In celebration of his just released book and his about to be released sequel I invited C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus over for a visit. I am going to ask them a few questions and I might even get him to do some kind of giveaway.
But first I will let the man himself tell us a bit about his new books.
C.T. Phipps: Awesome, Trevor, I absolutely am happy to discuss my new books LUCIFER’S STAR and I WAS A TEENAGE WEREDEER. Both of which are going to have their sequels coming out soon with LUCIFER’S NEBULA and AN AMERICAN WEREDEER IN MICHIGAN. I know you’ve reviewed both (see here for Lucifer’s Star and here for I was a Teenage Weredeer).
Michael Suttkus: You can’t make me talk! Oh, wait, asking just might work! I’m not sure what to say here. I have cats. They tell me to do things. Mostly it’s “Feed me”, but you never know.
You had Michael Suttkus as a coauthor on these books. Can you explain a bit on how that works?
C.T. Phipps: Michael Suttkus and I have been friends for twenty years and worked together on the RPG “Halt Evil Doer!” among many other projects. Basically, Michael Suttkus is an amazing world-builder and helped me create the setting for both Lucifer’s Star and I Was a Teenage Weredeer. Generally, I do the writing but often bounce ideas off him.
Michael Suttkus: Well, at first, we used the obvious method where we both write each chapter, then we force the chapters to fight it out in an arena to determine which is stronger while Star Trek fight music played loudly. This proved less successful than we had hoped. After that, Charlie did most of the writing while we threw ideas at each other. While Star Trek fight music played loudly. We’ve been stealing each other’s ideas for a while now so it seemed natural.
How much, if any outlining do you usually do for a book?
C.T. Phipps: I’m a hybrid author who generally comes up with an idea, “What happened to the Imperials after Return of the Jedi” and “What would it be like to do a Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the least dangerous shapechanger possible?” Then I generally plot out a bunch of ideas I want to do. None of these outlines ever last to the end but they give me an idea of what I want to happen to my characters. I take the view of, “How would each of my characters react to these events?”
Michael Suttkus: Outlining is a bit more necessary than normal in a collaboration just because you need everyone to know where things are and where they’re going at any point. But an outline can’t ever be a rigid thing. They say that battle plans never survive contact with the enemy, and writer’s outlines never survive contact with the characters. They will insist on doing things their own way.
What do you think is the best pun ever told?
C.T. Phipps:” Oh deer. The puns were inevitable once I started writing I Was a Teenage Weredeer. Michael made me take them all to hart and I was unable to buck the system. I doe know if I could hoof it to the finish line as the very thought staggers me. *Ahem* On a serious note, I couldn’t help but make deer puns when I was making the book and Michael egged me on until the book had far too many. That’s when I decided Jane hated them and it was an actual “weakness” of weredeer she found stereotypical and annoying like vampires needing to count sesame seeds.
Michael Suttkus: English playwriter Ben Johnson was asked by someone to make up a pun. He asked, “Upon what subject?” and was answered, “The king.” Johnson replied, “The king is not a subject.” The second worst pun comes from Isaac Asimov whose “Death of a Foy” is nothing but a setup for one of the most groan-inducing puns ever written. It’s all the better for apparently being a serious sci-fi story until the very last line when you realize you’ve been caught in a bad joke the whole time. It is my life’s goal to produce a pun equally as painful and to inflict it upon an unprepared humanity!
In a few of your books you have snuck in small nods to your other books like Gary seeing a copy of Cthulhu Armageddon. Should we keep an eye out for anything in this series?
Michael Suttkus: Charlie can handle this better than me. Though I should point out it happens even when you’re not looking. Shannon from Esoterrorism, for example, was the character who became Clarice in Lucifer’s Star. We move around characters we create and adapt others because some are just so good you can’t put them aside.
C.T. Phipps: Shh, don’t tell them we recycle characters.
Michael Suttkus: Bah, what’s next, telling them Wraith Knight took a lot from the Lord of the Rings?
C.T. Phipps: GASP! But actually, Trevor, we’re planning a crossover with Supervillainy Saga books. My next book, The Tournament of Supervillainy, is an homage to all those Crisis on Infinite Earth-style comics. Except I’m going to have characters from my other series show up and Gary visit their worlds. I totally came up with this idea and didn’t steal it from Marion G. Harmon’s Wearing the Cape crossover.
How do you manage to work on so many projects at once? Do you ever get them confused?
Michael Suttkus: Charlie does most of the writing.
C.T. Phipps: Says the guy working on three different books of his own.
Michael Suttkus: Which I will talk about when they’re done.
C.T. Phipps: Basically, I had a two year lull since I started professional writing due to Permuted Press making a contract that had my first books not to appear until 2017 (it was 2015 at the time). They never got printed by them either and I got another lull with Esoterrorism and Wraith Knight due to things happening with Ragnarok Publication. So, actually, the reason I had so many projects is I wrote other books during that lull and when I switched publishers, just handed them all my finished manuscripts.
Michael Suttkus: You still write like a madman.
C.T. Phipps: I admit, there’s also the fact I often let my imagination get away from me. I have more series than I know what to do with.
Michael Suttkus: How about finish them!
C.T. Phipps: My present plans are to finish up Esoterrorism, Wraith Knight, and Agent G as trilogies. Lucifer’s Star, Weredeer, and the Supervillainy Saga are ongoings.
Michael Suttkus: What about Cthulhu Armageddon?
C.T. Phipps: I consider it “finished” until my next idea. It usually shall come as a dream, I think, when the moon is in the proper alignment with Yuggoth.
If you could be any character from any book you have ever read who would you be? Why?
Michael Suttkus: Who wants to be a character from a book? Terrible things happen to characters in books! If they aren’t trapped in a post-apocalyptic hell-hole, someone’s trying to kill them or they’re trying to kill some evil, powerful person. It’s danger after danger and sounds really stressful. No, I want to be a character from a bad fanfic where the author doesn’t understand how drama works and everything is just wonderful for the main character. Terrible story, but a great life!
C.T. Phipps: Captain Kirk is probably my choice because he not only gets to travel through space but he also has his legendary romantic life. *is hit by a book by his wife* Which is not at all a consideration but something that I was just bringing up as a possible benefit. Alternatively, I would be Han Solo for much the same reason. Feeling the Force wouldn’t be an option but I’d still have the Millennium Falcon. Too bad it would come with an awful kid.
A 35-foot ladder is leaning against the side of a building and is positioned such that the base of the ladder is 21 feet from the base of the building. How far above the ground is the point where the ladder touches the building?
C.T. Phipps: Michael?
Michael Suttkus: 0 feet. A ladder with that shallow an angle to the wall will have fallen by the time you’ve finished asking the question.
How many books have you written, how many have you tried to publish, and how many are in print?
C.T. Phipps: About ten or eleven and all of them are in print thanks to the good folk at Amber Cove and Crossroad Press. If I had to recommend any of them then I’d say Lucifer’s Star and Cthulhu Armageddon are my two “best” works while I Was a Teenage Weredeer and The Rules of Supervillainy are my two most “fun.”
Michael Suttkus: Five, all collaborations with Charlie though I’m working on a solo novel about a PI in a world with superheroes. Also a story about a werecrow which would be more original if not for the fact Charlie put her in I Was a Teenage Weredeer.
Do you have any advice to give a new writer?
C.T. Phipps: Don’t put the cart before the horse. Finish your book first then start worrying about making a career of it. You’ll probably not be able to make a living writing for a number of years unless you get very lucky so being a part-time writer is to be expected. Write what you want to read rather than what you think will sell. Don’t trust the first offer you receive and double check with groups like Absolute Writer Water Cooler to see if they’re frauds or not. Don’t put down self-publishing or independent and make friends with other authors online. Social media won’t make you a success but it can’t hurt.
Michael Suttkus: Don’t forget to experience bad media. If you can analyze why certain books or movies just don’t work, you can avoid making the same mistakes.
What was the last book you read? Was it any good?
Michael Suttkus: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone. Not to spoil it, but there’s a monster at the end of it. I swear this book has turned more innocent children into budding nerds and writers by showing them the joys of metatext. Most of what I’ve been reading lately is RPG books (“Numenera” was quite good) and paleontology. I go through cycles.
C.T. Phipps: Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack and The Seer King by Chris Bunch, both of which were very entertaining. I’m currently on a Star Trek kick to best help my writing for Lucifer’s Star’s sequel, Lucifer’s Nebula.
What one question do you think I should have asked you, but didn’t?
Michael Suttkus: Since you didn’t know I was going to be here, that hardly seems fair!
C.T. Phipps: How are you so awesome?
Do you have any questions for me?
Michael Suttkus: What’s up with the ladder question?
C.T. Phipps: When will you review my latest book?
I always throw in a few odd questions you guys got away easy. and as soon as you give me a copy. Speaking of giving stuff did you want to do a giveaway?
C.T. Phipps: Absolutely. I’ll happily give away 5 copies of I Was a Teenage Weredeer Kindle or Physical Copies.
Awesome! To enter to win just comment below. I will randomly select the 5 winners on Friday November 3rd.
The metaphorical dice have been tossed and lady luck has chosen 5 winners! But first a huge thank you to C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus. I literally couldn’t have done it with out you! The winners are…………..
Congratulations to you guys!
If you didn’t win don’t feel bad, just make sure you are entered in my new giveaway and follow the blog so you don’t miss my upcoming ones like the autographed Robin Hobb book that will be up for grabs in December.
I will send an E-mail to the winners and if They don’t respond within 24 hours or so, ill pick a new name