Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you M.A. Phipps!
M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who currently resides in the picturesque English West Country with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.
I love reading author bios. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. My dad has always been an avid reader and made an active effort to steer my brothers and I toward books, even at a young age. I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t love to read and write.
Why did you choose to write your genre? I want to test my boundaries and write across a wide range of genres throughout my career. My debut trilogy just happens to be dystopian since that was the story I had in my head at the time, although if I’m being honest, I am a huge fan of dystopian literature, so my own reading habits probably tempted me to try my hand at that genre first.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? I once wrote a short story about an old man playing bingo in competition against the Grim Reaper. Yeah, that was a weird one.
What are you currently working on? I’m currently working on the third and final book in my dystopian trilogy PROJECT W. A. R. [Yay! Loved these books!]
What motivated the plot of your latest book? My PROJECT W. A. R. trilogy was inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 along with real life events that occurred during World War II, namely Nazi Germany and the human experimentation conducted by the Japanese at Unit-731. I’ve always been fascinated by history, especially during that time, and Orwell’s world haunted me for years after reading it. The two sort of collided to create my current series. [Interesting.]
What was the hardest story for you to write? My first ever novel is a young adult fantasy that deals with the afterlife. That one took a lot of research and is still incredibly rough and requires multiple rewrites before it will be even remotely ready for publication. I think that has probably been the hardest story for me to write because it was my first proper exposure to crafting full-length fiction. Plus, I didn’t know my style or what worked for me yet in terms of planning.
What process do you use to plan your novels? I typically do an in-depth bullet point outline for each chapter, planning everything out down to the dialogue and character movements so that the novel is essentially written before I even begin. Then the “proper” writing is a breeze since it’s already laid out in front of me. I also have to make a playlist of instrumental music that matches the vibe of each chapter to help me get in the right mindset when writing. [I’ve never thought to do a different playlist for each chapter.]
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? My favorite character I’ve written so far is Jenner from my PROJECT W. A. R. trilogy. He’s a true friend and support to my protagonist, cute, and loveable. Kind of like a puppy.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? All the time. Luckily, it only lasts for day-long spurts. I usually have to just leave what I’m doing and come back to it again the next day. No point forcing something that doesn’t want to come otherwise you’ll just end up hating what you’ve written.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? I think a lot of my personality is reflected in Wynter’s. I come across as quite bubbly and open on social media but I’m pretty quiet and reserved in person, unless I’m comfortable around you. Plus, our taste in men is the same (lol). [Now that’s funny!]
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Why? I love thrillers (a lot of people say my novels read as thrillers) [they do] so I’d love to try my hand at a proper full-blown psychological thriller someday along the lines of Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Or maybe a horror. I’m also big into fantasy so I look forward to properly completing a fantasy standalone or series.
Which authors inspire you? JK Rowling is obviously an immensely inspiring person not only in her writing, so I look up to her in more ways than one. I have also found inspiration in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy which was controversial for being considered atheist in plot. It persuaded me to be fearless in my own writing, regardless of criticism, and to write the story I want to tell instead of the story people want to hear.
What novel would you read multiple times? The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) J. R. R. Tolkien. I’m a huge Lord of the Rings nerd and I’ve honestly never loved any piece of fiction as much as I love The Lord of the Rings. I would love to be able to sit with him and just talk about his inspirations and that world.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved foxes. I’m not sure why foxes of all animals, but to this day I still adore them. Even my author logo is a watercolor digital painting of a fox that I made.
What is your favorite color? It changes often, but usually some shade of green.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Writing is a full-time career for me but a part-time lifestyle if that makes sense. I’m always working on my books or marketing them in some way, however, I do have a toddler and another job (freelance graphic designer) to help with the bills, both of which I also love and can’t imagine my life without.
Catch up with M.A. online at:
TYPE X: https://amzn.com/B01KLCZRLI
It was such a pleasure to getting to know you, M.A. Phipps!
Next week’s featured guest will be Brea Behn.