort of happened by accident when I was a kid. I used to make cheesy Super-8 movies, and I discovered that it made for better flicks if I wrote something beforehand, rather than making ‘em up as I went along (imagine that!). These were silent films, so the scripts were little 4 or 5 page things with no dialogue, just bare-bones outlines of the action. It just developed from there, but my original scheme was to be a stop-motion animator like Ray Harryhausen before the writing kind of took over my brain.
3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
When I was 18 I wrote my first feature-length screenplay. It was this terrible wish-fulfillment thing wherein me and my friends hung out with the Go-Go’s and the Ramones, and all those who opposed us were destroyed. Or something. There was some over-arcing storyline about unrequited love and mean jocks getting their comeuppance, but mostly it was an episodic mess. If I remember right, it was called BRIEF OBSESSIONS. And yup, I still have it but I fear that my friends will find it and do a dramatic reading over my grave during the funeral, so I should probably burn it.
4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?
I’d say that happened at the exact moment I made my first short story sale. It was a saucy little number called “Truckstop Novel” that was purchased by Chic Magazine when I was in my mid-twenties. I had written at least one other feature-length script by that time, but it was receiving that check in the mail that made me think I ought to keep putting words on paper, especially if there was a chance I’d be able to wangle more people into paying me to do it.
5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?
That’s kind of a toughie. I wouldn’t mind sitting around with Pete, talking classic rock over a couple beers (well, a beer for me, anyway) whilst cranking Tommy or Led Zeppelin IV, but I think Boone Butters — a character from my novel Squirrel Eyes, now starring in his own series of stories (the first of which is Roomies) — might be a decent guy to hang out with, too. He smells a little funny, though.
6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?
The Woodbooger. Of course. (Editor's note: Bigfoot...Viginia style. ;)
Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us, Scott! For more of Mr. Phillips and his writing, check out his Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads pages.
Stop back on Thursday when my guest will be Axel Howerton. See you then!