Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Simon Oneill Sighting

Here's an interview with my friend Simon Oneill, author of the Phantom Bigfoot Series, a paranormal fantasy series. Simon hales from Wales, the birth place of Dylan Thomas, Ken Follett and Gwyneth Lewis among many others.

When did the writing bug bite you? 

About 2000 my wife and I started writing screenplays. From there a film company asked us to create a paranormal TV show. Nothing happened but we were stuck with 22 paranormal episodes. So we are now converting them to novels. 

When did you take the step to serious publishing?

 2013 was when Phantom Bigfoot was born and from then joined Author's Social Media Support Group (#ASMSG) those guys are so awesome and they taught me how to self-publish. Haven’t looked back since.

Where did the title Phantom Bigfoot come from?

Where dreams are made, I guess. Just seemed the right phrase for a teenager altered by aliens to protect Bigfoot from hunters.

What is the plot of the book?

The Phantom Bigfoot Series follows teen superhero Duane as he strives to make a tribe of Bigfoot invisible to hunters and searchers and along the way he has crazy adventures and solves mysteries in the most ludicrous way possible. 

What was the inspiration for the plot?

My own skewed sense of humor and films like "Harry and the Hendersons".

When I was growing up in the 70s, I loved reading about creatures like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, etc. Does Wales have any Bigfoot-like legends?

They do now, Phantom Bigfoot was spotted shopping in a local supermarket, but it was only me, LOL. There have been news clips of wild men living on Brecon Beacons, a vast wilderness where SAS train. 

The famous still of a "Bigfoot"
Any special research into Bigfoot or similar legends?

I watched the usual news feeds on the Internet which never revealed more than a blurry image. The rest I invented as I went along.

What is your writing process like? Do you have a set pattern or ritual or do you write when the inspiration hits you? Any music that puts you in the mood?

I write when I can, not easy though as my time is gobbled up by looking after sick parents. The song that inspires Phantom Bigfoot is "These Bigfoot are made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra. She follows me as she is an avid animal rights activist too. Thirty percent of all sales of Bigfoot books go to Cats Protection.

What do you do to market your books?

Muddle through Facebook, Twitter, join groups and event takeovers, make fans, but it isn’t easy getting my name out there.

Any public appearances?

I have had a few book signings, but it is so expensive to organize.

Do you enjoy the marketing process?

Not much, I’d rather be writing. If marketing actually worked then I would put more effort into it.

What do you like about writing and what do you dislike about it?

I love entering a special world of my own creation and for Phantom Bigfoot that’s the wild forest full of beautiful creatures who depend in him. Editing can be frustrating but is a necessary step to releasing a good book.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What is it about their writing that grabs you? Has any influenced your style of writing?

Stephen King and Graham Masterton are the two authors who have strongly influenced me. I often have a chat with Graham, wish I could say the same for Stephen. I live in the hope he might friend me one day, LOL. King has a way of drawing the reader into his terrifying world and loving every second of it. Masterton does the opposite, he makes the reader squirm and suffer every gory page. Love it!

How about television shows or movies? Do you have any particular favorites? 

Well, for TV I like "Dexter," "Walking Dead," "Poldark," "True Blood," "Star Trek," "DS9," "Star Gate: SG1." Among my favorite movies are "Some Like It Hot," "Butch and Sundance," "The Wild Bunch," "Jaws," "The Big Lebowski."

Are your books self published and if so, what are your thoughts on self publishing?

All selfies and self-publishing is so liberating as you can release your novel whenever not like with traditional publishers who might take at least two years to get your book out and by then it will not resemble your novel anyway.

Have you ever written anything that you might not have picked up during writing but after reading through it kind of surprised you? Perhaps a context that you didn’t expect?

I often reread during my wife’s editing process and say, “Did I actually write that? I can’t remember?”

Does anyone else in your family enjoy writing? 

My wife writes with me and edits all my work.

What advice would you give someone just starting out about the business of writing?

Don’t wait to get an agent or trad publishing, if the novel has been edited then get it out there and make sure you have a good following on Twitter and Facebook first.

Can you imagine your books being turned into a movie or perhaps a TV show?

No need to, my novel Flip Side about a gangster haunted by his father is in the hands of Hollywood and Magic Is Murder my horror comedy about witches and ghosts will be filmed next year. And it has an awesome link to TV series "Dexter."

Would you ever write outside the fantasy/horror genre? Perhaps even do nonfiction? 

Can’t see me doing that, but stranger things have happened.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Hot In Bigelow; Sizzling will be released Nov. 7 and is my alien erotica version of Start Trek meets Some Like It Hot with an overload of Viagra.

What do you think you’d do if you ever actually came across a Bigfoot, phantom or otherwise?

Have a few beers with him.

Where can we find your work and more information about you?

Thanks for stopping by, Simon. Say hello to the big guy for us. 

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