C.T. comes to Worldhoppers Guild on the verge of publishing his 22nd novel, sharing an original short story, Lost Honor, and an excerpt from his space opera novel, Lucifer’s Star. After reading this Q&A, check out his author’s page to learn more about other works, including his best-selling superhero series, The Supervillainy Saga.
Q&A with C.T. Phipps
Ryan: CT, thanks for joining us. I have to admit, one of the first things that drew me to your writing was your amazing publishing schedule. Looking back, you had several pieces published in Grimdark Magazine circa 2016, and then began publishing your novels starting around the same time. You have an open pre-order for your 22nd published novel. What keeps you writing and creating at this impressive pace?
C.T. – I think the secret of writing is that it is something that you would do even if you weren’t going to do it for a living. Writing is something that I love to do for fun and occupies my “free time.” George R.R. Martin said that the man who does not read lives one lifetime but the man who reads lives a thousand. Writing is how I can live the adventures of the characters that I already have swimming around in my head. The trick is keeping myself focused on existing projects, so I don’t get too distracted from finishing them.
Ryan: When you land on your website’s homepage you see a great graphic from your Supervillainy series, your name, and a short saying: “author of horror, sci-fi, and superheroes”. Looking through your work, the genres and stories vary from one end of that spectrum to another. With my own writing I think a lot about inspiration and how it feeds the worlds I create. You mention tabletop gaming as one, but what are some other things that feed your wide range of inspiration?
C.T. – I feel like every author’s writing is a glimpse into their brain. J.R.R. Tolkien’s interests merged with his wartime experience and religious faith to create Middle Earth. Stephen King’s work is his love of Americana, Westerns, and the weird. Really, I think every writer is a blender of their interests. In my case, though I end up writing a lot about the things I’d love to read about. Urban fantasy, horror, space opera, and superheroes have little in common but plenty of overlap and I love playing around in those locations.
Lucifer’s Star was created from my love of Star Wars, Blade Runner, Dune, Firefly, and a bunch of other sources that all came together in a single dark universe. Cthulhu Armageddon was born from my love of post-apocalypse settings, the Fallout video games, The Dark Tower series, and (of course) the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The Supervillainy Saga? That’s just my twisted little mind throwing out all my observations of comics and pop culture.
Ryan: You’ve created so many different characters across your multiple series & sagas. Which one is your favorite? Which one is most like you?
C.T. – People assume it’s Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless (Supervillainy Saga) because he’s a thirty-something geek that is an encyclopedia of knowledge of pop culture trivia as well as no ability to keep his mouth shut. Admittedly, all of us would love to be a guy who is capable of being the Bad GuyTM (who isn’t too bad) and run roughshod over the universe.
However, I’d argue I’m probably closer to Jane Doe (I Was a Teenage Weredeer). Gender change aside, I grew up in a small town very much like Bright Falls, Michigan and had to deal with a gradual awakening to just how screwed up everyone around me was as well as the system that I tried to survive in. She’s also a good deal more authentic in her responses than Gary who, bluntly, says everything I wish I could say versus everything I could.
Mind you, I wish I could be Cassius Mass (Lucifer’s Star) the genetically-engineered superhuman turned freighter captain who has been beaten around so hard by life that he has no fracks left to give.
Ryan: What are you reading, watching, or playing? When you aren’t writing and you find some downtime, what do you like to do?
C.T.- I’m currently finishing up my second playthrough of The Outer Worlds by Obsidian games. It’s a game that I’ve really enjoyed with influences form Firefly, Mass Effect, and (of course) Fallout. It’s a good influence for my current project, which is the third book in the Lucifer’s Star series, Lucifer’s World. I also still maintain a regular tabletop gaming crew for both Vampire: The Masquerade and Exalted.
Ryan: Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. If you could play a tabletop game as a DM/GM with your dream team, what world of yours are you playing in?
C.T.- Oh, I’d play in any of them. Lucifer’s Star and Supervillainy Saga would be the most fun, though.