Today, I am sharing R. Michael Philips answers to 5 questions. He is the author of two mystery series, The Ernie Bisquets series and his latest release The Auburn Notch Mysteries. You can read our 5 Star Review of his newest book Between Good and Evil by clicking the link
About the Author:
Michael is a classically trained artist turned mystery writer. By combining his creative talents with a passion for mysteries he conceived his first series—The Ernie Bisquets Mysteries. It introduced Ernie Bisquets, a retired London pickpocket who decided he was going to assist the London police with there most difficult cases—whether they want his help or not. Michael has completed 3 books in the series, and has plans for at least five additional books.
Michael travels a bit, especially to Great Britain, but also has a fondness for New England. He spent many winters in the shadow of the White Mountains, skiing and enjoying the beautiful countryside. Those fond memories are the backdrop now for the new Auburn Notch Mysteries being published by Sunbury Press. The main character is Sheriff Promise Flynn—an ex-metro detective who left a dark past and her big-city detective shield behind and moved to a small New England town. What follows is anything but therapeutic.
When he’s not painting or writing Michael is an avid antique collector, filling his current home—an 1894 Queen Ann Victorian he, his wife, and son are restoring—with an assortment of antiques from around the world. Michael also enjoys cooking, working in the garden, and playing in the yard with their two rescues, Beau and Pup.
*To start with can you tell us a little about yourself and the project we are seeing today?
Well, the bio filled in most of the blanks, so I’ll tell you a little more about the new series. Between Good And Evil is the first book in my new Auburn Notch Mysteries, set in a small New England town. The book/series features Promise Flynn, an overly impulsive Metro Detective whose disregard for procedure finally resulted in her being shot and left for dead during an investigation. To repair her bruised ego and splintered confidence she abandons the callous dark alleys of Chicago to patrol the quiet, birch-lined streets of Auburn Notch. What she quickly finds out is crime also likes quiet, birch-lined streets.
*What advice do you have for new authors, like me?
Michael- The best advice I can give you is: never give up. There’ll be days when the words just won’t flow, days when you’re sure doing anything other than writing would be a better use of your time, editors pointing out everything you’ve done wrong, and the list goes on. So, no matter what, don’t give up. Someone told me a long time ago 90% of writers don’t get published for one main reason—they give up. If you look at this in a positive way, it means 90% of your competition has been eliminated. So keep going and become part of the 10% that become authors.
Lian- What a great way to look at it!
*What is the first book that you remember reading?
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Dickens’ attention to detail about setting and characters is still an inspiration to me after all these years.
– I find it hard to get into Charles Dickens, the movies are easier. My parents say I enjoy it when I get older.
*What is an underrated book, series or author that you think everyone should read?
I think at some point in life every mystery lover should read Trent’s Last Case, by E.C. Bentley. Nothing sums up what goes into a whodunit like that book.
*If you could be friends with a character in one of your stories who would it be and what kinds of things would you do together?
I would have to say one of my favorites is Ernie Bisquets, lead character in my Ernie Bisquets Mysteries. He’s a retired pickpocket in contemporary London who has decided to help the London police with their most baffling cases—whether they want his help or not. I’ve written 3 books in that series, so I feel like I’m right there with him when I get him involved with some of his old street friends. It’s always a hoot to spend a day with Ernie visiting his old haunts in London as I type away at the story. I’ve just started the next book in that series, so I’m back in the dark alleys of London with my old friend Ernie.
-He sounds like an interesting person. They say criminal make the best detectives.
*Who do your stories appeal to?
My books appeal to mystery readers who enjoy solving a puzzle. They are readers who like to get to know the characters and their backstories. The cozy lovers will enjoy the Ernie Bisquets Mysteries because of the quirky characters and plot twists, and the suspense lovers will enjoy the Auburn Notch Mysteries because they are a little darker.
-My mom talked a lot about your characters in Between Good and Evil. She really liked how much information there was.
*Apart from writing and reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?
I’m a classically trained artist, so I always have a couple paintings going on my easels. Painting helps me think, and I work out a lot of the plots for the stories while I paint.
-That sounds like a great way to relax. I don’t paint but, I do draw a lot.
*How do you write your books?
I have a pretty strict writing routine. I’ll spend hours during the week jotting down notes for the plot, researching different aspects of the book, or just outlining ideas for future books. But 7:00 Saturday morning I’m at my desk writing. I’ll be there all day turning my notes from the week into chapters or outlines. Some days I’ll write 2 or 3 chapters, and that’s a good day. Other times I’ll barely get a few pages written. It’s all part of the process. It works for me. As a result, I can get one of the Bisquets books done in about 6 months, (these are English cozies and are all about the puzzle), but the Auburn Notch books can take a year or more, (these are a little darker and require more research).
-It is a good idea to a detailed plan for what you want to write.
How do you define success as an author?
Seeing your book on the shelf in a book store is an incredible feeling, but for me I felt I was a success as an author when I got my first email from a reader asking me when my next book was going to be released. It doesn’t get any better than that.
-That does sound exciting. When Mom got a copy of my first book she was super excited and then asked “okay, what’s next?” I guess I have a fan too. 🙂
Many Super Thanks to R. Michael Phiips for answering so many questions. You can find his books at Amazon and other book sellers.