Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Earlier this year, you published The Trivium Proportion, a collection of serialized short stories which also appeared on the website Never Met Press. For FBC readers who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the book?
David Phillips: So, the most difficult thing about being a new author is finding your voice and finding your audience. I hope I don’t pigeonhole myself with this first book. Trivium Proportion is a fast-paced, action-filled romp that should especially appeal to anyone that loved the Aeon Flux shorts that used to run on MTV.
BD: What inspired you to write these stories?
DP: It’s hard to say what the true inspiration was. I remember sitting around with no new video games to play, and it just struck me. I started to write up a few very brief stories and characters. I had just finished reading Neuromancer and Halting State and got a bug to write some near future cyberpunk. I also got some inspiration for one of the characters, Tyrone Higgins, from the way that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the Sherlock stories.
BD: Each of the stories in The Trivium Proportion features an illustration by C.E. Zacherl. What can you tell us about the creative process of working with Zacherl?
DP: To me, the creative process should be fun for all involved. We all need to have the opportunity to flex our own creative muscles, and I give Mr. Zacherl all he could handle in that department. For the most part, I would send him an early draft of the story and tell him to draw whatever the story inspired him to. In hindsight, I might have tried to direct the art a little bit more; however, some of the pieces that he did, I never would have thought up to suggest. Writers and artists just think a little differently.
BD: What have been your experiences with self-publishing?
DP: The real challenge of self-publishing is that it is not just a route to take simply because the publishers have said no. Self-publishing is a lifestyle choice. You need to have more than an idea and the motivation to write. You have to either spend a lot of your own money out of pocket, up front, or you have to know how to lay out a book, find a good editor, and deal with the logistics of getting the book through the printing process. That is not even getting to all the self-promotion and other commitments you will need to make.
BD: Like many independent creators, you initiated a Kickstarter campaign for The Trivium Proportion, which was successfully funded. Why do you feel that this method of fundraising has become such a dramatic force in the indie publishing world, and do you feel that it will continue to play such a large role in the comic book industry?
DP: The best part about Kickstarter is that it gives more people with great ideas the ability to get down and dirty with the crowd without the need of a publisher middle man. There are projects on Kickstarter at all times that are wonderful ideas to niche audiences that a publisher or developer would never want to take hold of. Unfortunately, it seems like in this day and age, the bigger companies in all industries are just looking for the safest, guaranteed way to make back their investment. It’s the reason why all the movies now are just remakes or big continuing franchises (ala Paranormal Activity).
BD: Being that Fanboy Comics focuses on all things geek, I must call to attention your own love of comic books, RPG, and LARPing. What drew you to these geek genres, and would you care to share your favorites with us?
DP: When it comes to comics, my favorites are The Sandman series. My dad worked at a comic book store back in the early '90s. He would always bring me new issues and especially first issues of new series. I loved Death’s Head back in the day. My parents met playing D&D, so I guess you could say that the geekiness runs in my veins. I have some of their dice from back then. They are magic dice! Now, I play a lot of various board and card games, as well as all the major RPGs (White Wolf, D&D, and Star Wars). I’ve done Voffer LARPs, as well as World of Darkness (even the Star Wars LARP from the '90s). I don’t do that so much anymore, but it was great fun to help run them as well as play in them.
BD: Can you give us the inside scoop on any upcoming projects in the works, or your plans for attending conventions or other special events where fans may find your work?
DP: I have just started working on an Urban Fantasy project that I think will stir things up. I’m challenging myself to write in the 2nd person as well as the 3rd person, and I’m also working with non-traditional creature ideas rather than just vampires and werewolves. I also have a science fantasy book that is in the final editing stage. Both of these works will be full-length novels rather than the novella format. As far as conventions, I hope to do something at GenCon and at DragonCon, but those are both a long way off. For anyone in the DC area, I am currently working on setting up some author signings at Barnes & Noble.
BD: What is the most important piece of advice that you can offer to individuals who aspire to become writers?
DP: If you don’t already have a dozen ideas screaming in your head to get out that stick with you for months at a time, you might be barking up the wrong tree. Also, set your expectations accordingly. Be satisfied with accomplishing the feat of writing and publishing a book. If money or fame or whatever follows, that is just a nice side perk.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for Fanboy Comics fans to find out more about your work?
DP: I’m not sure how to answer this question without just putting up a laundry list of links, but I think that might be best.
Facebook fan page: facebook.com/DavidHunterPhillips
Blog (about self-publishing, writing, and gaming): dhunterphillips.wordpress.com