Rick L. Phillips is the author of several books and short stories, including: War Between Two Worlds, Dinky the Elf, the Project Hero series and Last Train to Murder. He contributed to and edited the With Great Power anthology. He was born in Covington, Kentucky. He studied Radio, TV, and Film at Northern Kentucky University, and is a voice actor as well. Indyfest asked Ricky about his career and future plans.
IM: What is the Project: Hero Series about?
RLP: Project: Hero is a science fiction superhero series. A semi-retired but wealthy superhero hires younger heroes to work for him in menial jobs. He overpays them so they have enough money to live off of and gives them time off to fight crime. He does this because his old friend and mentor Flag-Waver, a World War II superhero, was found homeless and dead in the streets. He didn’t want that to happen to any of the new heroes since they would risk losing their jobs if they kept leaving work to stop crooks. Since their jobs in their private lives aren’t high-profile there are very few people who would miss them. I plan to use Project: Hero as an umbrella title. It may deal with the heroes as a group, or just one or two of them on an adventure. The latest is Project: Hero Atlantis Under Attack, and has the whole group fighting to save the under the sea city of Atlantis and, eventually, the whole world.
IM: Can you tell us more about the “With Great Power” project (and the charity the profits are going to)?
RLP: The book is a series of short stories that follows a comic book from one person to another. The comic book is Amazing Fantasy #15, which had the first Spider-Man story. It was also the first book to immortalize the phrase “With great power, there must also come, great responsibility.” A story might end with a person losing, selling, or giving away the book to someone. The story by the next author would have to pick up where the previous one had left off. It goes from 1962 to the present. So far, the book has raised money for Campus Crusade for Christ and Jews for Jesus.
IM: Can you tell us more about the “Last Train to Murder” project (and the charity the profits are going to)?
RLP: This book is no longer sold online but may be sold when I make personal appearances. It was to raise money for the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund and I was given the OK to do so by the family of Davy Jones.
IM: Did you set up Dinky Publishing for self-publishing Dinky the Elf?
RLP: Originally, I was selling all of my books through companies like Createspace and Lulu.com, who publish books for authors. I set up Dinky Publishing so I would have the freedom to write what I wanted to, and so, if anything like movies or TV shows were made from my books, they would only have to talk to me, and not the publishing companies. My first book was my children’s story Dinky the Elf and I named it in honor of my first book.
IM: If so why did you decide to self publish?
RLP: I tried the traditional route with Dinky the Elf and only got one company that was interested. However, I was the last one they signed to a contract before they went out of business. I asked for the publishing rights back. They kindly gave them back to me. After being disappointed with the traditional route I decided to self-publish. That’s not to say I won’t try the traditional route again one day, because I might, but I am enjoying the freedom that comes with self-publishing.
IM: You do voice acting and announcing. Do you, or are you planning to make audio versions of your stories?
RLP: I do have an agent for my voice acting and announcing. I do hope to make audio versions of my books in the future.
IM: You’ve done some editing. Did you enjoy it and will you do more in the future?
RLP: I really don’t care for editing. I don’t plan to do much of that except on my books.
IM: Do you still work on any film projects?
RLP: I’ve only worked on one film and that was as a production assistant on “The Spider’s Web.” That was years ago and not related to the book With Great Power, or Spider-Man. I am open to working on film projects in the future and, hopefully, about Project: Hero or Dinky the Elf.
IM: You’ve done children’s and adult books. Is it difficult to adjust for those different audiences?
RLP: Not for me.
IM: Is writing short stories very different to writing novels?
RLP: It depends on the story. I prefer short stories, since they get right to the point, but novels are fun, too. I think my latest book, Project: Hero Atlantis Under Attack, is the best book I’ve done so far and my best short stories are Peanuts Big Adventure and Altered Circuits.
IM: You’ve been published and self-published. Do you have a preference?
RLP: I prefer self-published.
IM: How do you distribute your work?
RLP: Right now, only on the internet through Amazon, Createspace, Lulu, Barnes and Noble, etc., or through personal appearances. I am trying to get them in brick and mortar stores in the future.
IM: How do you market your books?
RLP: Interviews like this, personal appearances, and social media.
IM: What appearances do you have lined up?
RLP: I will be at the Burlington, Kentucky library on June 27th. I’m trying to get something at the Independence, Kentucky library, and I’m waiting to hear about one in Cincinnati, Ohio in the fall at Books by the Banks.
IM: Do you think the Internet has made it easier for people to self publish, and distribute their self published work?
RLP: Yes! Self-publishing use to be looked down upon and could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now it’s been elevated to a more distinguished position and doesn’t cost as much. Just because a big-name publisher isn’t interested in a story doesn’t mean it isn’t a good story or well-written.
IM: How important to do think it is for creators to have their work in bricks-and-mortar shops as well as online?
RLP: Very important. A lot of books, people buy on impulse. Some of my favorite books, I bought just because I saw them on the shelves at my local store. Maybe I was a fan of the author and didn’t know it was for sale, or maybe I just thought it looked like an interesting story.
IM: You have a blog on BlogSpot. How do you rate this platform?
RLP: BlogSpot is very easy to use.
IM: What future projects have you got in the works?
RLP: I have a lot of stories planned, but right now, I am working on a murder mystery set in 1976 on the 4th of July. As I’m sure you know, that date was the bicentennial celebration of the United States of America. I’m helping someone with a romance story and I plan to work on the next book in the Project: Hero series and other stories.
IM: Is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t covered?
RLP: I hate to be pushing Christmas, but I’d like to tell you about Dinky the Elf. It is a Christmas story, but children can enjoy it any time of the year. Dinky is the smallest elf at Santa’s workshop. He is too small to do anything. He wants to help, but can’t. Instead of giving in, he finds a way to make things work for him, Santa, and all the children of the world. It really sends a positive message to children.
Learn more about our interviewer at: Louise Cochran-Mason
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