Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, C.P. Dunphey – C. P. Dunphey was born in Staten Island, New York. He grew up in Southern Mississippi and had an interest in writing since he was very young. In 2015, he founded his own publishing company, Gehenna Publishing House. His first novel, Plane Walker, was released in 2016. He hopes to further his writing as well as offer authors opportunities to be heard and read, his dream being that Gehenna Publishing House becomes a household name. The sequel to his novel, Plane Walker, titled Heiron, is slated for release in early 2017.
Thanks so much, C.P., for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
C.P. Dunphey: I honestly wanted to be an author. There was a brief period of time where I wanted to be a paleontologist. And then there was the comic book phase, which I am still pursuing as a hobby, but for the most part I have always wanted to be a writer. Creating worlds of my own is one of the only things that has always interested me. To me, it is the only way to be a god.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
CPD: When I was a young child, between the ages of 8-13, I filled entire composition notebooks with stories and books. I wrote one that was 250 pages. It’s funny when I look back because the other kids my age were mystified and would say, “he’s going to be an author one day,” or, “he wrote a whole book!” The teachers I had who could overlook my mischievous behavior, always told me I had talents that were different and wonderful. By the time I was 13, I was writing very detailed and often gruesome stories. My love for writing trails back to the roots of my life and was always fostered with support by my parents and family. It was one of the only things they truly encouraged me to pursue. I am glad they did.
JSC: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose, and what would you ask them?
CPD: I would sit down with H. P. Lovecraft. He is my greatest inspiration and I would want to pick his brain and learn everything I could about his processes, methods, and techniques. I know he was not a very proud person when it came to his writing, a perfectionist by nature. But I would do my damndest to learn how his imagination worked and most of all, I’d want to tell him that one day he would be appreciated more than he could ever imagine. Lovecraft died thinking his life had been trivial and meaningless. To tell him he was wrong would be one of the greatest feelings because I know it would mean a lot to him.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
CPD: For as long as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with the darker aspects of life and fiction. I loved novels by Richard Harris, R. A. Salvatore, Tolkien, Asimov, and Stephen King growing up. Then one day, my best friend since first grade showed me a collection of short stories by none other than H. P. Lovecraft. My writing and taste for fiction changed forever. I found my niche in the late author’s work. I feel my style of writing is heavily influenced by Lovecraft, Ligotti, King, Tolkien, and more. I find that most of my writing lies between poetic horror and descriptive speculative fiction.
JSC: What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
CPD: I would live in Middle Earth, the Shire to be exact. It is just so darn peaceful and care-free. I mean do any of them even have jobs in the Shire? I could sit at home and write for the rest of my days. Anyone who says differently than the Shire is an adventure-loving fool!
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
CPD: My first published work was a novel back in 2012. To say it was rushed is an understatement. The book was titled Lazarus and is actually the original rough draft of my new novel Plane Walker. Lazarus was a success in the means that I could put myself out there and write a book. But a success to be proud of? Not so much. I was 19 and lacked the patience and work ethic I do now. I spent the next several years editing the manuscript endlessly until the story was something I could be proud of. Plane Walker was the outcome. Same story, completely different novel.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
CPD: Something not a lot of people know about me, is that I was diagnosed with Manic Depression, or Bipolar Disorder, when I was very young. I’ve been battling it my entire life, everyday presenting some type of new struggle. I take pride in my condition, though. I credit almost all of my creativity and drive to the disorder. Many great minds and artists have fought Manic Depression and as much as it has affected my life in negative ways, the positive ways will always outweigh them. I decided a very long time ago to never allow my condition to be a disability. Everyone always set limitations on me. My parents would tell me I couldn’t do sports because of my medicine, doctors said I couldn’t hold a regular job because of my mood swings, etc. The greatest feeling is that none of them were right. I knew then and I know now, that in life you have to accept the things you can’t change and change the things you can’t accept. I am proud of my disorder and I encourage people in similar situations to feel the same. It is and always will be a gift. Besides, who wants to be normal anyways?
JSC: What’s your writing process?
CPD: My writing process often is impromptu. I don’t like to plan out my work too much. I feel it is more natural to let the story write itself. The characters all have minds and personalities of their own and when you let them decide their own actions, this leads to events you could have never expected. Almost all of my work was written in free verse, heavily edited and structured once finished.
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past, and why?
CPD: I would visit the future. The great thing about the genre of science fiction is that it is the only genre that consistently asks the question, “What if?” I would love to see how long the Earth will remain our home, or how long until we invent flying cars, eliminate mortality, etc. The past is rarely interesting to me. Mainly because it consists of events we all know. But the future. The future is one giant mystery. A mystery that each of us decides.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
CPD: Right now, I am working on a short story collection and the sequel to Plane Walker, titled Heiron. Both books are part of the Manus Dei Trilogy, the final novel, Ascension, is in the early stages of production. Heiron is finished, the editing process is what we are focusing on now. Along with these two, there are at least eight different novels or collections that are in pre-production. I am also reopening Gehenna Publishing House, with a new direction and a focus on short fiction publications. I’ve always felt the best route to success is through work ethic and determination. You have to stay busy in the publishing world.
And now for C.P.’as new book: Plane Walker:
The Manus Dei system proved that a deity exists.
The universe was changed forever.
Mankind desires equal footing with the God.
The God seeks to abandon mankind.
After his wife dies during childbirth, Lazarus’s life takes a turn for the worst. Addictions and neglect spread across the years as Lazarus focuses on the Deity as the apex of his frustration. During a freak accident, his daughter Elisha disappears. At his weakest point, Lazarus’s last memories of his daughter are erased, leaving him stranded with no clue of her final whereabouts.
On a final whim of desperation, Lazarus locates the last Manus Dei system in existence, hoping to use the machine to find the memories he has forgotten in life. But not without harsh repercussions.
Will Lazarus find Elisha? Or will he succumb to the terrible consequences of using the Manus Dei? Will Lazarus’s ulterior motives turn his daughter’s rescue mission into a war against the God?
Reinventing the face of science fiction and blurring the lines between genres and styles, Plane Walker will leave you enthralled and begging for more – intensely hoping that Lazarus will find his daughter Elisha while harboring feelings of both dread and suspense.
Welcome to the future. Embrace the unknown.
The Manus Dei Trilogy Book 1
C. P. Dunphey was born in Staten Island, New York. He grew up in Southern Mississippi and had an interest in writing since he was very young. In 2015, he founded his own publishing company, Gehenna Publishing House. His first novel, Plane Walker, was released in 2016. He hopes to further his writing as well as offer authors opportunities to be heard and read, his dream being that Gehenna Publishing House becomes a household name. The sequel to his novel, Plane Walker, titled Heiron, is slated for release in early 2017.