Welcome to A.L. Phillips
Please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a California native, and a life-long reader and storyteller. Currently, I’m a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
where I will begin a Ph.D. in marketing in the fall. More importantly,
from the perspective of everyone who will be reading this, I am the author
of The Quest of the Unaligned, a new YA fantasy that will be released from
BorderStone Press on April 29.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. The Quest of the Unaligned blends science fiction and fantasy into a unique, page-turning adventure. The story follows Alaric, a security chief from a technologically advanced city where hover-cars zip over anonymous crowds, contracts are king, and education is everything.
Alaric’s world is turned upside down, however, when he loses a bar bet with a crazy man from the neighboring country of Cadaeren. Suddenly, the security chief finds himself contractually obligated to undertake a
journey that his training hasn’t prepared him for: the Quest of the Unaligned. Accompanied by Laeshana, a Cadaerian native who has reasons of her own for helping him on his quest, Alaric is soon plunged into a
perilous adventure that will force him to confront a seemingly impossible truth and embrace his destiny, even as the fate of Cadaeren hangs in the balance.
Where can readers find your book? The Quest of the Unaligned will be available for purchase on amazon.com and select other retailers.
How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write? I have been writing fantasy and sci-fi stories since grade school, and before that, I would make up and retell fairy tales to my friends and family as often as they would listen. I have always loved creating new worlds and cultures, and exploring what would happen if the world were slightly (or incredibly) different in some way. For instance, in The Quest of the Unaligned, I explore what it would be like for a super-rational individual who believes in the power of education and training and science to be forced to survive in a world where magic is real, and where one’s life-course is determined by birth rather than by ability.
Who or what are your inspirations/influences? While I have enjoyed the works of literally hundreds of different authors, I would say that the fantasy authors who have inspired and influenced me the most are JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, JK Rowling, and David Eddings. Tolkien, through his masterful world creation and use of language; Lewis, through his communication of truths about humanity through a fictional setting; Rowling, through her humor, inventiveness, and YA appeal; and Eddings, for his characters, cultures, and epic quest plots.
Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one? Positive: There are so many positive experiences about writing fiction, it’s hard to think of just one! Writing is certainly my favorite hobby. The first positive that comes to mind, though, is how delightful it is to go through a rough draft that I’ve written, finding the places that don’t quite work, replacing words, smoothing out dialogue or descriptions, or adding additional material, until the finished product is something that Ican look at and say, “Yeah! That’s what it’s supposed to be!”
Negative: Sitting in front of a blank computer screen, trying for the seventy-fifth (or hundred and seventy-fifth) time to find exactly the right turn of phrase for expressing the idea in my head. A few times, I have had to spend literally hours on a single sentence, before I found a way to make it sound right. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen too often.
With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why? The print medium is definitely still important, and I certainly will always want to publish my work in print. While e-books are convenient, there’s nothing like turning physical pages in a book. They also feel good in your hands, you can skim through them or flip back and forth between sections, and you never have to turn them off on an airplane!
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? I know that a lot of people are able to listen to music or even watch TV while they write, but I get distracted far too easily to be able to do that. If I had my choice, I would have it completely silent when I write. Silence allows me to concentrate on the scene I’m writing, hear myself think, and find the best words for what I want to say.
Books are important, why is this the case? What can a book provide that say a video game cannot? There is so much to say about this topic, I can’t possibly do it justice! Reading books sharpens your mind, broadens your knowledge base, expands your creativity, improves your vocabulary, increases your understanding, and so much more. Novels in particular can transport a reader to a different country, a different time, or even a different world. Moreover, novels can give unique, detailed, deep insights into the mindset of a character who is either similar to or different from the reader – something which no other medium can do. Compared to video games, for
instance, which are purely visual (and possibly tactile), novels engage the reader’s imagination. In addition to watching action scenes play out in their minds (which, when written well, can rival the best video game sequences ever made), readers can also delight in the beauty of a turn of phrase or eloquent description, and can explore the unique mental processes that lead a character to act or to speak. By reading a novel, a person can feel like they get to know a character the way they know a friend or family member – something that is far more difficult to do in a non-literary medium.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? When I write, I tend to act out what’s happening as I type, to the extent that my friends can tell by my facial expressions who I’m writing about and (occasionally) what’s happening in the novel. Unfortunately, I tend to be completely unaware of what I’m doing until someone points it out to me. This has occasionally led to awkward moments and such comments as, “Are you okay, or are you writing?”
Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7044960.A_L_Phillips