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April’s Not Only For Fools Author Extravaganza
Author Marie J. S. Phillips ~ Romantic Science Fiction
Thanks for visiting with us today, Marie. It’s great of you to entertain my questions.
Do you have children, a significant other, or pets?
I have no children, but I am married 22 years to my beau of 40 years. We were High School sweethearts. We bought our home in 1986 and still live here, working on some home remodeling to this 107 year old house. We have two cats, one of which is a huge 24 pound red tabby Maine Coon cat. Life most days is very good!
What do you like to do to balance the demands writing places on you?
I collect, customize and photo show model horses. I also horseback ride when I can. I enjoy gardening and tending the little forest of young conifers in the yard I raised. Five of those are offspring of Old gent, a 100 year odl Norway spruce that dominated the yard before storm damage brought him down in 2004. He will be featured in his own book called, of course, OLD GENT. My husband and I love sports and follow our favorite teams. We make the pilgrimage to Citifield to watch the Mets every summer.
What is your perception of your personality?
Eccentric, loving, sensitive, yet logical and stubborn!
What do you like to read?
Science fiction, fantasy and animal tales.
What kind music do you prefer?
Classic rock, Christmas music, Classical and even Jazz on occasion.
Where do you live?
Do you have a routine you follow daily?
I like to rise, have my coffee and breakfast while playing silly games on FB and read email, then begin some writing or model painting. If the weather is nice I will photogtraph model horses in the morning. My routine is not set in stone, and the weather and how much sun is in the studio may drive what I feel like doing on any given day.
What’s your fave food, beverage, and/or restaurant?
We don’t go out much to restaurants any longer and after watching too much Kitchen Nightmares, well it makes me want to just stay home! Love a good RARE steak, good Italian food, and top that off with a rich chocolate cake and I am happy! My fav beverage constists of pure undiluted cranberry juice, some Stevia for sweetening, and seltzer.
What prepared you for becoming a writer?
I suppose a LOT of reading, though I started writing very young. I created my first characters in picture books as a six year old and I even made up my own publishing company logo, complete with a rising sun and a rainbow. The name-wait for it, yes Sunrise Publications. I had a lot of encouragement form a HS teacher who gave me a copy of The Lord of the Rings and that sucked me into that genre.
What habits or routines do you find you must follow to be able to write?
I can write almost anywhere and for most of my life carried notebooks to write where ever I found myself. Now I rarely write out longhand and my handwriting is awful so I work direct on the computer. My Laptop follows me to places I find I must wait for things like waiting for car repairs etc. My problem is I need more time in a day!
How does your day-to-day life affect your writing?
Well everyday life involving household chores, running errands, and such sure saps much needed writing time! If I could spend all day writing or painting models or creating illustrations I’d probably fuse to my desk chair. But sometimes, it helps in that when forced to leave a story for a while, when I come back to it and resume work, the characters are eager to keep telling their tale and things begin to really click.
Where do you think you are in your writing career?
For as long as I have been writing, I am decades into it, however I feel like a real unknown beginner.
Where do you want to be?
Successfully selling the results of decades of work. Not there yet!
How long have you been writing?
For fifty years.Casually or academically? Casually most of my life, striving to become professional. Professionally? My first sale of a short story was in 2001, so I suppose about 12 years now?
Are you an independently published writer or a traditionally published writer?
Indie all the way
What do you write?
Science fiction / fantasy and animal stories with the occasional odd ball thing like a semi fictional biography of a tree!! I publish ebooks, and hardcover and paperback versions of all my books.
How do you keep yourself motivated to write?
I do not have to try. The inner drive has been there for as long as I remember. I started creating those picture books when I learned how to pick up a pencil and pen! When I learn to write my letters, I began to write. Fifty years. . . .I probably will go to my grave with a story in my head. . .
What do like and dislike about writing?
I love creating the books. Oh its been so wonderful to see my books in print! The Indie movement ha sbeen a godsend. I think the most difficult thing about actual writing is finishing that FIRST draft!! Once that is done, the rest comes so easy! But overall, the thing I DISLIKE is, something I am terrible at, MARKETING!!!
Talk to us about your cover.
My covers I created from paintings and other artwork done for the books. They are not complex but take a scene from somewhere in the story, and use it. It usually is an important or pivotal scene in the story. In Book I I used the scene of my characters taking a break while exploring the alien planet which actually is Earth. Behind them, Mt Washington, NH looms snow-covered with its cap of buildings.
Do you have a fave character?
Hard to pick one, but I do love my Starship captain, Ship Commander Geupetus of Clan Darius. Close second is his Felkoon, Fekluris from Book II.
Do any of your characters reflect anyone you know?
Yes, they all have a nugget of people in my life, expounded, expanded and intensified, and the genetically Maine Coon Felakoons have base personalities of many cats I have known.
If you could meet one character from your writing, who would it be?
Geupetus, and of course his Felakoon Fekluris!!
If you could meet a favorite character (from some one else’s writing) or author who would it be and why?
OH wow—this is a TOUGH one!!!!! But I’d have to go with F’lar and Lessa of Anne Mccaffrey’s Pern and their Dragons Mnementh and Ramoth!!
What is something you’d like the reader to know about you or your writing?
Well, people that actually take the time to read the books like them, particularly Book II. Everyone wants a Felakoon. . . .
What is something you’d like other writers to know about you or your writing?
I’m pretty easygoing, but my writing tends to be detailed and I do get into the heads of my characters very well!
What author has inspired you most in your writing?
Hmm hard there, too, since I have done so much reading, but in my childhood Albert Payton Terhune and his famous collies ruled my days, until I read The Lord of the Rings in High School, and later, I’d have to give Ann Mccaffery’s Pern a lot of credit. When one reads Book I-one may indeed see that influence in Iggie the Matissia.
If writing hadn’t been the path you chose, what do you think you’d be doing today?
If the writer/artist muse was gone, I think I’d be an arborist. I love trees, and have raised many from tiny seedlings, including my 50 foot 32 year old Tuliptree, Sunrise.
What is the hardest review or criticism you’ve had about your writing and how did you deal with it?
Well probably that I am verbose? My stuff tends to be long. However, so far, with the TINY amount of reviews I have received, once folks get into the books, the length does not seem to bother them. But that certainly can change and it will not likely change the way I write after all these decades.
What would you like to share with other writers about your writing?
If you love books with stories from the nonhuman point of view-from the animal, tree, fantasy creature, or alien’s point of view, you wlll enjoy these books. But they are not everyone’s cup of tea.
Which one of your publications will you be sharing in the interview?
The Furlites of Aroriel: On Matissia Wings and Book II Earth-bred, Matissia-born.
Book I – On the cold distant world Aroriel — where primate species never developed — evolution spawned a furry saurian race that now reaches for the stars. Commander Geupetus of Clan Darius, offered command of the first near-lightspeed starship, hesitates to take the job, as Furlitian Law forbids his pre-adolescent twins Murkuria and Thorius from accompanying their Clan on this historic mission into interstellar space.
Clan Darius, after careful deliberation as a family, driven by their rigid sense of military honor, discipline, and duty, decide they must squelch their emotions and accept the commission – leaving the twins on Aroriel. But the paradox caused by the Clan’s traveling near the speed of light means that IF the twins ever see their family again, they will be older than their parents!
Distraught, Thorius conceives an outrageous plan to stow aboard the great starship. He and Murkuria borrow a family shuttle, and whiz off, determined to reach the Space Center before dawn launch. With the help of Iggie, Murkuria’s pet Matissia, they sneak aboard the starship, inadvertently causing the Sunpyne to crash land on an alien world, where dinosaurian life like their own is long extinct, and strange primate beings that call themselves Human populate the planet.
Following a violent first confrontation with two natives, they race to repair the ship. A second meeting, with a family camping out in the wilderness around the ship, results in friendship, and information exchange. However, after their Human friends leave to return to a distant home, the Human military locates the downed starship, just after the crew completes full repairs. Geupetus powers up the ship, but suddenly realizes his twins and one Cadet are not aboard. With enemy warcraft peppering the area with arms fire, and unable to lower shields to recover his children and crewmate, Geupetus refuses to leave without them. Will the furlites ever see their beloved home again? Some Sexual content.
Book II – Young Murkuria discovers that the homeworld-bound Sunpyne harbors yet another stowaway. This time, it is the Human’s lost pet Maine Coon cat, which is pregnant and dying from malnutrition. Murkuria succeeds in genetically altering the Earth cat’s unborn zygotes so they can thrive on Aroriel’s magnesium-rich foods. Seven kittens — born to surrogate mother Iggie the Matissia — bond to and communicate telepathically with Furlites of their own choosing. These exotic smart treasures which Murkuria dubs Felakoons, endear themselves to the proud Clan, proving to be far more than mere pets. However, as the Sunpyne and Sauri return from their first mission to the stars, anticipating awe, triumph, and glory, unexpected opposition to the new “alien” life throws the planet into strife and conflict such has not been seen in centuries. Will the Felakoons earn a place in Furlitian society, or be sterilized, and die out as a species before have barely begun to live? Some sexual content.
Why did you choose this one?
I really need the exposure!
What do you think and feel about this publication?
It is pretty close to my life’s work. Started working on it in 1979!! I feel like their official scribe!
Who is your favorite character?
Geupetus and his Felakoon, Fekluris, but I love Murkuria and her Iggie too.
How did you decide on the title?
Well aside from the obvious, the secondary title came about since Iggie the Marissia helped a great deal in helping the twins sneak aboard their Clan’s starship! In the 2nd book, the title comes from the fact that the Felakoons who come from a Maine Coon dam, were carried to term by Iggie after Murkuria genetically alters the zygotes to survive on Aroriel.
Are any of the scenes or storylines in your book real life experiences?
Well sort of. Hiking the White Mountains gave me the knowledge of the crash site area so it is authentic!
Is your book born purely of imagination?
Yes, but the science I based my creations (Furlites, Felakoons, and their world) on is sound.
Paperback copies of Books I & II of The Furlites of Aroriel. On Matissia Wings and Earth-bred, Matissia-born.
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