An interview with C.T. Phipps (me) by my fans

Hey folks,

I posted on my Facebook page a request from my fans to give me their questions. It’s been a year since my writing debut and I wanted to see what people thought. They gave me some amazing questions and I’ve answered them all here to the best of my ability.

Writing

How do you write so much?

Simple answer. I don’t. I actually got started writing in 2010 but it took two years to get my first books done and ready for submission. They were picked up by Permuted Press for a year of non-publishing before we decided to part ways. Then it took another year for Amber Cove and Ragnarok Publications to publish The Rules of Supervillainy and Esoterrorism. I’ve been writing that whole time. Authordom is not for the faint at heart. It’s also why you shouldn’t quit your day job.

Supervillainy Saga

What was the deciding factor to make Gary Jewish?

Gary is a singularity of comic book influences. The decision to make Gary Jewish seemed natural with Siegal and Schuster as well as Jack Kirby all being brought in. It felt right for his character and gradually helped shape who he was. It also felt more appropriate than just making him another WASP protagonist.

There are many characters who are of the LGBT community on both sides of the Hero/Villain line. There seems to be a greater percentage that are in the real world. What prompted the push?

I don’t actually think it’s all that different from reality with the LGBT characters being Mandy (bi), Cindy (bi), Adonis (bi), The Human Tank (trans), The Bronze Medalist (g), and the Black Witch (lesbian). This is in comparison to all of the dozens of other straight characters spread throughout the book like Diabloman, Ultragod, Ultragoddess, Guinevere, Tom Terror, and so on.

I did make a conscious effort to avoid making everyone lily white and cis straight as is typical, though. I figured my universe should be representative of reality and if there’s more gay or bisexual characters in my world than normal then it’s a balance against all the other fiction where they’re nonexistent.

In an endless series like the Villainy Saga, where do you decide to end one book and begin another rather than just one huge novel?

I generally try to do a resemblance to actual comic books. I try to divide the books into two-parters with the first book setting up the plot and the second book finishing it. Each book containing micro-plots which play into the larger plot. While some might argue it would work better as a single large volume, I feel these work better for a comic book feel. Also, it helps get them out quicker.

The dead don’t just stay dead in this world. Just like the comic books.  Is this going to be a recurring theme?

Actually, I’m going to genuinely keep the dead dead in these books because, unlike Marvel or DC, I have total control in my book. Certainly, Gary is going to try to break the rules as much as possible but actual resurrections are always going to be rare. It’s also going to have lasting consequences for the world as the deaths of heroes and villains results in dramatic changes to the status quo of the universe. Is the end of the Age of Heroes and Villains or the the start of a new one?

As an example, Arthur Warren a.k.a Cloak is never going to come back as the Nightwalker. While I routinely brought back the supervillains Gary killed in The Rules of Supervillainy and The Games of Supervillainy, that was for humorous effect and they’re dead-dead now. Likewise, Falconcrest City is going to be permanently affected by the zombie apocalypse which happened there. So, death isn’t an absolute in my books but it’s not a revolving door either.

Once you’ve saved all of creation, what’s next to top that?

I don’t think you actually need to always go up and at em in terms of comic book plots. I think you can mix them up as much as you want. Superman saving the world is fine but so is Superman saving Lois Lane or a bunch of guys threatened by gangsters (with Kryptonite I presume). I generally think of Supernatural as my go-to-example. The Winchester Brothers defeated Satan in Season 5.

They didn’t need to keep fighting equally powerful evils in subsequent seasons as personal enemies would do just as well. It’s not like a hero is going to be less motivated to save one person over a hundred.

When Death appears to have affected a powerful character, it appears they may not stay that way. Why isn’t Death more jealous of her charges?

The Supervillainyverse’s Death is a cosmic inevitability. She knows she’s eventually going to get everyone even if there’s sometimes reversals. It is, however, Gary’s “official job” (when he’s not robbing banks) to eliminate the undead as well as help souls cross over. Raising Mandy from the dead as a vampire seriously screws with his power level for example and damages his connection to his “kaiju-toasting” fire powers.

Gary has his work cut out for him, making the entire Society of Superheroes submissive enough to hear the truth and killing POTUS.

The Society of Superheroes’ opinion of Gary is less than glowing after the death of a certain character. As far as they’re concerned, he’s just another criminal and none of them are particularly interested in defending his Batman/Catwoman (in reverse) relationship with Gabrielle. Ultragod knew Gary was fundamentally harmless, for some definitions of the word, but most of the others only see his body count. It doesn’t help that the Shadow Seven, the team Gary most often works with, is primarily composed of ex-supervillains itself. As for the POTUS, he’s not the real President. There’s a clause in the Constitution against time-traveling Nazis from the future.

Diabloman appears to be loyal to Gary, but he also seems to be doing many things in the background. Should Gary be more attentive to him?

Diabloman was in a very bad place in The Rules of Supervillainy which Gary helped him out of. Gary also successfully saved the world (so he could conquer it for himself) and made billions from the events of The Games of Supervillainy. As a result, Diabloman is back in the game and has even had some of the black magic damage done to his body repaired.

In a very real way, Diabloman would be comfortable going back to being an A-list supervillain destroying lives and taking names. However, he’s come to view Gary as a kid brother substitute for his dead sister Spellbinder and is determined not to torch that relationship.

The thing is, Diabloman is pretty much a Satanic Deathstroke meets Bane and that’s not really a good combination to ignore the dangers of. But yeah, as far as I’m concerned, Diabloman is back to attending Legion of Doom meetings off-camera.

Esoterrorism

What are the fast rules for the world of the Red Room? 

The Red Room universe is a combination of action movie spy universe and urban fantasy universe. As such, you could probably say it’s best thought of as what you’d get with the Dresden Files merged with the Illuminati/Men in Black/X-Files and James Bond. Magic is a functional tool in this world and the House has used it to become the movers and shakers behind the scenes of a hostile violent supernatural world.

Unlike what the conspiracy nuts would say, though, the House functions like any other bureaucracy with lots of incompetence as well as underpaid civil servants. The House basically does its best to intimidate or kill the supernatural threats of the world so they don’t “come out of the coffin” like in Anita Blake or Sookie Stackhouse but this is an ongoing job for them. Plenty of monsters resent this and strike back at the House or humanity in general. Worse, the House is corrupt with its upper tier members using their position to enrich themselves and their families.

I loved the main villain. Can his legacy continue through the series?

In a very real way, the Wazir won when he arranged for Derek to start his war against the House’s corruption. Karl Bjornson’s goal was to destroy the House and eventually lead to the revelation of the supernatural to the public. This is a goal which Derek is not opposed to and he hates the House every bit as much as the Wazir, just is also protective of the people involved. In a very real way, the enemy has moved from the terrorists to the corruption in the government.

The accent of Shannon changing, hints of something, but what?

It’s a statement that Shannon isn’t who Derek thinks she is and much of her personality is a construction. Shannon appears to him as a redheaded Irish woman meant to appeal to Derek’s preference for them. This is because she’s trying to seduce him. Only when they’re closer and the barriers have begun to fall does Shannon reveal she’s actually Scottish with dark hair as well as hint everything she’s told him is a lie. Really, Shannon has been living so many lies and false identities, even she doesn’t know the truth anymore.

Now that Derek is in a position of power, how is he going to have any adventures?

In Eldritch Ops. we find Derek has been ice-skating uphill the entire time he’s been in the Committee. He hates what the job is turning him into and jumps on a chance to personally oversee an investigation he should have no business getting anywhere near. This mission will lead to events spiraling out of control for the House and dramatic world-changing events in the final volume of the series, Operation: Otherworld.

Agent G

So what is Agent G: Infiltrator all about?

Agent G is a science fiction espionage series starring the titular character. G is a assassin working for the Society which is an organization that contracts for the government, corporations, and other groups as long as they can pay their exorbitant fees. The Letters are twenty-six agents who have had their lives taken away from them by memory-erasure and cybernetic enhancement.

Rather than being remorseful about his actions as his past is used to blackmail him into compliance, he’s all too comfortable with the decadent murderous life provided him. This all changes when he’s sent undercover with the murderous Carnivale where he faces just what his life might be like if freed from the Society’s control. Oh and he finds out just who he was before the Society made him into the world’s most dangerous killer.

What’s its genre?

Agent G is a present-day cyberpunk series. It’s sort of the reverse of your typical urban fantasy series with all sorts of monstrous critters underneath the world. Instead, the world is full of science fiction technology, conspiracies, and weird organizations. The ManTM is doing his best to keep the Little GuyTM in his grip and the best part is they don’t even suspect just how much they’re under his thumb.

Straight Outta Fangton

Can you tell me the flavor of your Straight Outta Fangton book? Horror comedy, um horror, mystery, comedy?

Fangton is a horror-comedy in the same vein (hehe) as The Rules of Supervillainy. The world is entirely serious and a homage to Dracula, Underworld, Anite Blake (pre-porn), Blade, True Blood (or Sookie Stackhouse), and even a little Twilight. However, the characters are overthetop in the same way Gary and company are.

In the case of Peter Stone, he’s a poor black vampire wondering why he’s working minimum wage despite ultimate power in a world where other vampires live like celebrities, including his also black sire. Peter gets his chance to make his mark and its sadly against an angsty vampire hunting vampire who has wiped out large portions of his race. This may not have been a very good idea.

Wraith Knight 

Tell us about Wraith Knight again. Every time I hear it, it makes me think of Ready Player One or the Play to Live series.  Those are 2 of my other favorites. Do you have any plans on writing a Virtual Reality series?

Wraith Knight is one of my non-comedy series and a straight dark(ish) fantasy novel. It’s premise is deconstructive, though, as it’s basically from the perspective of a Ringwraith. Jacob Riverson was once a legendary hero before he fell in battle and got raised as a general of the King Below. Centuries later, the Dark Lord is destroyed and he regains his free will in a world where the former good guys have run the world into the ground as well as lost the peace. He ends up teaming up with a woman, Regina Whitetremor, who hasn’t quite grasped the solution isn’t overthrow the ex-heroes as the new villains.

It was partially inspired by my thoughts the orcs were every bit Sauron’s slaves and victims as everyone else and either the heroes would try to commit genocide against them or have to learn to live with them in peace.  Just about everyone who has read it basically says it does read like the classic Warcraft 3 plotline, only Thrall is Arthas. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult. 🙂 I was also inspired by Rhianna Pratchett’s Overlord games.

Is Wraith Knight a stand-alone or the first in a series?

Three novels. WRAITH KNIGHT, WRAITH LORD, and WRAITH KING.

With the upcoming series being released in November, what is the status of the other installment?

WRAITH LORD is finished and with Ragnarok Publications and WRAITH KING is still in manuscript form. Current plans are to release them roughly the same time every year so it’ll be 2019 when the series is finished.

Purchase The Rules of Supervillainy

Purchase The Games of Supervillainy

Purchase The Secrets of Supervillainy

Purchase Esoterrorism

Pre-Order Wraith Knight

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