This week, we’ll meet one of the men behind Zombie Pirate Publishing, Sam, and learn about his work in the novelette anthology, And Man Grew Proud.
Hi, what’s your name and where are you from?
Sam M. Phillips, a speculative fiction author, poet, and book publisher from New South Wales, Australia, wedged somewhere between Nimbin, Byron Bay, and the Gold Coast.
When did you start writing and what got you interested in seeking publication of your work?
I started reading poetry in eisteddfods when I was six, and so the bug got me early. I’ve always loved books and my first story was published in the school newspaper at ten years old. As a teen I enjoyed writing poetry to cope with my emotions and dabbled writing a novel throughout school and university.
Writing often took a back seat to other endeavours, but I eventually found myself coming full circle becoming a full time poet and then fiction writer in 2015. In 2017, Adam and I started Zombie Pirate Publishing after being inspired by other small presses we were writing for at the time.
What’s the name of your novelette and what’s the story about?
Pillars of Shadow.
It’s about the haves and the have nots, light and dark, and misconception due to perception. A girl is all alone in a strange future world where the sky is blacked out and only a slither of light exists on the horizon. She comes across a book of poetry and the words of the poet open her mind to possibilities. This sends her on a quest to find the mystery behind the silhouettes stalking the horizon: the pillars of shadow.
Writing such a work in just 7 days from scratch must have been difficult, run us through that week, how did you find it? What came easily and what was a challenge?
It was difficult, of course. It required focus and discipline. I cleared my week and didn’t do much else beside go for a walk each day to clear my head. I didn’t pull all nighters, I just got up each day and aimed to get 3,000 words down. Once I hit my target for the day I would daydream about what happened next. The last day I pulled it all together, cleaned it up, and edited it to a cohesive story.
Tell us a little bit about the main characters in your novelette.
I like to keep things simple and focus on a few main characters. There’s Kai, the young girl who’s parents were killed by a pillar of shadow. She finds a book written by the poet Acretius, who other people believe is a prophet who will bring light to their dark world. While searching for answers, Kai meets Telo, a young man who helps her on her quest.
Did you draw upon your own experiences for this story? Were you inspired by real people or events in your life?
I was inspired by my own thoughts on what poetry is and how it is perceived. I thought a lot on what I believe is subjective perception of reality and how this leads to spiritual belief and ultimately dogma, with inevitable disagreements in interpretation of texts. There are themes in the story – light and dark, up and down – which symbolise these concepts.
Is this the longest work you’ve had published? Tell us a bit about your writing career highlights.
This is my second longest work, and I’m very proud of it. My longest published story is “Into The Eye,” a sci fi adventure exploring destiny, addiction, power, and sex. It appears as a double feature in SCIENCE FICTION DOUBLE FEATURE: Phosphorus and Into The Eye.
You can find it on Amazon here: http://a-fwd.to/1sgxgOA
What motivates you to succeed as a writer?
I feel I have been led to it as part of my spiritual journey. It is a unique and beautiful purpose and I enjoy it very much. Sometimes writing can very difficult, sometimes it flows so easily it feels like it’s meant to be. There is a demon or muse in me pushing me along.
Besides writing, what do you enjoy doing with your time?
I play drums in the death/thrash metal band DECRYPTUS. It is my other burning purpose in life. I also enjoy juggling, darts, reading, and long walks.
Thanks for your time. If readers would like to find out more about you or read your work where can they find you on social media or elsewhere on the internet?
People can follow me on facebook here:
And they can read my poetry here: