Phoenix grew up as the middle brother of three in Salida, Colorado, a tiny town with less than 6,000 people. At the age of just 15, he self-published his debut novel called Alfred Arnold. He currently works at mobile app Inside.com where he curates news articles. In between that and working on a reboot of his debut novel Alfred Arnold, he finds time to play guitar, video games and look after two pet rats, Tyrion and Oberyn.
1. What are you working on right now?
I am currently writing the second book in my Alfred Arnold series. The first book (which is rebooted from a poorly written version I self published in 2009) is still in the early stages of pre-launch, but I figured I might as well get started on the sequel.
2. Can you tell us a little something about it?
The Alfred Arnold saga follows an eccentric loner who wakes up one day to find himself in the fantastical world of Serdame. With his friends Sir Procrastination and Lavandra, Alfred Arnold is appointed as the first ambassador for Villedge, a town disconnected from the rest of the world. The series details his adventures.
3. Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Writing is probably hereditary, in my case. My father has been a freelance writer for most of his life, and my mother was an editor who writes for fun on the side. It started with ripping off Dr. Seuss for an unofficial “Lorax” sequel.
4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?
For me, I have to have a candle burning and ambient music in the background. I can even write while watching reruns, but there’s something about pure silence that clogs up my thought process. The candle helps give the room a unique ambiance, one it only has when I am writing. That way, I can feel much more like I have left the real world for a more fantastic, seclusive realm.
5. What is your favourite book?
Hand’s down “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller. That book is so insanely genius and profound from start to finish in a beautifully cynical humour that captivates me. John Yossarian is the greatest literary character I’ve ever encountered.
6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?
Douglas Adams. The “Hitchhiker’s” series is probably the one I’ve read the most, and there are no words to describe my love of his keen wit. The BBC radio series precedes any of Adams’ books, which in a weird way means that the “Hitchhiker’s” story is older than his career as an author. Also, he played “Brain Damage” with Pink Floyd on his 42nd birthday.
7. Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?
I love to play guitar, but even after 11 years of practice, I am nowhere near as skilled as my friends who have played for less years (though ultimately more time). I can pretty much only get away with playing chords, but that makes things like the Beatles and Bob Dylan pretty fun.
8. Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?
My personal blog is http://www.thephoenixwilliams.com. The best place to get news, however, is my Twitter: @FeenicksW
9.What are your writing plans for 2015?
I will be continuing work on the Alfred Arnold series, and hopefully launching the first installment before the year’s end!
10. And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?
As a Yank, I have very little exposure to Jaffa cakes, but I have certainly picked some up during a long trip and remember the deliciousness if nothing else. Call on your fellow countrymen to send us more!
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Interviewing Phoenix was excellent because I’ve yet to meet someone who self-published their debut novel at such an early age, so getting an insight into his life was awesome. Thanks Phoenix!