Six Elementals Author Interviews will introduce prospective readers to some of the best writers in their genre you may, or may not, have heard of, via a series of six questions. I encourage you to check out the work of these phenomenal creatives! Links to their websites and purchase links will always appear, accompanying the interview. Check them out!
This is a distinct honour and pleasure, in that I have the fabulous booktuber, academic, and now epic fantasy author joining me: the amazing Phlip Chase!
Philip has recently published the first book in the “Edan Trilogy” entitled: “The Way of Edan”!
P.L.: Philip, thanks again for joining Six Elementals Interviews! First of all, massive congratulations on becoming a published author for the first time! So happy for you!
A very special moment for me here, to be able to interview you! I admire your booktube channel so much, now I get to enjoy your writing! “The Way of Edan” was a fantastic debut, and in early consideration for one of my top Indie fantasy reads for 2023!
I can attest that rarely since becoming an author, blogger, and member of the Indie Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF) writing community, have I seen a book whose release is so anticipated as your first book. The buzz and hype around “The Way of Edan” was incredible leading up to its release – everyone connected with the community was chatting about it, and couldn’t wait to get their hands on your novel.
Already, the initial success you have achieved with “The Way of Edan” is phenomenal. At the time of this writing, your book has been released for approximately two months, but has already accumulated almost TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY reviews on Goodreads, and approximately ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY reviews on Amazon, with an average rating exceeding four out of five stars.
In the Amazon category of “Military Fantasy” you were also a top debut, and there have been numerous, extremely positive reviews about your novel. I have no doubt you are going to sell a LOT of books!
I believe that most would say, by important metrics of nominal success that most authors achieve in the first few weeks of releasing their book – sales and positive reviews – your launch has been highly successful. How do you feel about all you have achieved just following your release?
PHILIP: I’m very happy with the reception for “The Way of Edan”. It might not be very savvy in this day and age, but I tend not to pay close attention to numbers. Not that I ignore them altogether, but I think focusing too much on numbers — ratings, sales numbers, etc. — can suck the joy out of writing, especially if I start comparing myself to other authors. At least, that’s how it is for me.
My favorite sort of interaction is when a reader states in a review or a tweet or a YouTube comment what they took from the reading experience. When readers remark that they found something about the book moving or beautiful or compelling, that is what I find most motivating. Seeing those sorts of remarks from readers on various platforms has made the release highly rewarding, and I am grateful for every one of them.
P.L.: That’s a very healthy and mature approach to success! Can you speak a little bit about your writing journey please? How long have you been writing, what inspired you to write, and what made you elect to publish via self-publishing rather than seeking an agent and a book deal with a “Big Five” traditional house?
PHILIP: I started writing The “Edan Trilogy” in the summer of 2004, two years after I became a full-time professor of English. The first order of business was to draw a map. The only thing I knew when I started was my main character’s name: Dayraven. It’s the name of a warrior that “Beowulf” slays in the Old English poem, and I always felt that such a name deserved its own story. Before I started writing, I had gone to graduate school to learn Old English and Old Norse, among other things, because when I was young, I picked up the notion that a fantasy writer should know archaic languages. In that resolution you can no doubt see the influence of a certain fellow by the name of Tolkien. Living in South Asia in the 90s also turned out to be instrumental to the story I ended up writing. Since 2004, I have written the entire trilogy, which I am publishing in 2023, and a standalone sequel, which I hope to put out in 2024.
I initially tried to publish the traditional route and got as far as having an excellent agent on board. Unfortunately, the publishing industry is a bit of a mess at the moment. It slowly dawned on me that even if a publisher were to accept my books (which did not happen), it could be years before they see the light of day. Rather than waiting for years in hopes of a publisher accepting my books, I decided to put them out on my own. I had already worked with an outstanding developmental editor in A.P. Canavan, so I felt like my story was ready. Self-publishing has turned out to be one of my best decisions. I am enjoying the creative freedom, such as the ability to commission an artist (Kyra Gregory) and cover designer (Jack Shepherd) to create covers for my books modeled after stained glass windows. I also have the ability to put out all three books in one year, which would never happen in traditional publishing.
P.L.: I am so pleased that you are enjoying your publishing journey and we’re all happy to be able to read your books sooner than later! Who (which authors) would you consider to be your writing influences?
PHILIP: I already mentioned J.R.R. Tolkien, and he goes at the top of the list. Ursula Le Guin is not far behind, though. Some writers whose books I read and loved while writing include George R.R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Robert Jordan and, more toward the end of my writing process, Steven Erikson and Robin Hobb. I suppose it’s possible any of them could have influenced me, but Tolkien and Le Guin are the ones whose writing always feels like coming home. My immersion in much older stories is just as much of an influence as modern fantasy. I have read a great deal of Old English and a fair amount of Old Norse as well as Welsh and stories translated from Irish myths, the Roman and Greek epics, and the Hindu epics, among others. Among all these, my engagement with Beowulf is the deepest.
P.L.: Certainly nothing wrong with taking inspiration from one of the oldest and most notable surviving pieces of Old English literature! Can you tell us a bit please, if possible, about what projects you are currently working on, and a bit about what’s in store for the remainder of the “Edan Trilogy”? When can we expect to see the remaining two books in the trilogy published?
PHILIP: Book two, “The Prophet of Edan”, will be out on June 21, 2023, followed by book three, “Return to Edan”, on September 21 of 2023. Also, the audiobook, narrated by Allen from The Library of Allenxandria on YouTube, will be out in late summer of 2023. I hope to have the standalone sequel, which is titled “While Darkness Gathers”, out in 2024.
P.L.: This is phenomenal news!! Congratulations on all these exciting upcoming books, including the audiobook! I find concepts surrounding religion and faith amongst the most fascinating themes that any fantasy novelist can explore. I loved the fact that this is one of the central themes in “The Way of Edan”. What made you choose to write about this topic, and how did you decide to approach this theme in your series?
PHILIP: Religion has been part of my life since as far back as I can remember because I am the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Protestant ministers. At one point in my teens, I was pretty sure I was going to be a minister too. By the time I was halfway through college, I realized it would not be my life path. I never consciously rejected religion, but I gradually became what I would call a spiritual person rather than a religious person — not that the two are mutually exclusive, but I don’t follow an organized religion.
I still have a great deal of affection for the faith I grew up in, and I believe that much good has resulted from people’s engagement in religion. That said, it’s clear to me that people have committed and are still committing acts of aggression in the name of their faith. This is something that I think literature can explore — the dual sides of religion, which has been both life-sustaining and life-destroying. It connects people to each other, and it causes division. It fosters love and inflames hatred. I suppose writing about religion and spirituality is on some level my way of exploring how I feel about these things.
P.L.: I very much concur with you on these points you’ve raised. What, for you, has been the most challenging part about being a self-published author that you have experienced so far?
PHILIP: Being a self-published author means wearing many hats. I love writing and editing, but I’ve had to learn pretty much everything else that goes with writing these days, especially social media and the more technical aspects of producing a book. Social media can consume vast amounts of time. Running my YouTube channel is like having a second job, but one that hardly pays anything. That said, the large majority of my interactions on social media have been positive, and one of the greatest rewards is the friendships I have made online. Finding people with similar passions who love talking and bonding over them is incredible. These people have enriched my life and added to my love of storytelling, so I’m deeply grateful for that.
P.L. As you’ve greatly enriched ours! Philip, I have truly enjoyed our chat and I really appreciate you joining me on Six Elementals Interviews! Thank you so much!
Philip Chase on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@PhilipChaseTheBestofFantasy/featured
Philip Chase on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilipChase90