Name Philip Tolhurst
Age 43 and 2/12 (at the time of writing)
Where are you from
Kent in England
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I live with my wife, Margaret, and our 2 children, Chloe 7 and James 3. I’d tell you my wife’s age but you’d have to sign the Official Secrets Act first.
We all on live together in a little two bed Victorian terrace house in Medway in Kent. (SE England for those reading this overseas)
I’m a product of the English Comprehensive schools system and spent a year at University before flunking out. After many different jobs I now work in IT managing a software support team.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I haven’t actually told anyone outside of a close nit group of friends but the title I’ve settled on for my current WIP is:
Dragon’s Breath – The Knights of the Sky Book 2.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
About eight years ago I started writing what turned into George and the Dragon. I had written bits and pieces before that but nothing substantial.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t. I consider myself a storyteller first and foremost. Writing is just the means by which I tell those stories.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The idea had been floating around in my head and I decided that I could turn it into a book. There were people who didn’t believe I could do it. I eventually proved them wrong.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I had no idea to be honest how to answer this so I did a bit of research via Google. As I consider myself a storyteller I guess my style is to write narratives.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I chose George and the Dragon for a couple of reason. It’s a variation of St George and the Dragon and I felt it would help attract passing trade. In fact when it comes to search engines it probably gets drowned by other references.
Also it very simply sums up the book as it is all about a boy called George and the dragon he befriends.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really it’s not that sort of book. It’s an action – adventure novel. It is just supposed to be an enjoyable read.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
A fair bit.
The timeline follows the Battle of Britain and goes slightly beyond that to an event now known as the ‘Second great fire of London.’
A lot of the weapons and equipment used in the book are real. There’s even a modification made to the airplanes used by the pilots of 505 Squadron that was actually made by the Czech air force.
What I did was to take that history and wrap the fantasy elements around it all.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
With the exception of one character who is a real person that I know everything else is made up.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I don’t think of books as influencing my life. I’m not actually an avid reader. Although I’ve read a lot of fantasy and other genre’s in my time. Most recently a lot of what I’ve read has been in a similar genre to what I’m writing so that I could try and get a feel for how other authors like Derek Landy wrote their books.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I keep meaning to read the rest of the Destiny of Dragons series by Billie Jo-Williams. I loved the first book but as I said early I don’t get a lot of time to read.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
The second book in the Knights of the Sky series, rewriting Coriolanus as a cyberpunk novella for an anthology, finishing a couple of short stories based on the Knights of the Sky universe and a completing a first draft of a steampunk adventure called For Queen and Country.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
All of the people in the NaNoWriMo Kent Facebook group. They are such an amazing group of people and incredibly supportive.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d love to but I think I’m about 4 or 5 years away from achieving anything close to a reasonable income from writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes I’d budget better and employ a professional editor I think.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It stems from my interesting in Roll Playing games and the fact I have a very active imagination.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is from a short story I’ve been working on that takes place in the Knights of the Sky universe. It still needs a read through and a proof read before I publish it but the intention is to make it available for free.
Violent winds clawed at the biplane, buffeting it from side-to-side. The Gladiator took the worst of it until in the midst of a lull the storm gripped it by the undercarriage and whipped it around, spinning the plane uncontrollably in the air. As the plane’s tail dipped McKnight was powerless to stop the aircraft spiraling out of control. With its nose pointing high into the sky the Gladiator spun like a top as he struggled with the controls. Nothing he tried did any good and the engine, even on full throttle, lacked the power to pull the plane out of the spin.
“Damn you to hell,” growled the Squadron Leader as he released his restraints. He pressed himself back in his seat as far as he could and then threw his whole body forward, almost head-butting the front of the glass canopy. As his weight shifted in the cockpit the Gladiator’s nose dipped below its tail, McKnight engaged full throttle, slammed his stick forward and steered into the spin. The lights of the airfield spun towards him in a dizzying blur as the Gladiator spiraled towards the ground at over two hundred miles per hour. Struggling with the yoke and fighting a vicious crosswind McKnight got the Gladiator back under control. He lined the beleaguered biplane up with the lights of the runway and began his approach.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Time is always against me and I can’t really write with the distractions at home so I tend to write on the train during my commute to and from London.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Terry Pratchett. He was a comedy genius who was able to take concepts from far and wide and wrap them all up in his own fantasy universe.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet so far although I’m doing a reading in Norwich in August which is reasonable drive from where I live.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The people at ebook-designs.co.uk. They did an amazing job and were fantastic value for money.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Knowing when to stop changing things. Although I think I probably got that wrong and should edit it and re-release it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt how to write a book, that might sound funny but I suspect the first is the hardest.
I also learnt how to self publish a book, how to manage my social media and web presence, how to market myself and my book. So many things
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write because you want to write, because you have a story to tell and you think others would enjoy reading it. Don’t write for the money because you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Book 2 is coming, I’m not working on anything else until the first draft is finished!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No, I can remember reading Watership down at a fairly young age and I my fondest memories are from reading the Fighting Fantasy books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Very little makes me cry but my wife can make me laugh without even touching me, quantum tickling I call it.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Terry Pratchett, I have no idea what I’d ask him or what we’d talk about but he must have been an amazing person to know.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I won’t have a head stone I want to be cremated and my ashes buried in the roots of a tree. Let the tree remind people of who I was in any way they wish.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I play computer games and the trading card game Magic the Gathering. Probably two of the geekiest things I can admit to doing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV Shows; Castle, Elementary, The Mentalist, Grimm, Person of Interest.
Films, The Matrix, Total Recall (the original), Dragonheart, yes I know it’s old but it’s my favorite depiction of dragons in any movie.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Pizza; Meat feast or Hawaiian. I do also love a good roast dinner but I think Pizza takes a lot of beating.
Colours: Aubergine (Egg plant if you’re in America), or a purple so dark it looks almost black.
Music: I like a vast range of music. I tend to like specific tracks rather than artist. I’m not an album man at all. I’m one of the mid-lifers highlighted recently by Spotify that’s as happy listening to Taylor Swift or One Direction as I am Iron Maiden or Aerosmith.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Become a movie director I think.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have both: