Author Spotlight: Philip Frey

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Dangerous Times Phillip Frey

Name
Phillip Frey

Tell us a brief summary of your book’s plot.
A psychopath has a plan. For it to succeed he must find his lookalike, a scapegoat. The one he finds is a close-enough double. The psychopath then switches their identities and fingerprints in government databases. The innocent lookalike is now thrown into 48 hours of betrayal, violence, and murder. While the psychopath learns the meaning of “The best laid plans…”

What was the inspiration for this story?
Actually, it was money. When I was a screenwriter a producer hired me to write a treatment-for-screenplay based on his one sentence idea: A story about a double. I wrote the treatment but it was never turned into a screenplay. After 5 years of nothing happening with it, the rights reverted to me, which is a Writers Guild rule. Having turned to narrative fiction by then, I decided to turn the ten-page treatment into a book. As an added note, the ten pages had a lot of spacing. This was because most producers do not like to read.

Do you have any writing habits you would like to tell us about?
I took the advice of Tennessee Williams and it’s worked for me. Set a daily start time, and then sit there, same time every day for a chosen number of hours. The important thing is not to get up and run from it. Whether or not a single word is written, the mind is still working. The writing hours are never wasted. Once you have a first sentence down, more will follow. For Tennessee it was 4 hours; for me two, in the early morning, though I try to return later in the day to do some editing. I go to sleep very early and get up around 2:30 a.m. The reason I get up so early is because there are no interruptions—no one else is awake.

What is the hardest thing to manage when you start writing?
If it is something I have been working on, getting back into the flow of the story may be a problem at times. When this happens I interact with the characters and let them tell me where they want to go. This doesn’t work all the time, however. When it doesn’t, I go back a chapter or two, maybe three, and then start rewriting them (they will need rewriting anyway). When I get to the blank page, I am usually able to slide into what happens next. If it is a project that
I am just beginning, I write about the characters I have in mind, write about the story I have in mind, and then sooner or later I come up with the first sentence.

Name the three books currently topping your To Be Read list?
Danish crime author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s “The Absent One.”
Charlie Huston’s “Already Dead.”
James Crumley’s “The Last Good Kiss.”

How important do you think a book’s cover is?
What is your first impression of someone you have just met? It is the same with a book cover, and so it is very important.

If you could collaborate with any author, who would you choose?
I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know. This is because the idea of collaborating with someone is horrifying.

You can catch Phillip on Twitter @phillipkafka and his website, as well as finding Dangerous Times on Amazon.

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