Featured Authors: Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps - Real-Life Couple Creating Fantasy Worlds

Our Featured Authors for today are multi-published Fantasy writers, Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps. That's right, they're married. Is that cool or what? Get to know the writers of WHAM!, ELF KILLERS and HEART OF THE STAFF.

We see that you're a husband and wife writing team, how did you decide to write together?

Carol: I had a number of short stories I had written for my creative writing classes and the yearly anthology which I read to my husband and step children. Tom was impressed by my writing and encouraged me to take it up again. Since writing had always been my first career choice, I was easy to convince. However, I discovered along the way that Tom also had a great writing talent, though he was more of a non-fiction writer. We soon decided that combining our skills would make some realistic fantasy stories that all ages could read and enjoy. Thus, we became a team.

Who is Carol Marrs Phipps, the woman?

Carol: I am a mother, grandmother, wife and doting pet owner. I say this first because my husband is always telling me that if I didn’t have anything else, I would mother a rock   Apparently my students agreed with my husband, because when I still taught elementary school, many of them often referred to me as “mom” rather than Mrs. Phipps. My pets include six cats, a cockatiel, a raven and a blue-fronted amazon parrot. (Though, anyone who has ever hand-raised a parrot understands they are far more like having another child, than a pet, particularly if they talk). 

I am a fantasy writer and a dreamer. I love to weave the visions which play out in my imagination into fantastic tales for my own amusement and the enjoyment of others. If not writing I am a voracious reader. I also love the outdoors where I enjoy walking, hiking, swimming, biking and picnics in the woods. Movies, traveling and family get-togethers are also an important part of my life. 

And who is the writer? What is your writing process? 

Carol: I’m a bit of a dreamer who loves to simply let her imagination (or perhaps I should say, my muse) take flight and see where it takes me. For truly, when I sit down to write, even though I often think I know exactly what I want to write, and how it should all turn out, it often turns out very differently. So much so, that at times I have read over what I’d just written and been completely amazed it had just come out of me. 

I’ve always enjoyed making up stories and most often would have one running through my mind as I fell asleep…and I still do. However, nothing goes into print that is not agreed upon by both my husband/co-author, Tom and I. Before, during, and even after we write a book we have many discussions and brainstorming sessions, often while we are walking or riding our tandem bicycle, and we try to do one or the other activity at the start of each day. Then we are ready to write. Tom is more down-to-earth than I am. He is more of a non-fiction, reality guy. I guess you could say he is the yang to my yin. Together, it all works.

You write in the Fantasy genre. Why fantasy? 

Carol: I have always loved fantasy and the idea of things magical. Some people say that fantasy readers and writers simply use it as form of escapism. No doubt, some do, but for me it is more of seeing possibilities that may be just beyond the horizon. After all, if you think deeply about it, life itself has a magical quality to it. Sure, scientists point you to the Big Bang Theory and creationists point you to the Creationist Theory, but beyond that, there is always another question of…and where did that come from, that No One has ever been able to answer. If that isn’t magical, what is? 

What I like to capture and share in writing fantasy is the wonder of it all; the possibilities. Also, fantasy is a very flexible genre, meaning it combines well with other genres and allows the writer to have a more balanced story. For instance, WHAM! is fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, timetravel, romance, teen/young adult, politics & government, survival, social issues, and more. You can literally write about any real or current issue under the umbrella of fantasy. 

What inspired your book WHAM? 

Carol: I’d have to say, WHAM!, Timewalker Book 1 was inspired by a combination of  current world political affairs, and the increasingly insane agricultural practices being carried out today, which not only poisons the food we eat, but also the land, the waterways and the very air we breathe. How sad that in “our new world order” the air in the cities, polluted by exhaust fumes and factory emissions, is cleaner and safer than what used to be fresh country air. Enough said, it is not my intention to get on my soapbox and preach to you here, but rather, to set the background for the series.

You've published many books. Which one's your favorite and why? 

Carol: Although I have a special place in my heart for each of the books we have written so far, WHAM! is my favorite, because it is more personal to me. One issue in the book relates to the use and overuse of agricultural chemicals and their harmful effects on all living systems, including human. My husband and I live in an agricultural area on what remains of his family farm, and we both have suffered repeated deleterious effects from the excessive overspray now engaged in by the farmers in our area.

WHAM! Fantasy Novel by Carol Marrs Phipps

Further, our beloved green cheeked Amazon parrot died recently, after developing leukemia due to a weakened immune system, which was caused by the agricultural chemicals. He was my bondbird, constant companion, and yes, my friend, as well a pet. He commanded a large vocabulary and had a very loving nature. He was 24 years old (given to me by my husband on our first anniversary). He was highly intelligent, referred to himself as “I”, asked and answered questions, called me by name, and had the most infectious laugh. He died in my arms on September 3, 2017, and believe me, it was as painful as losing a child. He actually lived with me longer than any of my children. In addition to those reasons, I enjoyed writing in the more modern time period than we have in the past and dealing with fairies, elves and trolls in a modern world.

If you could identify one unique trait that separates your books from the rest, what would it be?

Carol: We work hard to make certain all of our characters are realistic and well-rounded, even our villains. There are, after all, two (or more) sides to every story in the real world, so should there be in fantasy, or any other fictional tale.

Are you enjoying the experience so far?

Carol: It is actually a lot of work, but since we love doing it, it has been well-worth the effort.

What is your message to fantasy readers?

Carol: Tom and I invite you to try any or all of our fantasy books. Our six-book boxed set, HEART OF THE STAFF: Complete Series,  is a bargain at just 99 cents. But, don’t be misled and think the low price indicates low quality…quite the opposite. The price was priced low simply because we were relatively unknown and want people to read and enjoy the series which took us ten years to complete since we were both still teaching full time while writing it. 

And if you do purchase the boxed set, don’t forget to download the appendix companion book, HEART OF THE STAFF: Complete Appendix

WHAM! is a YA dystopian fantasy/scifi/ timetravel book, that adults of all ages also enjoy.

Elf Killers was our first fantasy in print and was a lot of fun to write. It has been a bit “controversial”; readers seem to love it, or hate it, but we feel it is a very good and enjoyable read, and we put a lot of thought and time into its creation.

Where can we find you?

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