“I do believe that our bodies are merely shells meant to house our souls/energy while we’re here and energy never dies. If our souls continue on so does the love we held within them. If two souls truly share a bond that deep physical death won’t be able to break it.”

February 12, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

JD Phillips is a native of Bar where she majored in psychology and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University. 

She has been writing since childhood and has had several short works published in Literalines, a magazine published out of IUPUC between the years of 1999-2003.

Her first novel published was “Dreaming While You Sleep” Book One of Footprints on the Other Side (Heartland Publishing, 2005). The sequel, “A Beautiful Rain,” was published in September of 2005. In September of 2006, her third novel, “Tainted,” saw its debut and became the first to sell interntionally. It placed as 1st runner-up in the 2007 Best Books of Indiana awards. Her fourth novel, “The Dead Pool” was released in April of 2007 and received honorable mention at the 2008 New York Book Festival.On July 27th 2009 her 5th novel, Mad Angel, made its debut and is the first to be available in chain bookstores such as Borders. It is currently being featured on  [via]

How would you describe yourself as an author to someone who has never read your books? What would you like them to know?

I like to write stories that will get under your skin. I try to leave something for readers to think about if they want to or simply entertain them if they don’t. There’s usually a certain level of darkness in my work, usually something supernatural, but there’s also reason to smile. You can’t have light without darkness – the older I get and the more I experience the more I want to get that message out there.

What first inspired you to write? Who, or what, are your greatest influences?

I started writing when I was 9 but I honestly don’t remember any one thing that inspired me to do it. I was always playing pretend and making up stories to see if anyone would go along with them as a kid so I guess putting it on paper was a natural progression.

I’ve been most influenced by writers like Oscar Wilde and Kahlil Gibran who had a way of making words flow like music. I’ve also taken a lot from video games and various songs. Anything capable of creating images and emotions strong enough to make me want to create some of my own.

The theme of love overcoming death is significant in several of your books. Do you personally believe in that concept?

I wrote Mad Angel as my weird way of exploring this idea but I’m not sure how much came through in the story. I do believe that our bodies are merely shells meant to house our souls/energy while we’re here and energy never dies. If our souls continue on so does the love we held within them. If two souls truly share a bond that deep physical death won’t be able to break it.

What’s your favorite book to give as a gift, and why?

Gibran’s Little Book of Love. His writings on love are always my favorite and this is an easy way to carry a collection of excerpts on the subject wherever you go.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished writing two huge fantasy novels back to back so I haven’t had much time to read lately. The last one I finished was called The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I highly recommend it.

You’ve said music plays “an important role in writing”. What music has played a role in yours? How?

There’s a place I fall into when I’m lost in a story or reaching for ideas (my personal dead pool) and music is the key to getting there. I make homespun soundtracks for every book I work on with songs that remind me of characters or put me in touch with certain emotions I need to feel to make a scene work. There are a few artists that tend to do the trick for me every time but sometimes it’s a mixed bag. You never know what might strike the chord you need to fall in head over heels.

Will you tell us about the “bersai”?

I wrote about my first bersai back in the ‘90’s but the first series of books about them didn’t come about until I was in college. They developed partly from my love of the Soul Reaver games and their take on the vampire legacy and partly from my own research into the vampire myth. I found stories from people all over the world who, at the time, had no way to communicate with each other describing more or less the same thing. They all had their own version of a vampire and that made me wonder what had caused so many to share similar beliefs. So I came up with the bersai – the race of people that inspired all those myths we now know so well – and ran with it.

Can you give us an idea of what to expect in your upcoming series? How is it connected to Tainted?

I actually have a couple of series written and ready to be published. I’ve been submitting The Reckoning – the first book in a series of dark fantasy – to major publishers in hopes of landing mass distribution. You can go to to read the first chapter and sign to show your support if you like it.

I also have my bersai series The Relic, my favorite of all the bersai books I’ve done so far, which was mentioned as coming soon at the end of Tainted but unfortunately ended up being shelved. If there’s enough interest I’d definitely be up for getting it polished and ready for launch as an e-book if not something more.

Neither series is connected to the story or characters of Tainted, however. My feeling is that The Dead Pool marked the end of that journey.

You’ve called your latest book, Chasing the Ghost, your “darkest, weirdest yet”. Can you explain what that means?

On both a personal and creative level Ghost was a bizarre ride. I wrote it a few years ago during an extremely difficult time in my life with no intention of ever letting it loose on the world. Finishing it was a cathartic experience and once enough time had passed to put distance between where I had been and where I am now I felt it was one of the better things I’d done. It flows something like a dream within a dream, it doesn’t seem to make any sense until suddenly it does, and covers some dark topics a lot of people don’t like to think about. I think the overall message leans more toward the hopeful side when all is said and done, though. It’s my hope it will ultimately come to mean something to someone other than myself.

Chasing the Ghost is currently available through Kindle and Nook. Do you see ebook releases as something that will be more common, and cost effective for both authors and readers, in the future?

With the way the publishing business operates a lot of good writers are now turning to self-publishing despite the stigma still attached to it. Personally I’ve loved everything about being self-published except for the lack of major distribution and would still be doing it now if finances allowed. For people like me who can’t afford to publish on their own and haven’t been able to find a publishing house willing to take a chance on them an e-book is really the only way to go. Tainted and The Dead Pool are both out of print – once the few used copies I have sell all that will be left on the market are the e-book versions. I hate to think there may be a day paperbacks become a thing of the past but you’ve got to try to make your work available to your readers in any way you can. I think the number of e-books on the market will definitely continue to rise.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer? What was the best advice someone gave you?

The best advice is to write for you. Write what you love, write in a way that feels right to you, and don’t worry about whether it will fit in with the current market fad. If you’re serious about being published you’re going to face some rejection. If you don’t truly love what you’re doing it’ll be hard to keep pushing to break through.

Also don’t let anyone tell you that your writing isn’t worth anything if you aren’t published by a major house. Someone really helped put it in perspective for me once when they said reading my book had saved their life. It’s hard to think of yourself as a failure in the industry when you know you’ve touched someone like that and you never know what your work might mean to someone. Don’t give up on it.

What’s the best way your readers can support you and your upcoming projects?

Word of mouth has done miracles for me. If you’ve liked something of mine please try to take a few seconds to post a review on places like Amazon or mention it to someone you know that shares your taste in books. Or, if you happen to know a publisher, you could always slide one of my works under their nose and tell them to take a peek inside. 😉



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