Friday Night Drinks with…. Fiona Phillips

FRIDAY NIGHT DRINKS

Look, I’ve finally got round to creating a proper logo for this feature! It’s only taken me almost two years! I’m delighted to welcome to the blog today for Friday Night Drinks to celebrate this momentous creative achievement, author….. Fiona Phillips

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Welcome, Fiona and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Well, seeing as it’s Friday night and work is done for the week, I’d love a gin and tonic.

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Me too, cheers. If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I live just over the border from Chester, and my favourite place to go there is the Ship Inn. Great bar, lovely restaurant, and located perfectly to take a stroll into Chester to walk off our food.

I love Chester, sounds great. If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Ooh, good question. Let me see. 

The female would have to be Mary Shelley. I find her a fascinating character; the influence of her parents Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, her social circle (including Percy Bysshe Shelley and Byron), and her writing career during her marriage and then as a single parent supporting her son.

Male? Stephen King. I’ve been reading his books since I was a teenager and I love his dark imagination. I’d want to know how he manages to be so prolific and keep finding fresh inspiration for new stories.

Those are interesting choices, your tastes must swing to the macabre a little! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Taking a rest after submitting the first draft of the second book in the Haven Chronicles series to my publisher. 

The series started with Haven Wakes, my debut fantasy novel which is set in a future version of our own world. There’s a wonderful combination of magic and future tech (with plenty of robots) as 12 year old Steve Haven and a dark fairy figure known only as the darkling fight to keep a magical device out of the hands of the villains.

Book 2 (title still under discussion) picks up about a week after the end of Haven Wakes. Things seem to have returned to normal for Steve and then – bam! – he’s pulled back into the hidden world of magic.

I foresee two or three more books in this series, but my characters do tend to keep going off on adventures, so who knows?

Fingers crossed, my publisher likes Book 2.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment has been seeing Haven Wakes published and holding a copy in my hands. 

My biggest challenge was writing the second book in the series. With a publisher lined up, all of a sudden I wasn’t writing just for me, but for them and for all the readers who have loved Haven Wakes. Having said that, the editing process for Haven Wakes and reader reactions to it have been incredibly helpful in pointing me in the right direction.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I have so many ideas for books, all based in the same magical universe. I would love to have the chance to write them all and see them out there on people’s bookshelves.

I wouldn’t say no to a film or a TV series either. Who knows?

What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

Well, there’s Book 2 of the Haven Chronicles, once I get edits back from my publisher, but I’m also just about to start on a secret project that marries my work as an author with my copywriter role too. 

It’s my way to help out my fellow authors.

Intriguing.  I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

By far, my favourite place that I’ve visited is Venice. I’ve been there three times so far – once with a friend, then with my mum, and most recently my husband took me there for a birthday treat. I’d love to return again with the rest of my family.

I’ve had to re-draw my bucket list as being a published author was number one until Haven Wakes was released in 2019.

Now? I want to go on a cruise of the Scandinavian fjords with my husband. 

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I’m an ambivert. That means I’m smack down the middle between being an extrovert and an introvert. 

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

It would have to be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a wonderful mixture of fantasy, intrigue, romance and history. 

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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors.

I read The Night Circus during a family holiday in Corfu and its magic is now inextricably tied up with my memory of that time.

I agree, one of my absolute favourites, it was my most recent Desert Island Book. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Water. I try to drink plenty of water before I get started on alcoholic drinks, more before bedtime, and top up again in the morning.

Boring but it really works.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Breakfast pancakes at Hanky Pankys in the middle of Chester followed by a stroll alongside the river Dee for an ice cream and a ride on one of the river boats.

That is a Sunday I would really enjoy. Fiona, thank you for coming on the blog and sharing drinks with me, it has been a fascinating evening.

Fiona’s debut novel, Haven Wakes, is out now in paperback and ebook formats, and you can buy a copy here.

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The year is 2110. Everyone has their own robot, and magical worlds are just behind the next door…

Steve Haven always thought he was just another ordinary twelve-year-old boy. Well, as ordinary as he can be given that he’s the nephew of Rex Haven, founder of the globally successful Haven Robotics Corporation.

But when Rex dies in mysterious circumstances and Steve is given a strange artefact known only as the Reactor, he discovers that the world he thought he knew is a lot stranger and more threatening than he could have ever imagined.

On the run from a group of dangerous villains, Steve finds himself plunged into a hidden and dangerous world of magic. With his parents missing and no one in the normal world he can trust, Steve must join with his new-found magical friends to discover the truth about the Reactor and his uncle’s death.

Haven Wakes is the debut novel by Fi Phillips and the first in The Haven Chronicles, an exciting and enthralling journey through new worlds, both futuristic and magical.Bio

Fi Phillips is a fantasy author and real-life copywriter living in North Wales with her family and a cockapoo called Bailey.

She likes to write about magical possibilities.

You can find out more about Fiona’s writing on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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