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Tonight in the ongoing Author Interview Series, we have the pleasure of enjoying the company of author Philip Mann, as he tells us more about his “Dark Muse” Jewish paranormal romance series, along with what motivates and inspires him to write his books.
Without further ado, let’s get this show on the road, happy reading folks 🙂
Hi there Philip, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today to discuss your books, influences and writing experiences.
Let’s start first with your novels themselves, the “Dark Muse Series”, a Jewish paranormal trilogy consisting of “Dark Muse”, “The Gate Keeper: Volume 2 (The Dark Muse)” and the latest in the series that was published this year “First Of The Fallen”. Please tell us more about their plots and themes, their quirky protagonists/antagonists and how the books link with each other in the series.
Dark Muse takes the idea of the muse as a helpful sprite, born in Greek mythology, and plants it in the Jewish tradition, and in modern Montreal. In the series, the muse is part human and part divine, and their duty is to help drive the creative few to achieve their goal. This involves turbo-charging their brain, in a way, and not all of them can handle it. Some are driven to madness and suicide, and that is part of the role of this muse as well. And they cannot shirk.
There are two women central to this story. Vi Gold leads off the series in a dramatic scene, where she helps end the life of a protégé. She herself is at the end of her rope, and then she meets Cal and they hit it off. She gets a reprieve of sorts at the end of the book.
Her opposite number, or the flip side of her coin, is Lee Marvin. She has the same duty as Vi, but is far more powerful and more dangerous. The damage she causes mean nothing to her. She and Vi have an affair, even though Vi is disturbed by Lee’s callous attitude. The two have their ups and downs, and Lee becomes a very complex and conflicted character, one that evolves throughout the series. Vi marries Cal, and Lee is still involved with Vi and her soon born children.
I guess a theme of the series is duty against friendship, and also how the past is never really past. Despite this being a paranormal, I took care to draw the characters as having human emotions and needs.
In the second book, Lee does something at the end that affects her outlook. It’s a body blow of an ending.
In the third book, I begin with Lee committing an act, something about fifteen years before the main timeline in the story, which ties her to Vi in a dramatic way. I also describe how, in her early teens, Vi becomes a muse and how she reacts.
A good part of the beginning of this book deals with the origins of the muse in Jewish terms, as I tie it into the book of Genesis.
I also describe how and why her parents die in a car crash on an isolated stretch of highway not long after she becomes a muse. I told you, this gets complicated.
Lee always carries with her a threat of violence, although she can be a flirt. Vi is more of a good girl, despite her fling with Lee. Yet she also can take care of herself in a fight.
If your novels were to be made into films (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
Lee would be played by Charlize Theron, because she has that air of command about her.
Vi would be Scarlett Johansson, just because.
Cal, my alter ego, would be played by a much younger Ian Holm, who I saw described as a burning ball of barbed wire and looks like everyman.
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your style of writing?
A macaw, because I need somebody to talk to.
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing? Do you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
My writing has been described as dry. But it’s never predictable. I think of my style as a boxer who has a simple stance, throws jab, jab, jab, Knockout blow. Sometimes an idea occurs to me as I’m writing, and it turns into a major development.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
The most difficult part is the space between the beginning, the middle and the end.
Who are some of the authors, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
I admire Stephen King because of his ability to draw a character in one sentence. Mostly, though, I read non-fiction. I just finished rereading Satyajit Das’s “Extreme Money”. Very funny, yet very incisive description of the legal theft known as hedge funds.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
Not much. I get a lot of my plot points from the news. In fact, the opening scene in the first book , where a man walks onto thin ice and falls through and drowns, was a story here for a few days in Boxing Day, 2010. I also read all sorts of things, and I get material from there.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing around eight years ago. My work schedule allowed it, and I wanted to put down various ideas on paper, and things developed from there.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
I consider it a challenge. I’m also afraid of losing the thread of the story, so I keep moving. Even if what I write is way off base, and I have to scrap it, it still is writing exercise. It’s like having a poor workout at the gym. You still were moving, so you do get benefit from it.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would have started this a long time ago, and I would tell my younger me to find an outlet for the writing.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
Besides working, I try different genres in writing, some which I have to keep away from my wife. (Was I supposed to say that?)
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I’m about to start the fifth book in the series, and it develops again. I’m also trying to get into magazines in some way.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Try to be original, don’t go after the popular trends. Develop a thick hide.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for sharing your muse with us Philip, we look forward to how the series continues to develop, no matter how dark it gets – the darker the better 😉
Bio (in Philip’s own words):-
“These things are always awkward to write, but they can also be fun. Let’s try.
I always had a way of describing things or ideas very briefly, but I never pursued a writing career. Maybe I never thought they would pay.
But about ten years ago my job left me with spare time, which let me see things more deeply. I started thinking of scenes, or ideas that came together, and began to write hem down. Some just had their moment in the clear light of day, others took root. One that stayed with me was Dark Muse, and that became the basis of a series.
I always had an imagination, but that story eventually had me harness my dreamworld and focus it. I used a tenacity I always had and teamed it to my writing. Without that, the books would never have been written.
I live in Canada with my wife and the voices in my head. I spend way too much time minding everybody else’s business, which she thinks is silly. Of course, if I just stuck to my own affairs, I would never write.
Writing has become a challenge for me, a way to channel energy and usefully employ time. Remember, money can be replaced, time never comes back.”
You can connect with Philip via the following Social Media channels:-
You can buy his books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.
Still want more? Well, one of the main premises behind Philip’s “Dark Muse” series is that being a muse is a calling that cannot be ignored. For more articles on the theme of ‘Calling’ then check out the links from my fellow bloggers below:-
1. Angela’s Stories – Calling
2. Childhood Wanderings – Strange Days
3. Tokyo-Yokohama – Whispers in the Wind
4. My Calling – aroused
5. dial tones – Tiny Fawns
6. suziland too or obsolete childhood – a calling
7. Mumma Bear – Mum’s the Word Blog
8. Heart of Fire – Brainpan Data Dump
9. Calling – Run and Travel
10. A Calling – Everything Under The Sun
11. My Calling – What if We all Cared?
12. Life Is Like That – A Child is Born
13. bogpan – The Voice of One Crying
14. Momentum of Jo – Anxiety Overload – From the Chaos to the Calling
15. Sally and Bug – Tales of a Family
16. 100,000 Miles – Wind Kisses
17. Be Hopeful – corazon181
18. Notes to Women – A New Relationship
19. the15thday – sit down, chill out… sod that crazy-s***!!!
20. Consequences – Just a Written Thought
21. Winter’s Immersing Day – a moment teller’s
22. Geirangerfjord – Norway – Easy Reading
23. Pamukkale – Easy Reading
24. Grateful ~ Liebster Award – corazon181
25. juantetcts – Daily Post/Calling!
26. Pipe dreams – Easy Reading
27. Next. – Of Musings and Other Things
28. KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog – stars
29. Calling – ditzy.com
30. Are We Nearly There Yet? – An Upturned Soul
31. 2017 favorites – overcoming writers’ block – Quaint Revival
32. Love Coach Laura Harju – Being vulnerable
33. witchlike – Six Word Story (Yule)
34. Dog Tired – Sgeoil
35. Christmas is For Everyone – Randomzb.
36. Calling – Image & Word
37. GETSETWRITE – Pieces of a jigsaw
38. Moonlight – Musings
39. Undistinguished Heroics – LazyHaze
40. The World Outside the Window – India Calling
41. Call For Peace – Leigha Robbins
42. Underwater Mona Lisa – Beach Books
43. Sweet Silver Bells – Wandering Worlds
44. Author Sara Khan Interview on The Qelem – Sara Khan
45. Ashtamisprime – Daily prompt -calling
46. Believe in Your Calling – Blissfully Bianca
47. 10 Questions To Your Inner Calling – Too Big To Play Small
48. Senryu : Calling Intergalactic AAA – Cactus Haiku
49. Confession(s) – My Journey Across China
50. Once a Day Photos | – Calling from Ireland
51. Hello Bipolar – Swan Song
52. Listen to Your Wife! Herbed and Spicy NOT Butter – koolkosherkitchen
53. The Hockey Mom Fit Life – Norway is Calling
54. Do you have a calling? – DatOneLady
55. S. Cameron Roach – Flick’s Calling
56. Calling Running Races, Finding Meaning for Life – Shelby’s Starlit Crossing
57. Walk with God – What’s That?
58. Scott Andrew Bailey – The Calling
59. Guess who’s calling – Come in, sit down
60. SAND DOLLAR SEASON – Heart’s Calling
61. present, past, and future phone calls – k a i t
62. Calling – constant VARIABLE
63. Author, Kim Knight – Daily Writing Prompt: Calling… My Calling Was Bitter Sweet, But Well Worth it!
64. Blase’ – (Forwarding…)
65. Holiday Haiku – koolest1uknow
66. My Anxiety Matters – My true calling
67. Calling – The Bag Lady
68. Making it write – Self-pity
69. truestarjm – Calling
70. Calling For Prayers – Islamic Methodologies Made Easy
71. Bonkers Away! – Calling
72. Melodies – Unpredictable Affairs
73. Both – I am a paradox.
74. Single Guy Says – Single Guy Sends You to Philadelphia
75. Haunted – Wandering Worlds
76. Geen spam meer // No more Spam – THEO HERBOTS FOTO- EN VIDEO-BLOG
77. Calling Each One by Name – Mistyroads
78. First Encounter Ministry – Jesus is Calling for You
79. Low Expectations and My Neighbor’s Green Grass (Journal) – stephentotheplate
80. The Calling – thehouseofbailey
81. Piper’s Adventures – I Can Hear You Calling
82. ~354 Of 365~ – ……….365 Days………..
83. Frank Prem – near Swift’s Creek
84. Epiphany – What’s the opposite of a lullaby?
85. I Do Not Wish You a Bipolar Christmas – My Loud Bipolar Whispers
86. The Home Of DJ Sung Mo Koo – Wednesday’s Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose
87. The Romantic Quill – WEDNESDAY REFLECTION #32: Holiday Affair
88. God? Yeah, it’s me, Alison. Again. – Love, Teal, & Pink
89. Is your true life calling? – Live an Untethered Life
90. She Prayz – KhaoticEuphoria
91. Calling – A Sawyer’s Daughter
92. Call Of Love – Wings Of Poetry
93. This Moment – It’s Okay to Let Go
94. CALLING – Nano Stories
95. Life On The Skinny Branches – Carpe Diem, My Friend
96. Hidden Figures–The World is Watching! – Books & Coffee
97. The Ominous Calling (Creative Writing Project #1) – Loved by Lilah
98. Compassionate Minds – Reflections
99. Advent calendar Box 20 – In my world
100. Completing the puzzle: “Our Common Calling” – Pearls Global Impact
101. Santa Crypto Bubble – Word Play … Work in Progress.
102. We Are Called – Sprouts, Sprites, & Dinosaurs
103. Not So Basic Biology – A Unique Title For Me
104. Calling – bushboys world
105. Calling – wordsareallihavesite
106. A Christmas Hillbilly Love Story – Paul Cox Writer
107. Always a Teacher – One Woman’s Quest
108. LIGHT – Girl In Red Scarf
109. Renewed! Redefined! – Shards of Bards
110. Strange Wednesdays: Secret Family Recipes – Everyday Strange
111. copypower – Your Calling
112. Snow – Random thoughts of a transient being
113. The Calling of a Zebra
114. I seek the peace that evades me
115. Mysteries of Life…You and Me – Lost and UnFound
116. dvn ms kmz time travel – There’s A Mystery Afoot
117. Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored – Magic, Pt IV, The Heart of Christmas, #amwriting
118. Calling – Rulla Alani
119. I still hear you …. – IdeasBecomeWords
120. G.I.R.L – LOST
121. Call of the wind – Oh, border!
122. 49 years from Now calling – The Secret Letters to Timbo
123. Thought of… – Cyranny’s cove
124. You decide! – Kurilane
125. Nan’s Farm-Inside Out – Owl and Mouse (8) – Christmas Prep
126. Calling – answering. – Covert Novelist
127. Calling – Broken Wife and Mother
128. y – in the middle of
129. Calling To The World – Pitch Black Poesy
130. The Wild Is Calling…Let Us Go… – Curious Cat
131. Martha L Shaw – THE GIFT OF THE JOURNEY
132. The Gift – KerDoodle Village
133. thelonerose – Call
134. Rat Race – Rantings of a nihilist fool
135. I Have Pretty Strong Convictions, I Guess – Calling
136. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Calling Tabby
137. Christmas Calling…….but – Revolving Around Life
138. Stephanie’s RV Travels – Hello 2018, Goodbye 2017!
139. You’re Not Beautiful – arpi3site
140. Calling Out for Light in the Darkness – The Page Turns
141. Musings of a Random Mind – A Divine Mission
142. Something You Want to Tell Me? – This, That, and The Other
143. Crossing Colorado – Is Health and Fitness a Passing Fancy, or is it Calling to You?
144. Suddenly Single… Minded – Was they all the wrong number?
145. Then nothing happened – themanbehindtheglass
146. Christmas is Calling – Sandra Pavloff Conner
147. DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society – Epilepsy and Flashing Bridge Lights
148. Scourge – Journey
149. Christmas Haiku #4 – Egypt – Dream Desire Achieve
150. It’s Called Fiction Block – Sketches By Nitesh
151. Life of Lizzy – Calling.
152. Travel Wanders A-Calling… – Nomadchasingwaterfalls
153. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Calling
154. Grammy Writes – In Light of Christmas
155. Illuminate and Look Around
156. Calling, Falling, Bawling – Curious Steph
157. Writer’s block – Man of War
158. Rock, Paper, Scissors – Stuff and Nonsense
159. Kimberlee K. – Calling All Humans, I Want Your Garbage
160. My travel calling – The Grey Traveller
161. Kimberlee K. – Debt & Doubt & The Blue Wall
162. As I See It – It’s Christmas
163. Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss – Calling Angloswiss
164. Curious Hart – When Music Calls You
165. Newsletter: We crave irreality – Wells Baum
166. Twenty Things To Do This Holiday Season – Specscladeyes
167. The cost for convenience – Wells Baum
168. Define your fears instead of your goals – Wells Baum
169. Snowbound Christmas – Gary’s Writing Corner
170. Melancholy at 3am – Gaurvi Narang
171. Life Before Death – ARMY OF THE FALLEN BIKERS
172. Masonic Lunch – binneyblog
173. Scrambled, Not Fried – Long Distance
174. sonja benskin mesher – . the calling card .
175. Hot White Snow – An Honest Calling
176. Dreams Come Through If We… – Success Strategies
177. Success Inspirers World – Singing and calling
178. An Unexpected Natural Impulse – Armed With A Keyboard
179. Po’ Girl Shines – Have You Answered Your Calling?
180. Frank Prem – hush
181. LOST HOPE – lovenlosses
182. Quotidian Christmas Rant # 93 – I’m a Writer, Yes, I Am!
183. Frank Prem – black rock by bicycle
184. Calling – iamdeltapositivenegative
185. Writers on writing – Z for short.
186. Frank Prem – the look of salvation
187. Calling – damswriter
188. Are You Listening? – Lakeshore Ponderings
189. The Waves A-Calling… – Success Strategies
190. My Calling – emotionsoflife2016
191. This is Orange Country – A lot from Lydia
192. Sean Hogan – A Modern Christmas Carol
193. Childhood Wanderings – Off My Rocker
194. Boston – The Introspection Connection
195. Science Traveler – Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Henry, and Nikola Tesla – Connected by Fate
196. Wind Against Current – Calling
197. Dronstad – Second Chance – Galacta Niner
198. 1000 Followers..We Did It!!!
199. Polarized Call – A Bunch of Rants
200. Calling – THEGIRLVERSUSWORLD
201. Islands in the Sun… – Success Strategies
202. You’re Not – Scribbled to Paper
203. Alpha Wolf – THEGIRLVERSUSWORLD
204. The Examined Life – A Week Before Christmas
205. With my voice – Nefertiti’s Sweeties
206. Wishes – This Girl’s Got Curves
207. A Burning Wish – Poetry By Jeremy
208. Cimmerian Sentiment – Nothing Rhymes With Orange (Part – 2) Snow Angel
209. Called Out and Covered – Stew Rd.
210. Wordless Wednesday: The Beach Is Calling – whippetwisdom.com
211. Neither Here Nor There – December Rose
212. Above, Solo (Rewritten) – Zeckrombryan
213. So Many Ways – Just Writing!
214. Rise – Megha’s World
215. ….on pets and prisoners….. – daily prompt: calling
216. Designer Sophisticate – Ring-a-ding-ding.
217. Two Haikus – cocoa2
218. You & Me – Don’t let the child inside you grow too soon…
219. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Oops!…I Did It Again
220. Don’t Even Ask – Sunken Thought
221. Ups, Downs & Deviations – Mary Jane