An Interview with Julia Phillips

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An Interview with Julia Phillips

Postby systemcat » Thu May 01, 2008 7:43 pm

Last year when we met up I discovered we were distant relatives. This year when we met up I discovered she'd written a second book and since I like to do celebrity interviews for this forum I asked her if she'd do one.


1: What inspired you to write Miranda, Queen of Argyll: Past Sins?

The character of Miranda evolved out of a secondary character that I was creating for a short story. Her name and eventually a large part of her character came from a print I had in my office of John William Waterhouse's 'Miranda - The Tempest.' Removing knowledge of Shakespeare's play, the painting has the viewer behind Miranda as she looks out at a gray, choppy sea to the wreck of a ship. The wind is blowing and the entire scene is done in gray and browns, except for Miranda's blue dress. It's a very lonely scene and it evokes an emotion that haunts Miranda; being immortal, she is always the lone survivor left to pick up the pieces and move on. Once that association crept into my mind, she stopped being both a secondary character and the comic relief. Although, she is still an ultimate smart-a$$.

2: How did the idea behind the story evolve?

The short story I was working on was based on a watercolor painting I had purchased at a Starfest in 1999. It was a classic princess and dragon painting so I started with the general theme and I had Miranda as a comic-relief character, a la Schmendrick from Peter S. Beagle's 'The Last Unicorn.' Like him, her spells never quite worked, but she tried really hard. The more I worked on her character, the more she filled out and then her history took a turn for me. Miranda wasn't a second-rate sorceress, but she was hiding in the village and deliberately not using her magick as penance for the misdeeds of her youth where she abused her powers to make gains in her life. She was choosing to live a simple life, but, as would be repeated throughout her days, she can never escape who she truly is.

3: This year was the second year I've seen you come to Starfest, is a majority of your audience in Colorado?

Yes, although word is spreading. I've been very blessed by the people in and around Denver and their support of local authors.

4: Does, Miranda Queen of Argyll: Unlikely Saints pick up right after where Miranda Queen of Argyll: Past Sins left off?

Yes, Past Sins ends on Monday night and Unlikely Saints opens on Tuesday morning. There is no time lost within the storyline itself. The days drive the story toward the climax as the day of the wizard Kadar's arrival back onto our plane comes closer.

5: How did your publisher react to the sequel? The readers have been very supportive, so the reaction is good. The greatest compliment I kept receiving was how frustrated everyone was where I left them hanging. I was very moved that readers were vested enough in these characters to care what happened next. Since I was able to finish and release the second book 15 months after the publication of the first, I hope I didn't make them wait too long.

6: Have any of your books been published in languages besides English? Not yet, but I hope to have some foreign printings set up later this year.

7: Who have been your favorite characters to write in these books?

Well, Miranda is fun, of course, but I have had a good time with most of my lead characters because of how they react to her and what they can get her to do. Helena, her best friend, is usually her strongest supporter but isn't afraid to tell her that she's wrong, or to stand up against her. Her brother Tristan is immortal, too, though without magick, and he understands the most about her. However, he can be blind and callous in that brother way. Samuel is the mortal reporter who has a romantic history with her and has a boyfriend connection that throws her off balance. Mac the FBI agent is the new interest and has the similar hero job, but he's in way over his head with the magick thing. Kadar, the enemy, was great fun because of how he can take everything she holds as good and dear and turn it against her. Threats to her home and friends, reminders of how he killed her husband, old school magick knowledge that challenges her more 'professional' pride; let's face it, bad boys are fun to write.

8: Do you have plans to write any future books?

I do have a Miranda III in mind, but the story is still a little vague. I have a short story I am working on for an anthology for Flying Pen Press and I have a couple of screenplays I am working on as well. I do hope to have the next Miranda book out by Mile Hi Con in October 2009.

9: Do either of these books have eBook versions? And if so where can they be bought for download?

I plan on having the first book available on eBook by the end of June; the second will probably be out by the fall. I will post details on my website,


Erin :cat:
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