Interview with Mike Philbin

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in and around the north of England, Merseyside for the first eleven years. It's not necessarily the location that affected my writing but from the age of eleven, we moved around a lot. I've lived in Yorkshire, Nottingham and Bournemouth. And it's this mobility that's drove my work: the narrative is always moving at fast pace, the characters are always confronted with change, the dialogue is spare because (when you're constantly moving) personal things matter less. Less baggage. Efficiency of movement is paramount. This translates to 'not wanting to pad a novel out', is where my books are at.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing in 1984 or so. My first 'prose-poem' was published by Dreams & Nightmares of NY in 1985. My first novel Red Hedz, based on a series of psycho-erotic paintings I'd done at art college, was published by Creation Press of London in 1989.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No. I was writing stories before my teens. I was really into the Roman Empire and the Napoleonic Wars; I'd write scenarios about these and enact them out with toy soldiers on papier-mache landscapes I'd made in my bedroom. That, for me, was story writing. Literal 'world building'.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The sun. I'm an early bird. The sun has got his hat on, I'm like, "Hip hip hip hooray!"
Hertzan Chimera, why is he back from the grave?
In 2004, I killed off my 'Hertzan Chimera' writing persona or keyboard entity. Now, twelve years hence, I realise I have been writing nothing but Hertzan Chimera novels and can no longer bear to see my 'real name' on my book covers. Hertzan Chimera novels is what they are, and Hertzan Chimera novels is how they'll be remembered.

To this end, Chimericana Books has undergone a style change and will also republish all the up-to-date Mike Philbin titles under the Hertzan Chimera name. Long Live The King of Insane Horror.
What's the story behind your latest book(s)?
CUSTODIAN (free planet #1) which took five years to research and write, is a book about YOU the indentured surf of a controlled Society or Corporate War Game. It's about the seven billion people taking back what is rightfully theirs to serve and protect i.e. Their Planet. For too many centuries, the corporations have shown mankind how to think. Now is the time to 'think like Custodians' of one's homeland.

Then, quite by accident, a second 2013 novel appeared and was completed in two months. Entitled TANDEM (war world #1), it deals with the G3 agency or Global Gambling Game aka War World. You're a player in this game, until you decide to crash the game and bring the house down. Both novels are anti-corporate war and non-mainstream, yet.

LIBERATOR (free planet #2) came along as swiftly. In effect, most of the plot points of the first third had already been written even before Tandem began. Once that was over, I adopted a more character-based writing approach and Liberator seemed to write itself. What's it about? Well, Custodian was nothing more than a scam, on the part of the military industrial (congressional) complex. This second Free Planet novel tells you 'what was going on' at the same time as the Custodian Liberation thought they had won. No one ever wins against the military industrial (congressional) complex. Forget that, humanity, at your peril - the stakes are too high.

WATCHER (war world #2) is out now, also. Another three month project. So, now the FREE PLANET vs WAR WORLD football game's score is 2 - 2.
What is your writing process?
I like to write FROM THE HIP i.e. I generally go in with 'a few core ideas' and then let the writing, and the characters, do their thing. They don't need much encouragement. Recently, I've started to rein in the content, editing more than I used to. Not for any confidence reasons, just to make the reading experience more intense, more coherent, more insane. I love to play games with The Reader.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm not a big fan of mainstream, codified, filler-contented fiction. If the story you're trying to tell is short, publish a short book. If you're trying to get across a serious adult message that might not make a publisher a lot of money, there are 'other ways' to get your message out. I like the freedom to do 'my books, my way'.
What are you working on next?
in 2016, I'll either write the extreme sex-horror Hertzan Chimera collaborative novel VENOMIST (co-author Hecate aka Rachael Kozak) or I'll do some more work on my Lorien Howell kid's novel The Dream Detectives.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The horror. I love the fact the characters (as you're writing them) start to take over. And it's a horrific process, when one's 'beautiful idea' is trodden all over by forceful and demanding characters. That's when the novel really starts to be written, when the War with the Characters is really on, full on. I also like to play with the Reader, he/she is my muse, often. I just like to show them 'something they've never read before'.
Who are your favorite authors?
Jeff Noon, Octavia Butler, Chuck Palahniuk, Haruki Murakami, William S Burroughs and Cordwainer Smith, to name a handful. I generally lean towards writers who have a lot to say about the Human Condition and the War of the Senses.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, watching films, investigating the New World Order and associated scandals like 9/11 or 7/7, aikido (I gave it up recently, but I was a proper enthusiast), jogging. I bring a vast interest in all sorts of eclectica into my writing. I guess that's the writer, Master of Nothing.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans ... this is the problem with most publishers, most writers, most books - writing to the fan base. I say BURN THE ESTABLISHED FAN BASE with every new book. I know, I know, it's a savage and self-defeating stance to take. But it gives one the balls to write whatever's on one's mind, not worry about 'offending the fucking fan base'. Books should be readable by THE ENTIRE WORLD, not just one's 'fans'. Books should offend, be dangerous to read.
Published 2015-08-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.