Saturday, April 12, 2014

The World Below by Mike Phillips: Interview





ABOUT THE BOOK




In ancient times, magical creatures inhabited the earth. They lived on mountaintops, in trees, at the bottom of lakes and rivers. But that was long ago, before the human race declared war on the creatures they feared and hated. Now the enchanted peoples are all but gone. Those few that remain fear being stretched out on an examination table in some secret, governmental facility. The only place they can hide from the ever increasing number of satellites and smart phones is in the World Below.

Mitch Hardy is going through a hard time in his life. In his early twenties, he was working his way through college when he suffered an accident that left him flat broke and physically deformed. When Mitch decides to make a fresh start in a new town, things start looking up. He finds a place to live, a decent job, good friends. He even meets a nice girl. Unknown to Mitch, his new girlfriend is one of the Elder Race, what some call the Faerie Folk. Mitch doesn’t know that Elizabeth is looking for a father she never knew. The key to finding him is somehow tied up with the mysterious Blade of Caro. Desperate, she steals the Blade from its protector, the despotic ruler of the World Below, the Dragon of Worms, Baron Finkbeiner. When Elizabeth is kidnapped by the Baron, Mitch is pulled into a world or magic and monsters he never imagined.


General Information:                                                                               


Title:                                       The World Below

Author:                                    Mike Phillips

Author Website:                     http://mikephillipsfantasy.com
Print ISBN:                             978-1-61572-886-2

Digital ISBN:                          978-1-61572-885-5    


AmazonLink   


Damnation Books Coupon Code:   50worldbelow

Video Trailer:   http://youtu.be/k8o6lq1ieLk 

Video Trailer Embed Code:   http://www.youtube.com/embed/k8o6lq1ieLk?rel=0





Review Quotes:                                                                                         


Hellnotes        -An enjoyable read with fantastical characters and some great one-liners. Phillips also has an amazing imagination: some of his incidental characters are uniquely unusual in their descriptions, actions and rituals, making them that much more memorable. …In keeping with the dark fairy tale, there is a damaged hero and a magical queen. But Phillips is able to bring a fresh perspective to the usual tropes of magic and mystery, while keeping a touch of humor. The heroine is relatable and—dare I say it—cool and the hero is sympathetic in his bewilderment as he is dragged into a world that he never could have conceived of. …Worthy of a read and a good start to an epic dark fantasy tale. 

69 Flavors of Paranoia:          - Authors who create fantasy worlds, the good ones that engage us until the very last page, must have vivid imaginations and Mike Phillips is no exception. The world he has created in The World Below is unique, humorous, and at times disgusting. That’s a good thing, because it fits with the action that makes this novel engaging. A part of me would love to wander through his mind as he decided on the landscape of this fantasy world but the smarter part of me knows that’s probably not a good idea. Suffice it to say the reader will find this world both familiar and unique. I laughed a lot, got a little nauseated and enjoyed the whole ride. The characters are interesting enough to make you root for them and hiss at them and the pacing keeps things moving along.         …Kudos to Mr. Phillips for an engaging story.

Beauty in Ruins         -The term gets thrown around a lot, but this really was a ‘magical’ book that thoroughly entertained. …a reminder of what fantasy can do. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Role Players Chronicle          -5 Stars: A wonderful blending of realism and fantasy to produce a modern fantasy. Throughout the book you get to experience Mitch’s life as he gradually moves from being a simple blue-collared worker to the hero. The best part of this climb to heroism? It’s slow and realistic; it didn’t just happen overnight like some stories portray. The World Below contains a combination of the horrific and satirical sides of this urban fantasy environment. The evil lording over the fantasy races still around uses fear to control those beneath him. On the other side, the hero and his goblin friends are almost comedic in their endeavors as they travel throughout the city and the World Below to fight against this evil and save the girl. The World Below is an enjoyable book!

The Avid Reader          -For any fantasy/paranormal lovers this is a book you should read! The plot is fresh and the writing is very colorful with those combinations this book of course makes for an enjoyable read! The enjoyability of this book is also increased because it is also very funny and snarky as well! The characters are very strong and well written. The setting is so imaginative and works very well in this story, modern day meets fantasy! It’s such an inspired and fun idea! The plot is also good with lots of twists and turns. You’ll find yourself invested in the story for the whole book, because the book has everything: action, adventure, romance, etc. I would highly recommend this book! It has everything a reader desires: twists, turns, fantasy, a good plot and good characters. Readers will also really like this book because it has sadness and happiness, it can make you laugh but also be very serious as well. It’s just a fun book that is a good read for anytime!

Kzine Magazine          -4 Stars: Like the mutant sequel to the movie Labyrinth this novel similarly features a world of goblins and monsters with a lively humour which sets it above many other Fantasy stories. The opening introduces the reader to the Junkyard goblin king of The World Below, but is he all he seems? The novel really starts with the humans introduced in our contemporary world where Mitch has a horrifying accident burning half his face. Shunned and ugly in this world such a mark can be viewed as heroic in a monster world. The plotting is strong and the characterisations well defined making this glimpse into a fantasy land co-existing with our world a rip roaring ride. A fun and thrilling read.
   
Tome Tender              -An imaginative, snarky, funny but also dark and gory twisting of modern day reality and ancient lore and fantasy. Let me hit the snarky. Elizabeth first …she’s got attitude down to a science and the power to back it up. But it didn’t stop there, the sarcasm and strong personas hit all the characters in this story telling. Although many times I LOL, Phillips still created some very dark and graphically detailed scenes. The evil was definitely evil, the good was maybe a little evil and the rest of the characters got completely caught up in the wake. The World Below is a refreshing and quite entertaining read. I can’t wait to see what will happen to Mitch next. 

My Cozy Corner Book Reviews           -4 Stars: Mike pens The World Below in an original, well written and magical plot. I found his characters to be well defined, strong and very interesting. With a touch of humor written in, this book kept my interest from start to finish. I look forward to more from this author.

 


Interview:                                                                                                  


1) Tell us a little about your book.


The World Below: In ancient times, magical creatures inhabited the earth. They lived on mountaintops, in the branches of trees, at the bottom of lakes and rivers. But that was long ago, before the human race declared war on the creatures they feared and hated. Now the enchanted peoples are all but gone. Those few that remain fear being stretched out on an examination table in some secret, governmental facility. The only place they can hide from the ever increasing number of satellites and smart phones is in the World Below.

Mitch Hardy is going through a hard time in his life. In his early twenties, he was working his way through college when he suffered an accident that left him flat broke and physically deformed. With some good advice from a friend, Mitch decides to make a fresh start in a new town. Things start looking up. Mitch finds a place to live, a decent job, good friends. He even meets a nice girl. Unknown to Mitch, his new girlfriend is one of the elder race, the faerie folk.  

Lady Elizabeth is looking for a father she never knew. The key to finding him is somehow tied up with the mysterious Blade of Caro. Desperate, she steals the Blade from its protector, the despotic ruler of the World Below, the Dragon of Worms, Baron Finkbeiner. When Elizabeth is kidnapped by the Baron, Mitch is pulled into a world he never dreamed existed.


2) What gave you the idea for this particular story? 

I can’t trace The World Below back to a single idea. I knew I wanted to do an urban fantasy, something where I throw out the rules and just have fun. I always liked the bad guys in books and movies, so I thought it might be interesting to let the goblins be heroes for a change. I threw in some adventure and romance and there you go.


3) Do you read widely? 

I have diverse reading habits. Short stories, poetry, novels, I read it all. I have an interest in science and engineering, so I read a lot of non-fiction articles as well. When I’m reading fiction, I gravitate toward stories of the supernatural. Some of the new authors you find in online anthologies are really pushing the boundaries of the genre and are worth checking out if you haven’t already. I also like historical fiction. My most guilty pleasure is the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell.


4) Who are your favorite authors?  

WB Yates, Margaret Atwood, Walter Mosley, Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz, James Lee Burke, and Jim Butcher are some of my favorite writers. When I’m taking a break from writing, I like to read old favorites like Watership Down or Anansi Boys.


5) Who influenced you most? 

The poetry of WB Yates has been a big influence on my writing. I love the imagery. My style of writing is most influenced by James Lee Burke. Beyond that, I must give a nod to Dean Koontz. He taught me how to write suspense, how to draw out key moments to make the action more dramatic.


6) What do you hope to accomplish with your writing? (ex: entertain, bring awareness, touch someone’s heart, inform….) 

I love storytelling. I try to make my writing as imaginative and as vivid as I can. I write in the horror and dark fantasy genres, but I don’t go for blood and guts and the gross stuff. I like suspense and things that puts the senses on edge. That said, in The World Below goblins become the heroes. They do, admittedly, tend toward the behavior of fifth grade boys. So you might get a gross out or two from them.


7) What scares you? 

Oddly enough, it never fails to surprise me when readers and editors tell me how scary my writing is. On more than one occasion, I’ve been credited with nightmares. I’m not typically frightened by the supernatural. Real violence, especially against women and children and animals, only makes me angry. So for me, the real thing to fear in modern society is accountants.


8) Where can we find you online? 

Staying in touch is not my strong suit. -Sorry. I have mikephillipsfantasy.com, but to date I’ve done nothing with it. I’m a regular on quite a few print and online periodicals. My Crow Witch and Patrick Donegal series of short stories have been especially well received. The World Below launches in a month. I promise to get the website up and running soon.

9) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell us about it. 

I’m a safety engineer by trade. Being a chemical and industrial hygiene specialist, and living in Michigan, I’ve spent a lot of time in heavy industry. The accident Mitch suffers at the beginning of the story is based upon what I’ve seen in my career. He gets burned by molten iron. I had a similar experience, though mine was certainly not as serious as the one Mitch goes through. I was “baptized”, initiated, into the crew. They overcharged a crucible of iron and jogged the hoist control as it passed by me. It ruined my favorite leather jacket and scared the heck out of me, but they knew what they were doing. I got a shower of sparks without a single burn on me. What a way for the union guys to say, “Welcome to the club, kid.”






Author Informational Bio:                                                                                 



Mike Phillips grew up on a small farm in West Michigan, living much the way people did at the turn of the century. Whether it was growing fruits and vegetables or raising livestock, Mike learned the value of hard work and responsibility at a young age. 

While his friends spent their summers watching reruns of bad sitcoms, Mike’s father gave him a very special gift. He turned off the television. With what was affectionately referred to as “the idiot box” no longer a distraction, Mike was left to discover the fantastic worlds that only exist in books. When not tending sheep, gardening, building furniture, chopping wood, or just goofing off, Mike spent his time reading.  

With all that hard work at home, Mike was always eager to go to school. He excelled as a student and went on to pursue a career in the sciences. Working as a Safety Engineer in the Insurance Industry, Mike soon became bored with the corporate grind. Writing engaged him like nothing else. After a few novels and numerous short stories, he thought getting published would be a pretty neat idea. And so, here it goes…
 

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