GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Interview: Horror author Luke Phillips (Beast Series) + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Interview: Horror author Luke Phillips (Beast Series) + giveaway

Can you, for those who don’t know already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I live in the county of Kent, which is the South East corner of England and I have always had a fascination with wildlife. As a kid, I would be the veritable Gerald Durrell, often bringing home the things I found, much to the annoyance of my family, and especially my sisters. I actually wanted to be a vet, and ended up studying zoology at university. But, from an early age, my teachers had encouraged me to write – advice which I ignored. However, over the years, creative writing has crept into virtually every job I’ve ever held, to the point that I finally embraced it – better late than never. And now, wildlife – both real and mythical, now features heavily in my writing. So, I definitely think it was meant to be and I took the path I was always meant to!

What are you passionate about?
I’m really passionate about wildlife conservation and protecting our natural world. Many real-world issues, such as ecoterrorism and the illegal wildlife trade feature in my books, and I also try to make regular contributions to animal charities off of my sales.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I have a veritable need to be in nature. Hiking is a real escape for me. I have a connection to mountains and the ocean that is always pulling at me. I live in a lovely rural area where I can disappear up onto the local hills quite quickly and easily. Identifying birds, insects, and other wildlife whilst heading into the woods is a favourite pastime. I also love to wild swim.

The draw of a good book or five is hard for me to resist. I’ve very happy engrossed in a novel, but also read some incredible books in the name of research. And I enjoy cooking, as well as being a bit of a film fanatic!

Do you have a favourite movie?
Raiders of the Lost Ark is the standout for me. I can’t remember exactly how young I was, but it was young, when my mum came up to my bedroom and told me to come downstairs with her, and to bring my duvet. I dutifully obeyed, and watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the very first time. I was transfixed. I think it is absolute classic story telling at its very best. And to this day, I always celebrate my birthday by watching Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Pale Rider is a close second, and another that I always tend to watch on my birthday!

Which of your novels can you imagine being made into a movie?
I think the second book, The Daughters of the Darkness, definitely has a blockbuster sort of feel about it. It has the exotic location of Africa, a great villain, a sidekick, and spectacular scenery, action sequences, and wildlife. I’ve always imagined Henry Cavill as potentially playing my main protagonist, Thomas Walker; Rebecca Ferguson as Catherine Walker, and Chris Hemsworth as Jericho O’Connell. They’ve all played complex characters with damaged pasts, and they would of course be on any author’s wish-list! I would love to see my work make it to the big screen. I’ve had lots of reviews from readers saying what great movies make, so hope spring’s eternal.

Interestingly enough though, with the first book, Shadow Beast, I always imagined this making a great autumnal TV mini-series. It has a noire feel, and the setting of the Scottish Highlands makes it perfect for snuggling up on the sofa to watch, within the safety and comfort of your own home. I remember when I was writing it, I cast it in my mind. Thomas was played by Hugh Dancy – who was playing Will Graham in Hannibal at the time, and I thought the aloofness, intelligence and baggage that character had lent itself to Thomas, as well as Dancy’s rugged, athletic look. Catherine I cast as Kara Tointon, who I’d seen in a number of theatre productions – Gaslight in particular, and in a little-known horror film, Last Passenger. She portrays strong, independent characters brilliantly and was a perfect fit for Catherine. For Fairbanks, my human villain, I have always wanted Tom Wilkinson – partly because he was excellent in The Ghost and the Darkness, which depicts some of the historical accounts of what my books are based on.

What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
In 2016, I visited Paris for the first time. I stayed in Montmartre, which has always been popular with artists and writers – and especially the Lost Generation; Hemingway, Fitzgerald and of course Gertrude Stein, who christened the band of disillusioned, American writers who set up in Paris after the Great War, and ushered in a new era of freedom of expression.

I read Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’ which depicts his time in Paris with a mouth-watering focus on its culinary delights. I also visited the cafés, bars and restaurants they favoured, as well as the places they went to for solace – walks along the Seine and little cobbled backstreets. And, of course, no writer’s trip to Paris is complete without a visit to Shakespeare & Co, the famous bookstore, where I spent far too much money on special editions, exploring the maze of floors and shelves, and then dipping into them over coffee in their conveniently adjoining café!

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I guess if I don’t say a large black cat, people are going to think of me as a traitor! I certainly have an absolute fascination with big cats. I am in awe of their power and ability – the fact that they are unapologetically predatory in nature.

But, if we’re talking a daimon, in a ‘His Dark Materials’ kind of way, it would probably have to be an otter; they’re playful, inquisitive, intelligent, and have the most joyful personalities. My absolute favourite animals, and less likely to drag you off into the forest and eat you compared to a big black cat.

What inspired you to write this book?
I think like a lot of writers, it was simply a case of not being able to find the story I wanted to read. My head was full of these creatures, and every now and then a story pops up in the press about something being sighted, or a terrifying encounter that can’t be explained. So, one day, I just started writing. And now I hope I never stop.

What can we expect from you in the future?
I think one of the joys of being a self-published author is that I’m not bound by a specific genre or certain characters. In my head, and actually now mapped out on paper, I have a book universe. I’m currently working on book three in the series, and I introduce a new character who will be getting her own book, which I’m also working on. That will take me into real monster territory.

But, there’s also a science fiction story I really want to tell. And a children’s faerie story. I even have a crime thriller that I can’t seem to leave alone. Apart from book three in the Black Beast series, you can expect at least one more outing from Thomas and Catherine Walker after that, but from there, it gets interesting. The one thing I’m sure on is, the books will all exist in the same universe. My protagonist in the science fiction story will have gone to university with my protagonist from the Beast series. I am introducing elements of myths and the faerie realm into book three of the Beast series, which will set the foundation for the children’s story. There are some really exciting stories I’m hoping to tell over the next few years.

Shadow Beast (Beast Series Book 1)
by Luke Phillips
November 28, 2014
Print Length: 383 pages
Genre: Thriller
We just lost our place at the top of the food chain. Man is just meat.

It is only when the bones of its prey are discovered in a remote Scottish glen that the majesty and power of one of nature’s most successful predators is truly revealed. As it strikes silently from the shadows and on nights shrouded in darkness, a small village falls under siege to a remarkable creature. For thousands of years mankind has had the upper hand but now – suddenly, violently, bloodily – the balance of power has shifted.

When an isolated wildlife research centre launches an investigation, it is soon discovered that something out of place has made the Highlands its home and set its sights on the quiet village of Cannich. It will hunt, it will kill and it won’t let anything get in its way. Thomas Walker, a renowned wildlife specialist and former big game hunter, finds himself confronted with his past and an animal the likes of which he had never wanted to face again. As its devastating rampage goes unchecked and threatens his home, the woman he loves and his very way of life, an older and much more human adversary seeks him out. How long will any of them survive the presence of the beast in their shadow?

There are nearly 2,000 reported sightings of what have become known as mystery big cats across the UK every year. Some, such as the beasts of Bodmin and Dartmoor have become infamous. Their origin and identity remain unknown. Shadow Beast, the new chiller from Luke Phillips, offers a terrifying and deadly explanation.

"This was on par with Jurassic Park." Courtney L.

"This story has heart and soul in the midst of its rampaging terror." Bevi Debb

"His hero has the potential to be one of the most loved adventure icons, in the mould of Indiana Jones." A.K.S Ford
Chapter Twenty-Four 
The creature stopped and glanced behind it, again scenting the air and listening to the baying dogs as they began to close in. It stepped off the trail and began to loop back, stealthily moving through the dense gorse, box, and hawthorn bushes that kept it hidden. Each calculated step brought it back onto an intercept course with its pursuers. It found a hollow a few yards from where it planned to meet the path again and hunkered down into it. It hunched its shoulders ready for the spring and became still amongst the brush, as the mist swirling around it steadily thickened. 

The large black and tan coonhound galloped along the fresh trail it was now on, baying eagerly as the lurid scent filled its sensitive nostrils. It didn’t feel the impact of the unseen force that lifted it into the air, and barely had time to let out a yelp of pain as slicing teeth severed its spine and cut through its torso. The dog hung limp between the creature’s jaws. It enjoyed the taste of the flesh but let the canine fall to the floor in a bloody ruin. It trotted along the trail at a faster pace this time, skilfully gauging the approach of the second dog before it disappeared into the thick gorse and brush for a second time. 

Lobo trotted along the trail. No longer able to hear Boomer ahead, the big dog immediately became more cautious and let out a low, warning growl. At Boomer’s sudden silence the men had started calling to the dogs more earnestly, but they were too far behind now for their commands to be heard clearly. The bloodhound in Lobo made him follow any trail to the end determinedly, and the mastiff in him made that unfortunate for anything he found there. The brindle coloured dog came to a halt over the mangled remains of Boomer and let out a menacing growl. Lobo nosed the dead dog and barked a warning to the big cane corso that was approaching him from behind. Arturo came up alongside Lobo and nosed Boomer’s body. Working as one, both dogs wheeled around to face the gorse, entering the brush to flush out the animal whose spore lay so thickly upon the trail.

The Daughters of the Darkness (
Beast Series Book 2)
by Luke Phillips
June 26, 2017
"We often look to escape the everyday by seeking out the dark places, where something monstrous waits in the void. Luke Phillips takes you there, where man is still well and truly on the menu."


1898, East Africa. The Tsavo man-eaters kill 130 people over the course of nine months. The unusually large, pale-coloured, and maneless male lions mark history in what became known as their reign of terror.

Now, history is repeating itself. A new pride of killers has arrived in Tsavo, staking out their own bloody legacy. One that includes the murdered wife of conservationist and former hunter Thomas Walker.

Torn between the newfound happiness he has discovered in the Highlands of Scotland with his new fiancée, and his loyalty to the man whose brother has been taken by the man-eaters, Thomas must face his past and creatures feared as myth by his friend and the people of Kenya.

Arriving in Africa, Thomas finds the situation worsening as a local arms dealer and war lord declares the ‘critters of the bush’ are under his command to drive those not loyal to him from the land. With all not as it seems, the odds are stacked against Thomas and the small band of friends trying to restore balance to the region and its wildlife.

About the Author
Luke Phillips has always had an interest in natural history. Its hard to say when that interest began to include the myths and monsters that haunt our folklore, but it may well have been as a young boy, standing on the shores of Loch Ness.

From trekking through California looking for Bigfoot to camping out in the Highlands on the trail of real-life reported big cats, his imagination has always been captivated by the darker side of our unnatural history.

Despite studying zoology at university, Luke has strayed from the mainstream into the eerie world of cryptids and monsters. And the truth may well be stranger and far scarier than fiction!

His first book, Shadow Beast, was launched in 2015 and his second, The Daughters of the Darkness, was released in 2017.

He is based in Kent in the UK.

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