Book Blog 2018!
Welcome to the website exclusive ‘Book Blog of 2018’ by Paul Phillips. This will be the second blog of the year to not feature in the popular ‘Three Books, Two Laptops and One Funny Blog’ series which can be found here https://www.paulphillipsauthor.co.uk/blog/categories/paul-phillips-2018-blog and while the previous entry focused on the music featured in and around Obsession You Will Always Be Mine (https://www.paulphillipsauthor.co.uk/blog/obsession-you-will-always-be-mine-the-music-special) todays entry will focus on the books and authors who have inspired and entertained Paul the most over the years.
A small bit of housekeeping before we get down to business, as you may have noticed this blog is going live on a Sunday evening rather than our usual Friday night uploads and we can confirm this is going to be the normal going forward. We have listened to the feedback and are more than happy to move these things to a more accommodating Sunday evening slot. If nothing else it moves the deadline back two days for Paul and that makes everyone’s life a little bit happier.
In one final bit of news, we can confirm that next Sundays blog (blog 04) will contain a rather large bit of news. We are not allowed to say what just yet but it has all of us here at team Phillips very excited.
That, however, is for next week, we are here to discuss authors, novels, short stories and inspirations so lets get started! The following interview was conducted just five days ago and will hopefully shine a different shade of light on Paul and his work.
Well, Paul, we are back again and ready to delve a little deeper into your inspirations. Lets start with a hard one and ask if you had to list three authors who have inspired you the most who would you pick?
That is a tough one. Just three? Ok, lets start with the obvious one and say, Ian Rankin. My brother gave me a copy of a book called ‘A Question of Blood’ and while I was a bit suspicious at first, I mean it was a book, not a computer game, I decided to give it a go. It wasn’t long before I was lost in the plot and the characters, especially the detective. Everything I have read and been inspired by began at that very moment. I read the book again a few weeks ago and despite knowing the twists and turns I still found it to be a fantastic book! Highly recommended. So nice one our kid. From there I found a whole host of crime writers and so many wonderful books that my life was really never the same again.
Secondly I am going pick Michael Connelly. I can’t say for sure which author I like the most between Connelly and Rankin, both for me are outstanding but while Rankin opened my eyes to how a city can be a character in a story Connelly showed me that it is possible to create a moving universe. Michael is an author with several lead characters and all of them can pop up and interact with the others at any given time. Michael Connelly has created a fictional world (set in a real life city) which once or twice a year explodes into life. It Is a concept that I love and one I would love to replicate with my own characters.
Third, and finally I am going to pluck for Thomas Harris. He is the writer of the Hannibal Lecter books and created what in my opinion is still the greatest ‘bad guy’ in fiction that I have come across. It is a little known fact that Hannibal doesn’t even appear on half the pages of his first two books. In Red Dragon and Silence of The Lambs he is the background guy. Not the killer or the detective hunting the bad guy, he isn’t even able to move as he spends 99% of these first two books in a high security institution, but I doubt anyone has ever read these two novels and not come away thinking Mr Lecter was the star of the show. If you can write a character who doesn’t appear on every page (Hi Kelly) but who can still be the central focus of the book I would say you are onto something pretty good.
Now that we have covered authors lets get a little bit more specific and look at which books, in particular, have inspired you. I know you have dreaded this question since we told you it was coming up but can you talk about a few of the many books you love and why?
I have dreaded this. I spent a good part of the past week thinking, making notes and plotting how to answer this question and I still don’t really know if I will be able to do it justice or not.
I am going to name check but not really talk about The Silence of The Lambs and A Question of Blood. The reasons behind them are part of the first question but both of these are books I love. As is a lesser known book called Aftermath by Peter Robinson. I am going to try and avoid spoilers but Aftermath begins with the revealing of the killer and works backwords. It is a wonderful book which I have read several times and now, having written this I am already looking forward to reading again. Sticking with Robinson, Before The Poison is another great read. I love the way that there is no obvious crime in Before The Poison and how the story is split between present day and the 1960’s. Be warned however the twist will get you. Perfect People by Peter James is a bit more sci-fi than I would normally like but the story and writing are so good it gripped me from the first page.
A book I read a few years ago but recently re-read has had a big impact on me and set me a challenge that I am looking forward to taking on. ‘Standing In Another Mans Grave’ by Ian Rankin is the first ‘Rebus’ book in five years. On page one, the words ‘John’ and ‘Rebus’ do not feature. All you know is that there is a man at a funeral, holding back from the crowd and watching the service. Yet such is the strength of the Rebus character you know it is him. You know from the way he thinks, the way he moves and the thing in his hand (no spoilers). What an achievement it is to create a fictional detective who can be identified without his name or a word of physical description appearing on the page. The last book I will mention is a book called The Poet by Michael Connelly. It is not a part of the Bosch series but I mentioned before it does take place in the same world. It is a book I tried to get my wife to read and I am delighted to report that when she finally caved and gave it a read she loved it almost as much as me.
Just because I feel the below require a name check I am going to list a few more books which have influenced me and that I strongly recommend. All are on amazon as will be a synopsis for each.
Angela Clark – Any of ‘Follow Me’, Trust Me or ‘Watch Me’
Michael Connelly – The Concrete Blond and The Lincoln Lawyer (to be honest all the Connelly books)
John Grisham – A Time to Kill or The Pelican Brief
Robert Harris – Fatherland or Munich
Peter James – Any of the Roy Grace books
Stuart Macbride – Shatter The Bones
Ian Rankin – Exit Music or Black and Blue (Again like Connelly any Rankin book is a good book)
Peter Robinson – Wednesday’s Child or Playing With Fire
S J Watson – Before I Go To Sleep
Which characters from these books mean the most to you and what impact have they had on your writing?
Let’s start with Rebus. I would have to say he is the greatest fictional character I have come across so far. He is so real it is almost painful in places yet the things he does and the impact he has on those around him are always fascinating. Rankin aged Rebus in real time so as you read the books you see him change from rough and ready to slower and more broken down. Looking at my notes for future books the biggest influence Rebus has had on my writing is to always remember that these characters are not super heroes. There is a wonderful genre of books which have people jumping out of moving cars into helicopters and catching the bad guy milliseconds before they blow up the world, but that isn’t the style for me. Rebus is much more likely to stumble across the bad guy whilst nursing a hangover and smoking a cigarette. That is much more to my liking.
Banks from the Peter Robinson novels is next. I have always enjoyed the idea that while the character is a police officer he also has a life and more often than not a family at home. Robinson is still to me the best crime writer for mixing home life with work. As the series continues Banks goes through a number of events at home which play a part in a change in mindset. I love the idea that a bad day at home can shape the characters thinking while at work.
Last one Peter James and the Roy Grace series. I have to start this by pointing out that I love Roy Grace and enjoy almost everything Peter James has ever written. He is a tremendously successful author and if I can achieve a tenth of his success I will be very happy. However, in recent years, the books have moved from ‘Crime Fiction’ to ‘Police Procedural’ and while that is good for Peter and his followers it has opened my eyes to a direction I do not want to go down.
A bit of a mean one for you but Rankin or Connelly?
I am not picking, both exist and I for one am delighted that they do.
Q5. Somehow we knew you would say that. In closing then can you talk about some of the decisions you have to make going forward and how all of the authors and books above have influenced these.
Well first off I have to work out how to make the leap from thriller to crime writing. Neither Obsession You Will Always Be Mine or the follow up are crime books yet I still see myself ending up going in that direction. Might even give it a try in book three….
With that said the second and maybe the most important decision I will have to make is one that is a good few years away from needing to be made. I have a nicely plotted out series of books to be written. Some are crime, some are back into the thriller genre but all have starts, middles and ends. There is even a trilogy in the works and that is something I have been working on for many a year. I have the players in place and hopefully will be able to tie lots of loose ends (loose ends you have not even read yet) together in these three books. After that, I will need to sit down and decide if I want a reoccurring character or if I want to start each book with a fresh page. There is something to be said for writing for the same person over and over again and I do like the idea of creating a person who means so much to people that they will know it is him on the page without me saying it, but there is also a lot of fun in losing the back story, losing the personality traits that are expected and creating a whole new person. I am currently edging towards the Michael Connelly approach (read his wonderful books to understand this) but I am sure this will change in the years ahead!
Thanks for reading my book musings and I will be back next Sunday with a brand new blog and a pretty big announcement about some fun projects which we have lined up!
Obsession You Will Always Be Mine, the first book all of the above helped me write is out NOW! See the following links for more details!
Austin Macauley – http://www.austinmacauley.com/book/obsession-you-will-always-be-mine
Barnes and Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1128265283?ean=2940155182283
Booktopia (For Australian Fans) - - https://www.booktopia.com.au/obsession--paul-phillips/prod9781787109780.html
Paul’s Author Twitter Page - https://twitter.com/pphillips_ukuk
Paul’s Author Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/PaulPhillipsAuthor/
Paul’s Author Instagram Page - https://www.instagram.com/paulphillipsauthor/