Interview with Philip C. Elrod

Describe your desk
Actually, my desk is filled with multiple computers and an overhead TV to keep abreast of the happenings in our ever changing world. To keep things as simple as possible, I usually have three stacks of work in progress in addition to my computer files: do now, important but later, and pending assignment. It may not be the most sophisticated system ever created but it works well for me.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Northeastern Alabama in the very small town of Crossville, on Sand Mountain, the highest part of the state. It's rural beauty and strong people have inspired me throughout my life and continue to do so. It was a very special time and place to grow up in America.
When did you first start writing?
I have many years experience writing technical manuals and articles for international on-line publications. I have always been an avid reader and have an active imagination so getting into fiction was not such a quantum leap from my professional writing. I have always believed that there are other civilizations out there somewhere and that they are probably more like us than we'd care to believe. Mylea brings to life a people who are very advanced technically but they could also learn a few things from Earthlings. This book brings together a highly scientific culture and a less advanced, but very important group of humans. We need them and they need us, or, at least, one of us.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The theme is that you can overcome a seemingly impossible situation by examining it from different perspectives. Myleans were told by their leading scientists that their planet was doomed to sure and total destruction. Only a select few could survive but one highly respected scientist devised an audacious plan that could save the entire civilization and their beloved planet. The story involves their perilous adventures and how their salvation depends on on single Earthling.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have investigated independent publishing for quite sometime and have been thrilled to learn that many talented and productive authors have been highly successful in getting their works to the reading public. The learning process has been exciting but, sometimes, frustrating. However, I have gained confidence and skills that will enable me to be a better author in my future works. I have received help and support from Smashwords and others who have given me the knowledge and expertise to dive headlong into my next novel. It's an exciting journey that brings me great satisfaction on a daily basis.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been extremely helpful in each step along the way. I am firmly convinced that they lay a strong foundation for success. I have many stories to tell and I know that Smashowords will play an important part in my successes.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love bringing diverse characters and situations to life. The process is like a living, breathing organism that grows and matures on every written page. Sometimes, it's so exciting that it even keeps you awake at night . I look forward to every day and what it will bring to my stories and characters.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have been very gratified by the positive responses from my readers. As an author, I take their comments and suggestions very seriously and have utilized them in improving my skills. I value all input from my readers and really appreciate the fact that they take time to write a review, leave a comment on social media, or send me an email. Every reader contact is sincerely appreciated.
What are you working on next?
My first sequel continues the Mylean story although it will take place on our own Earth for the most part. The new novel will actually be a romp through Earthly politics and how governments and politicians are turned upside down by a single individual who has gained unimaginable powers and unbelievable technology to back up those powers. It's a fun project with this one man who can orchestrate both the present and future. Can you imagine how uncomfortable that would make a bunch of typical politicians and bureaucrats?
Who are your favorite authors?
It would be very difficult for me to name favorite authors. My readings range from all types of novels, scientific and technical publications, history, travel, politics, and biographies just for example. As for novels, I have had great respect for Michael Crichton, Erle Stanley Gardner, Dan Brown, Tom Clancy and many others. Each writer has a distinctive style and character that bring great value to the works. I read everything from ancient history and the great works of Rome and Greece to the wildest science fiction you can imagine.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
In my opinion, the alternative would be most unpleasant. Every new day brings new opportunities and challenges as a writer. Some days, I can sit down and forget the outside world for hours on end and become so engrossed in my writing that nothing can distract or interrupt me.. Some days, I spend quiet time working out what my characters will do next and how their actions will effect the story line.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
We've traveled extensively throughout Europe, North and Central America and the Caribbean. In the past few years, I've come to love RVing from northern Alaska to Key West, Florida and just about everywhere in between. It's the perfect way to spend your time. You can take all your "stuff" with you including your family and pets. You can work and write along the way. It's the perfect way to explore the many highways and byways of American and to make friends with many fine and caring people.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
We get daily emails regarding a wide variety of eBooks that are available usually at special prices or for free. A brief synopsis of the plot is provided along with reader reviews and ratings. I find these extremely helpful in determining what to select since my reading time, at present, is very limited.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
If you mean fiction, it was probably one of my early excuses for being late to school. I always walked, and there were so many distractions along the way.
What is your writing process?
The vast majority of work goes into planning and "composing" in my head. I do in-depth computer research and use reference materials from my personal library. In addition, I "toss ideas about" with individuals whom I respect for their knowledge and contributions to my works. Finally, I put it all together and begin to write in earnest. By now, the ideas for the story, time frame, and characters are all fully developed and the writing process is accomplished fairly quickly.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The earliest novel I can recall reading was Harold Bell Wright's, The Uncrowned King. I will always remember that book, because it taught me to question things. "Prince Really Is and Prince Seems To Be" have been with me ever since.
How do you approach cover design?
For Mylea, I wanted a simple but dramatic cover with the planet filling almost the entire space. I wanted the reader to be able to imagine Mylea and its frightening situation. To be honest, I can almost hear Gustav Holst's "The Planets" when I look at the cover. However, there would be eight movements instead of seven, "Mars, Bringer of War", "Venus, Bringer of Peace", etc., with the addition of, "Mylea, Bringer of Danger and Excitement".
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The list actually came as surprise to me - I had never really had to think about it until now:

1. The Bible - I am not a bible beating religious fanatic, but the Bible, to me is both a history lesson and a guide to civilized living.
2. The Greek accounts of Socrates' thoughts. I think Socrates was one of the greatest thinkers of all time.
3. Gone With The Wind - The classic description of the South prior to the civil war. I grew up ion a Southern family whose ancestors were significantly affected by this horrific period in American history.
4. Mein Kampf - Written by Adolph Hitler, arguably the most evil individual of the twentieth century. The world was horrified at what he did, but could have known ahead of time if they had bothered to read his book.
5. Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells Something - Red Motley's classic sales training guide. But it apples to virtually everything in life. Someone has to do something before anything can happen. Probably inspired Nike's slogan: "Just Do It!"
What is your e-reading device of choice?
We have a Kindle for reading at home. It's a great device, especially for travel. We used to carry all manner of books with us on trips but, now, all we need is that one little Kindle. It has so many capabilities such as a dictionary (just put the cursor at any word and you get the definition), add notes or highlights, and you are automatically directed to the last page that you read when you tun the device on. Can't imagine life without it!
What do you read for pleasure?
A small selection of magazine articles. Novels of several different genres, and lots of news stories about economics, politics and financial markets,
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've used Goodreads Amazon, and others. In addition, I've a Facebook page for Mylea, a site in Pinterest, a page in LinkedIn, blogs, etc. I'm a firm believer that you should explore and utilize all manner of mechanisms to get the word out about your writing.
Published 2014-09-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Possum Man
Price: Free! Words: 2,730. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(3.00 from 1 review)
A fun and quick read of a Texas Tale that did not really happen - or did it?
Uncle Herbert: Time Is Runing Out!
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 85,400. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
A a fast paced coming of age thriller that will keep ;you guessing until the final climax.
The Empress of Bug Tussle
Price: Free! Words: 12,810. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age
A short story of a magical moment in time when a young girl's life changed forever.
Secrets of Sand Mountain
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 109,160. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational
Serene and beautiful on the outside - fires raging beneath the surface. Moonshine, murder, an escaped German prisoner of war....from the tiny town of Campbell Crossing to Cuba's glory days as play - ground for the rich and unscrupulous, to post war England. The Secrets of Sand Mountain stretch out their tentacles, weaving a complicated web, and leaving no one untouched and at least two dead.
The Krakow Klub
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 128,120. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Power vs power. The Krakow Klub has taken the White House, thereby controlling the US military; arguably the most potent military force on the planet. John Scott has the power to stop the takeover – but he is loathe to sacrifice the lives of innocent citizens and soldiers. The Krakow Klub is a battle between those who crave power and an individual who has absolute power - but fears to use it.
Mylea: The Journey Begins
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 80,640. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
AN ADVANCED CIVILIZATION’S DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO SAVE THEIR PLANET….. Leads to an audacious project, and epic journey, imperiled by an unforeseen problem whose only solution rests on a single person on an obscure planet, Earth. To the far reaches of our solar system and back, MYLEA will spark your imagination, and challenge your mind, as it sets you on the path of discovery in the MYLEAN Universe.