Interview with Dale T. Phillips

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember reading an excerpt from Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine at a very young age. The story talked about a new pair of sneakers at the start of Summer being absolute magic with their potential, and it sparked something within me that continues to today.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Long ago, I read about the legend of the Wendigo, and it's such a powerful and disturbing idea, I've never let go of it. Wrote a bad version of the book a long time ago, but wasn't good enough to make the book a good one. Last year, the idea for making it work came to me, and it's now coming to fruition.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Making characters come alive, and telling stories that matter. And when people tell me something I've written touched them, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Several years ago, I'd proved my writing was good enough and commercial enough to sell. Had an agent, who got an acquisitons editor interested. But too many months went by with no forward motion. Tried submitting directly to publishers after that, and discovered they don't even bother to respond. Was researching success stories of the New World of Publishing, and of how people could make a go of it outside the traditional big NY pub path. And the concept of having control over the process, and not being subject to the whims and bad decisions of others was intoxicating. So I changed direction of a path I had pursued for years, and it's been great!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Like Stephen King, in rural Maine, and the solitude and self-reliance were major factors in my life choices. I had lots of time for reading, and devoured everything I could get my hands on, so I have a tremendous literary background, the kind necessary for a writer.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The fact that I can create new worlds that have meaning for others, and that I'm one step closer to making a living doing this full-time.
How do you approach cover design?
I discuss the book theme with my designer, and any concepts I may have. She takes it from there, and always comes up with a winner.
How do you choose the genres you write in?
The story determines what type of genre it must be. I had a story, and it evolved into one book, and then a series.
Do you ever experience writer’s block, if so, how do you deal with it?
Have multiple projects, and work on something else. Sure, you can get temporarily blocked on one thing, so have more going for you.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you?
So many- check my website for writers I admire. I write in different genres, because I've had so many influences. I'm spurred on by writers who tell a good story well.
For mysteries: the line from Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, John D. MacDonald, Robert B. Parker, James Lee Burke.
Stories: Poe, de Maupassant, Saki, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Stephen King
and in general: Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Thomas Wolfe (both of them), Robert Heinlein, Harper Lee, on and on...
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
In every way possible: TV, radio, newspapers, blogs, social media, public appearances, library talks. My favorite is personal appearances, where I can interact with people.
Published 2013-09-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

All the Crooked Paths
Series: The Crooked Paths. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 42,550. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
All The Crooked Paths is a collection of three books: Crooked Paths, More Crooked Paths, and The Last Crooked Paths. Fifteen stories of mystery and crime, dark chronicles of those who walk a crooked path, and so very often pay a terrible price for what they do.
The Last Crooked Paths
Series: The Crooked Paths. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,250. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Here are five more tales of crime and mystery, telling of those who walk crooked paths and pay the price for it. Here are crooks and cops, killers and victims, and those who walk the line between good and evil. Take a few short trips down the darker side of life, where crime can be a casual or planned event. This set of stories shows people on the run, and police and ordinary citizens.
A Sharp Medicine
Series: Zack Taylor. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 49,860. Language: English. Published: July 16, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Zack Taylor's life is once again in shambles. Having narrowly escaped death, guilty over the pain he's caused a loved one, he's hurting and angry. When looking into the disappearance of a reporter, Zack's death wish may be his cure for his troubles as he uncovers corruption and evil in a world of politics, passion, and power.
The Zack Pack: 3 Zack Taylor Mysteries
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 179,420. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
This collection combines the first three Zack Taylor mysteries into one volume. Contains A Memory of Grief, A Fall From Grace, and A Shadow on the Wall.
More Fables and Fantasies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,250. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Fantasy » General
In these five tales you'll read serious stories about dragons, swords, castles, people on quests, demons, witches, and also fairy-tale characters acting out in fun. So there's a little something for everyone. These are lands where the people may be like us, but the landscape is of the fantasy realms, and anything can happen. You may change upon this journey, like the characters themselves.
A Certain Slant of Light
Series: Zack Taylor. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 48,830. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
Trapped by a final promise to a dying woman, a reluctant Zack Taylor seeks her missing grandson, a slippery con man of the art world. Zack discovers the corruption beneath the glossy exteriors, confronting murder, greed, fraud, and a host of crimes that belie the beauty of the art in which the people deal.
More Crooked Paths
Series: The Crooked Paths. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,130. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
More tales of crime and mystery, those who walk crooked paths and pay the price. People on the spot, when things have taken a bad turn. A young woman facing a deadly challenge. A man who walks into the wrong bar with the wrong attitude. A boxer who refuses to quit. A DA with a grudge. A rich man who finds his motives questioned by the police. These are the stories of the darker side of life.
A Shadow on the Wall
Series: Zack Taylor. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 58,460. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth
Zack Taylor's new life is crumbling. His fledgling business is in jeopardy, he's been dumped by his lady love, and a murderous gang leader is bent on revenge. A shattered Zack is enticed onto a movie shoot to provide martial arts expertise and security, when a sudden murder raises the stakes. Zack must deal with his own demons, as well as a host of shadowy tricksters with secrets to hide.
A Fall From Grace
Series: Zack Taylor. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 53,350. Language: English. Published: February 22, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
When a single mother is wrongly accused of murder, Zack Taylor must work to clear her name. Not an easy task, as everyone in the Maine town of Mill Springs thinks she's guilty. Zack finds, however, plenty of people who wanted the victim dead. He discovers that when small-town politics mix with big-time ambition, the combination can be lethal.
A Memory of Grief
Series: Zack Taylor. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 73,220. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Troubled ex-con Zack Taylor is haunted by the accidental death of his brother years before. Zack's guilt and anger have pushed him into a shadowy, wandering life, with little purpose and few attachments. When he hears of the death of his close friend Ben Sterling, a supposed gunshot suicide, Zack finds he now has a purpose-- to find out what happened. Then his purpose becomes an obsession.
Halls of Horror
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 32,020. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Horror » General
This collection of ten tales of horror involves monsters, mayhem, and murder: everything from war to everyday homicide, to otherworldly terrors from hell dimensions. The horror may be internal or external, in your heart or in your cellar. Here are people making bad choices, and people reacting to terrible situations. These are stories to make you think, tremble, and shiver with fright.
The Big Book of Genre Stories
Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 52,940. Language: English. Published: December 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » General, Fiction » Horror » General
Here are five books combined into one big volume of stories, thirty tales in different genres. Strange new worlds and encounters with the unusual, in stories from light to dark. Some to make you laugh, some to make you think, and some to scare you. Dip into the Big Book for a taste of monsters, mayhem, myth, magic, and murder. Crime and Mystery Science Fiction Horror Fables and Fantasies Magic
Shadow of the Wendigo
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 41,480. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
In the snowy Canadian wilderness, a terrifying legend springs to life, sparking a series of gruesome crimes. Government agent Sean Laporte is sent to investigate, and contends with an obsessive, resourceful foe, a hostile environment, and an elusive search for the truth. He is soon pulled between worlds of myth and madness, a present haunted by the past, and a primitive world of mystery and power.
Apocalypse Tango
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,820. Language: English. Published: May 20, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
How does the world end? Self-launched bombs, asteroid from space, rain of fire, alien invasion, or virus and pandemic? Maybe none of those. Maybe it's giant lobsters. Or zombies. Here are five different takes on the end of the world-- as we know it. It's a tango done at the Apocalypse, dancing as the race of Man comes to a close. Come take a whirl.
Strange Tales
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,570. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Here are five tales of people going off the beaten track of reality to experience something completely new and unwordly. Stories of individuals in pain who ride a rollercoaster of odd happenings that show life in a different perspective. People running to something or away from something, or finding something unexpected.
Jumble Sale
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 52,940. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
This blend of all previously-published stories crosses many genres: science fiction, crime, fantasy, horror, humor, magic realism, and mainstream. There are fractured fairy tales, cautionary parables, peeks into disturbed minds, and amusing little romps. Everything from people with problems to giant lobsters, demonic creatures, small-time gangsters, and perverted dwarves.
Crooked Paths
Series: The Crooked Paths. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,190. Language: English. Published: December 12, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Five stories of crime and mystery, people who walk crooked paths and pay the price for it. Stories of criminals and heroes, killers (accidental and deliberate), rumrunners, safecrackers, people framed for horrible deeds. Some of these stories have been published in mystery magazines.
Fables and Fantasies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 18,270. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
These five tales are a mix of fear, fun, and fantastic elements. Some of these stories are humorous, some are scary, some end well, some badly, and some have mixed blessings for those involved. Kind of like life. Fable and fantasy blend to make a journey into other lands and times and magics.
Blades and Butchery
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,140. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
This bawdy, probably offensive, parody of Epic Sword and Sorcery fantasy pays homage to the great Fritz Leiber, and his immortal characters. Here, Fatbird and the Gay Louser are rather far from heroic, but manage to hack and slash their way to fortune, while rescuing a princess.
The Little Guy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,670. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
A strange little man gets kicked around all his life, but then has a chance for sex, riches, and glory, when he uses his powers to help a young maiden in dire straits. This is a funny, bawdy take on an old tale.
Our New Queen
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,110. Language: English. Published: December 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
When a mysterious enchanted maiden in the forest is awakened by the prince, they marry, and she becomes queen. But she and her little men have a dark secret. This tale of dark fantasy puts a new twist on an old story.
Froggy Went A Courting
Price: Free! Words: 4,230. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
The ugly High Count is rich and powerful, and when he demands to wed the daughter of a noble, she cannot refuse, though her heart is not in it. Her mute sister, though, practices the dark arts, and will stop at nothing to save her sister. No matter who gets hurt.