Author Interview with Phillip W. Simpson!

RaptureThe Rapture has occurred - the end of the world. The faithful have risen up to Heaven. Those left behind are in a living hell.
Armed only with his swords and his wit, a teenage boy wanders this post-apocalyptic world alone, separated forever from everyone he loves. Cursed by his demonic heritage, he must now embark on a quest that will take him across the US to the City of Angels. There he will confront his destiny. There he must fight to save a friend ... and for the souls of the living.
Earthquakes, Tsunamis, plague, famine. Animals mysteriously dying. All the signs are there. The Rapture is coming. How would you survive in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic world? A world whose conditions now mirror those in Hell. A world where Demons emerge at night to take those who remain to Hell.

Read Rapture before the Rapture. Be prepared.

1. What (and how many books) have you released? What are they about? About 50 children’s books. Both fiction and non-fiction. Most of what I write is used in schools in the U.S, Australia and here in New Zealand. Quite a few are science fiction/fantasy based.
2. Which, if any, character do you feel has the most of your characteristics (or acts like you do)? None really but if I had to pick it would be Sam in Rapture. He likes to be alone, even though he craves human companionship. He’s also a bit moody which I can be guilty of (especially when I’m in the middle of a tricky narrative). Sam also has an affinity with the outdoors. I love hiking and sports.

3. How did you get the idea for your work? What lured you to your topics? I wanted a post-apocalyptic setting that hadn’t been done to death (‘scuse the pun). Even though I love zombies and vampires, I wanted to write something that had more of a fresh appeal. I’d read the Left Behind series years ago and using the concept of the Rapture as a stepping off point started to percolate. The Left Behind series puts the characters in a contemporary setting. I wanted to tie in my love of fantasy with that and have a far more surreal backdrop. Plus, I love anything with angels and demons and end of the world scenarios.

4. Which scene was the most intense, or most visual, for you to write, personally?
The opening scene in Rapture is where the main character, Sam, is waiting in the darkness for the demons to emerge and come for him. I find these types of scenes quite scary. The whole unknown quantity. The audience at this point don’t know what is coming for him, who he is and what has happened to the world. It’s a very tense scene and as a result, was quite intense for me to write.

5. If you could cast any actor/actresses to play your main characters, who would you select? Jeeze, that’s a tough one (goes off and does some research). How about Cam Gigandet? (Easy A, Twilight, Pandorum). He’s got that rough, brooding look I envisaged for Sam. In terms of Aimi, there’s Keiko Kitagawa (from Fast and the Furious – Tokyo drift). Aimi is only half Japanese though.
6. If you could meet anyone or see anything from your novel, characters or otherwise, what and/or who would you choose? Easy. Hikari. I love sensei characters. They’re usually very cool, wise and mellow but also hard task masters.

7. How did you go about selecting your cover? I gave our designer, Cheryl Rowe, a few very basic guidelines. I said I wanted flames, some brooding guy in a hoodie and Japanese swords. What she came back with blew my mind. I couldn’t have asked for a better cover. As soon as I saw it, I knew that’s what I wanted.
8. What, if any, is/are your next upcoming project(s)? When can we expect them? Second book of the Rapture trilogy, Tribulation, is out in 2012 (I’m still writing it as we speak – so probably towards the end of the year). The final book, Apocalypse is due in 2013.

9. Why did you become (or decide to become) an author (or start writing)? I’ve been writing since I was a boy. Always loved reading and writing. I entered short story competitions when I was young but didn’t have much success. I knew I had to become a writer though because of the voices in my head (Ha ha ha). No, really. Once I get an idea in my head, I need to exorcise it by actually writing it, otherwise it will continue to haunt me. Eventually, I quit my day job and took a year off (luckily, I was in a position to do so having sold my share of a recruitment company to my brother). I went and lived in a cabin in the Australian bush where I wrote my first novel. When that didn’t take off like I hoped, I fell back on plan B which was being a teacher. Then I started getting lots of writing work from education publishers who liked the idea of a teacher being a writer. In the holidays, I’d work on novels.

10. What do you love the most about being an author? Telling stories that other people want to read. The relative freedom. The actual independence and isolation during the writing process.

11. What or who inspires you to write? My wife, Rose, is a huge part in my life. There’s a line from the movie, As good as it gets, where Jack Nicolson tells Helen Hunt that she makes him ‘want to be better man. My wife makes me feel like that. I want to be better for her. A better writer, a better person. Just better, really. Now that we have a son, Jack, I have another reason to write. I want him to read my work when he gets older and be proud of his old man.

12. What is the top cause you champion? Animal rights, especially dogs. We have two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles and we love them to bits. We’re real dog lovers. We give to any cause relating to saving dogs when we can. Animal cruelty makes me extremely angry.

13. What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in becoming an author? This sounds trite because every author says it but it’s true – write, write, and then write some more. Read lots. Write in the genre you love. I’ve become a better writer because I read and write a lot. Practice makes perfect.

14. What is the one thing your readers should know about you? All my tattoos are science fiction or fantasy characters.

15. What is the one thing you want your perspective readers to know about you? Reading is my absolute favorite thing to do in the whole world. My happy place is in bed, reading a book, listening to rain on the roof.

16. If you could do anything (for a career), besides being a writer, what would do? Archaeologist. It’s what a trained for. I’m still keen on being an Astronaut if NASA will have me.

17. Aside from writing and reading, what are your hobbies? Fishing. Playing soccer.
18. What is…?
…your favorite author? Jack Vance
…your favorite book or series? Forever War by Joe Haldeman
…your biggest literary inspiration? Iain Banks

19. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what artists?
No but I do listen to music when I’m planning scenes in my head. Angel by Massive Attack is truly inspirational. I immediately think about Rapture and the other books in the trilogy when I listen to it. Portishead I find to be good planning music. Beastie boys ‘sabotage’. For fight scenes, I generally get in the mood by listening to Rage against the machine.

20. Is there anything, specifically, that helps you write (or is unique about your writing process)?Not really. I’ll have the scenes mapped out in my head before I start writing so it’s usually just a matter of regurgitation.

Thank you for participating! :)
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