I interviewed JD so that we could all get to know her a little better.
1. When did you start taking your writing seriously?
I wrote my first novel in high school and enjoyed passing stories around for my friends to read but I didn’t seriously start trying to be published until college.
2. What’s the first thing you had published?
I had three or four short works published in my college campus’s magazine Literalines. The first novel I published was Dreaming While You Sleep.
3. You’ve self published several novels. What led you to that path?
Self-publishing was something I really wanted to do. Submitting to major publishers was proving difficult because my stories didn’t (and still don’t) fall into clear cut genres and I hadn’t yet made a name for myself. So I decided to just do it on my own and get my work out there to see if I could find an audience. I loved the creative freedom of the process and discovering there were people out there who liked the strange way I do things really helped me define my voice.
4. Your upcoming novella, In the Calm, deals in part with the tragic story of the Titanic. Are you a fan of the movie? What is it about the tragedy that draws you in?
I’m more a fan of Titanic documentaries than the blockbuster movie. I find the true stories of those on board the ship far more interesting and heartbreaking than anything Hollywood could invent. It was a tragedy that could have been prevented and yet at the same time you look at all the small seemingly insignificant events that led up to it and it seems like it was inevitable. It makes you wonder.
5. Your novella also deals with psychics, past life regression, and also ghosts. Have you always been interested in the paranormal?
I was exposed to it at a very young age so you could almost say I never had much choice when it came to having an interest in the paranormal. It was always around me, in my life, in one form or another. I’ve always had the desire to reach into the abyss.
6. What other authors do you admire?
Oscar Wilde, Shirley Jackson, and Stephen King. It sounds like an odd combination, I know, but each accomplished something in their writing I try to emulate in my own way.
7. What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
I found Stephen King’s On Writing interesting and useful. I’d never given much thought on the use of adverbs until I read that book.
8. Do you have any special routines that help you get in your writing ‘zen’ spot?
Not especially. Music is always an important gateway but a story either speaks to me or it doesn’t. When it does there’s really not much that can get in the way of my writing – it’s a compulsion. I do prefer to write the first draft by hand and have my favorite pens and all that but I can make do with a crayon and shopping receipt if I have to. I scribble notes or scenes down as they come to me, wherever they happen to come to me, and flesh them out and put them together later on.
9. What appealed to you about working with Angelic Knight Press?
I wanted to go to a place I found trustworthy, where the people would care about my story and actually listen to what I had to say about the project. Angelic Knight Press fit that description. I like that they also work hard to help promote their authors so you aren’t left hanging totally alone. It feels like a partnership.
10. What advice would you give to new writers?
The most important thing is to get your thoughts down on paper. Don’t worry about the current fad or squeezing into a specific genre or whether it’s perfect your first time through. Write for yourself first and write something you’re passionate about. Tell the story the way you feel it needs to be told. Proofing and editing and all the more difficult stuff will come later but if you don’t truly love and believe in what you’re working on odds are no one else will either.
JD Phillips is a native of Bartholomew County, Indiana. She attended IUPUC where she majored in psychology and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University. She is currently employed with a residential treatment facility for troubled youth. She has been writing since childhood and has had several short works published in Literalines, a magazine published out of IUPUC.
Her first novel published was Dreaming While You Sleep, Book One of Footprints on the Other Side. The sequel, A Beautiful Rain, was published shortly after. In September of 2006 her third novel, Tainted, saw its debut and became the first to sell internationally. It was named 1st Runner Up in the 2007 Best Books of Indiana awards. Her fourth novel, The Dead Pool, was released in 2007 and received an honorable mention at the 2008 New York Book Festival. 2009 saw the release of her 5th novel Mad Angel. Chasing the Ghost, Eyes of Bersai: The Relic or The Reckoning are also available for Kindle/Nook. With many other books already written and ready to go, many more are sure to follow in the days to come.
You can find JD on Facebook or at her blog here.
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