Philip Craig Robotham

Biography

Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.

Smashwords Interview

What inspires you to write?
For me writing is enormous fun. I do it because I love the thrill of creating and allowing my imagination to run wild. I'm also an old-time radio fan. I enjoy everything from adventures like "Gunsmoke", "the Green Hornet", "the Saint", and "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar", through comedies such as "the Goon Show" and "Fibber McGee and Molly", through science fiction like "X Minus 1" and "ProjectXx", through to horror and suspense like "the Inner Sanctum".

It's typical of me that the genre of writing that gets me excited the most is one which died out more than forty years ago. All the same, it's what I love and seems to be having something of a resurgence lately via the internet. There have been some great examples of audio drama made available recently from podcasters online. These include the fabulous "Adventures of the Red Panda", the haunting and creepy "Wormwood", the extremely professional "Leviathan Chronicles", and far too many others to list. I'm not a particularly florid writer. I like plain speech and simple exposition. I'm also not overly fond of having to write lengthy descriptions of people and places. As a result radio writing seems to have been made for me.
How does writing an audio drama differ from other genres?
Writing for the ear is very different to any other kind of writing that I have ever done. For one thing everything is exposition. In real life no-one ever says "look out Claire, he's holding a gun!", but in an audio drama it's essential to spell out what is happening for the listener. It's also very hard to write an audio drama with a lone character in it. If you do then you'll find yourself forced to have the character talking to him or herself constantly. The old Sam Spade voice-over was probably invented for radio shows relying on a single main character:

"I walked the last 18 steps to the battered old front door. The lock had been jimmied and swung creaking on its hinges in the evening breeze."

There's great atmosphere in these monologues but, personally, I like my characters to have company and it lets me indulge my taste for banter:

"What are we doing here, boss?"

"Old man Cranston invited us to come visit him up at the house."

"Yeah? Battered looking old place isn't it? Give me a second and I'll try the door... Hey, the lock's broken! This door's been jimmied open."

"What gave it away, genius? The fact that it was swinging back and forth on its hinges or the crowbar lying in the dirt beside it?"

I also like conflict and a bit of "sass". It's harder to have that with a lone character. One thing you really develop when writing an audio script is your ability to do dialog and characterisation (especially dialog). That's simply because dialog is all you have to work with most of the time. You don't have to spend a lot of time labouring over descriptions of people and places when you write for radio - the listener will supply all the detail with their own imaginations - but you do have to manage dialog. In fact a judicious lack of physical description engages the listener's imagination more effectively and helps them to identify themselves more fully with the characters. The other thing that is surprisingly hard to do in audio is action. A fight scene needs to be over really quickly because otherwise the listener is being treated to a whole series of bangs and whaps that don't provide anything much for the listener's imagination to grab onto... and a blow by blow description (while in keeping with many of the conventions of the genre) starts to sound like a commentary at a prize fight. When it comes to descriptions of what the characters see, hear and experience, you want just enough to tell the audience what they need to know about the environment without it sounding so unrealistic that it jettisons them out of the story.

Another thing that's easy to forget is that the listener will not know who is speaking unless someone among the characters refers to that character by name. My very first (and thankfully long buried) attempt at script writing suffered from this problem but I still have to go through my completed scripts and make sure all the characters have been properly identified out loud before I send them off to my editor.

BTW - finding a skilled editor to whip my work into shape is an absolute must as a self-publisher. I can't begin to say how much embarrassment I have been saved by the sharp eye of my editor, Margaret Wilkins. That isn't to say that there isn't plenty more embarrassment to be had for which I am solely responsible.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Philip Craig Robotham online


Books

PACMP001 - Troubled Times
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Series: Trent Stone and Tess Carter Pulp Adventures, Compilation (Eps 1-4). Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 72,000. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
This compilation gathers together Episodes 1 - 4 of our Pulp Adventure Serial featuring Trent Stone and Tess Carter. Episode 1: The Alligator Menace Episode 2: The Cult of the Teeth Episode 3: The City of the Gold Spider Episode 4: The Reanimator's Revenge
FN004 On the Fence
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Series: Tony Wells and Claire Templeton Fantasy Noir, Episode 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 20,080. Language: American English. Published: March 10, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
When information provided about the black market puts Claire Templeton in touch with a fence who is quickly murdered (by means that can only be described as magical), she is drawn into a brand new faery plot to destroy the city, sever and isolate the mortal realm, and pave the way for a faery takeover. Can Claire solve the case and save the day before her home town becomes a giant crater?
FN003 An Ephemeral Deal
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Series: Tony Wells and Claire Templeton Fantasy Noir, Episode 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 17,100. Language: American English. Published: March 3, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Things are slow at the office of Tony Wells, Private Eye, when Claire Templeton turns up with a business proposition. Someone is trying to kidnap her and Tony finds himself once more plunged into the intrigues of the fae courts. The squabbles of the faery realm easily impact the mortal realm and, with Claire’s life on the line, Tony must sort through all the double dealings on his own.
Scarlet
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Series: Sherlock Holmes and Martha Hudson Gaslamp Mystery, Episode 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 17,520. Language: American English. Published: February 22, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
A chance encounter in a curio shop with a man searching for his lost fiancée draws Sherlock Holmes into his strangest case to date. Almost one hundred people have gone missing from the streets of Highgate and mysterious “scavengers” are terrorizing the streets at night. When Holmes himself becomes the chief suspect in the kidnappings he is forced to uncover the terrifying truth.
GM003 - The Speckled Hide
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Series: Sherlock Holmes and Martha Hudson Gaslamp Mystery, Episode 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 14,540. Language: American English. Published: February 15, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Sherlock Holmes’ career is quite well established when Martha Hudson introduces him to Helen Stoner, a runaway who fears her guardian is attempting to murder her. An encounter with the inhumanly strong Dr Roylott convinces Holmes that the affair deserves his attention. Encountering shape-shifters, a monstrous demon,and a woman believed dead Sherlock and Martha attempt once more to save the day.
FN002 - The Island of Never
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Series: Tony Wells and Claire Templeton Fantasy Noir, Episode 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 18,280. Language: American English. Published: February 8, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Tony Wells’ life is changed forever when his vindictive Lieutenant assigns him a politically sensitive kidnapping case.The kidnapping leads Tony and his friend Claire Templeton from the streets of Star City through a magical portal and into a pocket universe where they must defeat an evil fae noble for the freedom of the children or face being trapped forever. Can they survive once more?
GM002 - The Ritual
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Series: Sherlock Holmes and Martha Hudson Gaslamp Mystery, Episode 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 14,590. Language: American English. Published: January 31, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Sherlock Holmes has just left university and is seeking to make a name for himself as an investigator of the unusual when Reginald Musgrave, an acquaintance from the university, arrives requesting Holmes and Martha look into the disappearance of two of his domestic staff. Can Holmes determine what is haunting the Musgrave Ancestral home and why?
FN001 Predator's Row
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Series: Tony Wells and Claire Templeton Fantasy Noir, Episode 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 18,820. Language: English. Published: August 26, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Investigating the kidnapping of a seven-year-old girl, detective Tony Wells is caught up in a nightmare world where Faery Courts battle it out, where trolls fight for scraps beneath modern bridges, and where a magical sword has an agenda all its own. Wells must now work to uncover a murderer in order to prevent a war among the immortals from spilling over into the mundane realm.
GM001 The Visitor From The Gloria Scott
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Series: Sherlock Holmes and Martha Hudson Gaslamp Mystery, Episode 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 16,450. Language: American English. Published: August 26, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Sherlock Holmes sets out on the path that will forever define his life while holidaying with a friend from university. When his companion’s dog is killed under mysterious circumstances, Holmes begins an investigation that, with the help of Martha Hudson, pits him against the forces of darkness in the form of spectral possession, evil enchantment, and a hidden sorcerer of immense power.
PA001 The Alligator Menace
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Series: Trent Stone and Tess Carter Pulp Adventures, Episode 1. Price: $3.50 USD. Words: 20,520. Language: American English. Published: August 26, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Trent Stone and Tess Carter are in Star City to participate in the League of Adventure Seekers annual dinner. However, when the dinner is broken up by a horde of remotely controlled albino sewer alligators, Trent and Tess are launched into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an insane genius bent on controlling the city’s underworld.
PA002 The Cult Of The Teeth
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Series: Trent Stone and Tess Carter Pulp Adventures, Episode 2. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 14,550. Language: American English. Published: August 26, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Glory-hound and expert hunter, Maynard Havelock III, is the victim of a ritual murder. Finding themselves at the top of the suspect list, Trent and Tess are forced to investigate the disappearance of a number of young women in a bid to clear their names. Their investigation takes them in search of an ancient cult, a missing obelisk, and behind it all, a familiar wheel-chaired villain.
PA003 The City Of The Gold Spider
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Series: Trent Stone and Tess Carter Pulp Adventures, Episode 3. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 20,620. Language: American English. Published: August 26, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
When a young South American man succeeds in foiling an attempt on the lives of Trent Stone and Tess Carter only to be killed moments later by a remotely controlled spider, their sense of duty brings them face to face with corrupt police, eerily intelligent howler monkeys, and Aztec mummies, in a fight against a combination of science and magic in this exciting South American adventure.
PA004 The Reanimator's Revenge
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Series: Trent Stone and Tess Carter Pulp Adventures, Episode 4. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 25,720. Language: American English. Published: August 26, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Action
When visiting the Star City Penitentiary Trent and Tess encounter a gypsy woman who warns that the city is facing imminent destruction. The pair are led to the City Cemetery where they are attacked by corpses. Now Trent and Tess must race against time to face down the villain before the city is completely destroyed.

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