Marie J. Phillips

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

  • Author: Marie J. Phillips
  • Genre: Science fiction and fantasy
  • Books:
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Book I- On Matissia Wings
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Book II- Earth-bred, Matissia-born
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Furlitian Short tales.
    • Khan: A Maine Coon
    • Old Gent
    • The White Dragons of Suvwilur & Other Stories
  • Official Site

Bio

Born in 1957, in Huntington, on Long Island, I've been driven by an insatiable love of writing, art, and the sciences since very early childhood. My love of animal tales fueled my desire to write, always manifesting in stories from the non-human point of view. I invented my very first character at six years old, creating picture books with a tree as the main protagonist. I included, on the inside covers, my very own publishing logo, complete with rainbow and shining sun!

Back in my senior year of High School, one of my teachers lent me a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, which changed my reading and writing life forever, driving me into the unique and futuristic world of Fantasy/Science Fiction.

In college, I majored in Art and Earth Sciences, where inspiration fired my vivid and eccentric imagination, planting the seeds for my Furlites of Aroriel novels, Over the years, I honed the complex world of this alien family saga. My husband's love and support over the decades proved invaluable, since his scientific knowledge and expertise quickly surpassed my own, once we graduated high school, went off to college, and entered the working world. With his help, and that of my mentor, David Ayscue, who passed away in 2010, I completed the first two of these books, On Matissia Wings, and, Earth-bred Matissia-born, which are now available. A tale loosely connected to the first two,  CURSE OF KORIS,is the book featured here. Other tales are in the works, including the third book in the main series, called EYES IN THE DARK, and FURLITIAN SHORT TALES, a book of shorter tales featuring other characters in the books.

I dabbled with another tale many years ago, using my Khan as a character, when my big Maine Coon became seriously ill. While battling Khan's insidious disease, I completed the story, which took on deeper impact far beyond my intended feline fantasy yarn. KHAN: A Maine Coon is the result, a biography of his life, with fictional elements, written from his point of view. My special furbaby's bit of immortality has collected mostly five star reviews over the last few years.
THE WHITE DRAGONS OF SUVWILUR and OTHER STORIES, is a collection of fantasy /science fiction tales from the point of view of many characters, from an Appaloosa Pegasus, a white furry Dragon, and others, including a Collie /Human hybrid created by genetic manipulation by aggressive aliens.

In OLD GENT, I return to those very roots of my writing career, penning the true tale of our beloved ancient Norway Spruce tree and his sapling son, done from the trees' point of view, reminiscent in style to my KHAN: A MAINE COON, and, an older tale I read as a child called BIG TREE.

Owned by two cats, one of which is a Maine Coon cat, I live with my husband in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut.


Book Blurb for The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris

This is Kutius' story, a tale of infamy and rags, to riches, Furlitian Style. In this complimentary novel to THE FURLITES OF ARORIEL series, after his mother and grandmother have a nasty argument, young Kutius and his parents move to the small town of Gabbruss in the State of Burstal, a place very different from the open farmlands he grew up on. Upset and angry, the youngster hates his new hometown, longing for the happy home of his grandmother, filled with loving clan and domestic animals. Upon meeting new classmate in Fundamental school, Murkuria of Clan Darius, a feud explodes between them. It escalates over the years, until a fight between them causes Kutius’ expulsion from school. His mother blurts out the family secret, and Kutius blames Murkuria for his predicament. She becomes the bane of his existence, until she stows aboard her Clan’s starship, disappearing from his life.  He feels relieved, and life settles down until Kutius and his mother suffer the dire consequences of admitting the Clan secret. All descended from Koris the Tyrant must be sterilized, and Officers come to enforce that law at the worst time. His family loses their cozy home and end up living in a dirty old bunker converted to a house. Kutius puts full blame on Murkuria and hopes her clan’s ship wrecks out there and never comes home.
After graduating Preparatory school, Kutius, despite the bias against who he is, improves his life, leaving the musty home he abhorred. He finds peace in the city of Astrolis, until the Starship, thought lost, returns, carrying back into his life the girl he despises. His hatred rules him, and he connives to hurt her, her Clan, and the Felakoon abominations she created out between the stars and brought home.
At a large Hearing, where he accompanies the Governor of Burstal for whom he works, he tries to stop a Felakoon kit from bonding to the Governor, and Hellara reacts with fury, reminding the world who Kutius is, in front of the entire populace on worldwide video. Tossed of the grounds, he leaves the city, angry and hurt, but as he travels to escape his old life, a new one opens to him, and, despite the trials, proves to be full of extraordinary surprises. His only thought, when will that Darius girl drop in and ruin his life again?


Excerpt from The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris

He arrived home from school one stormy winter afternoon, happy with his day. Classes went well and nobody bothered him with taunts or laughter. Kutius entered the foyer, and wiped the snow off of his feet. He placed his school sack in the sack bin, then trotted into the Common Room. He found his mother sobbing. His father sat silent, a rare hard copy letter in his hand.
“What is going on?” Kuitus asked. His mother said nothing, but wept harder. His father slowly lifted his head.
“We cannot afford to pay what we owe on the house. The Clan we purchased it from is asking we sell to pay off the debt.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.
“We did not buy it outright?” Kutius asked.
“No, we had enough for half, and the Clan agreed to payments every cinth to pay off the rest as fast as we could. I cannot pay them what I promised. They do not trust us to come up with payments.”
“Surely they can understand?”
“They do, but are very distrustful after what has occurred. I cannot even meet a quarter of what is left,. They have every right to their credits.”
“But they let us pay over the last two years! What changed?”
“I paid them on time. Now I cannot, and because of what happened they want to cut all ties to us. If we owned outright, there would, be no issue, but we do not.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.      “ It will not leave us much, but we have no choice.”
“What choice?”
“To sell.” Wnferis answered. “And as quickly as possible.”
Kutius stood, in horror, as his father listed the house with the landbroker in Astrolis. To his utter dismay, the home sold for half its worth in less than a quat of the listing. Kutius’ stomach knotted.  He wished to eat nothing, and, by the lack of any evening meal preparations, neither did his parents. He sat in the Common Room, watching his father sift through listings. He glanced around at the familiar walls, and heaved a sigh.
“Father, why look? Why do we not ask Grandmother if we can return home?”
“Never!” Kutora suddenly snarled through her tears. “My mother hates me. I will never go back! Never.”
Kutius heard his father sigh again.
“Mother, you are not thinking clearly. Why can you and Grandmother not make amends so we can go home?”
“She is unreasonable! She does not understand me.” Kutora snapped back, then broke down into weeping.
Winferis slowly typed our short messages to Clan, asking for help. Nobody responded with a vidcall, but a few short clipped replies came back. Credits for the house sale entered the family vault.
“Well, the credits are in, for the house and from Clan who decided to help us.” Winferis said softly. “We have to find somewhere to go. My family will not help us get a place, but they did send us some credits. Yours did as well, Kutora. We have to be out by next cinthend.”
Kutius looked over his father’s shoulder at the screen, staring at the message history over the last few years as his father sifted through them. His father’s family, living in northern Cyal on the coast, shifted credits to his parents’ bankrupt account, but did not make any further contact. Clan from Port Gol, including Zalius, Zoptius and his other relatives sent very little.  Kutius knew they abhorred what his mother had done. Unlike most clan relationships, the bond between his parents did not bring the two clans as close as most. Once the truth filtered back to them, the Port Gol Clan Wylarius virtually disowned his parents, helping occasionally only out of Clan duty. His mother's Clan, despite their outrage, sent food and paid miscellaneous debts, but did no more than that. Nobody called on vid, nor sent messages, and nobody offered to take the in.
Kutius thought back to the wonderful holidays at Zoptius’ home, and back at his grandmother’s farm, and felt tears sting his eyes. How his fastidious, level-headed Grandmother birthed his lazy scatter-brained mother baffled him. Though of Koris’ line, Karetura never displayed his mother's pomposity and obnoxious conceit. It pained him to think this hurt his grandmother in any way, and he vowed, somehow, to make it all up to her someday.
“I found something,” Winferis announced, and Kutius scowled.
“Father, what is that? “ Kutius squinted at the photo of a small ramshackle building. The stonework looked terrible, with crumbling grout, mold and moss growing on the stone surface. Brush crowded the walls, and trees covered the roof with extensive boughs.
“Clan Karklinos is selling this place. It has been in their family for octuaries.”
“It is nothing but an ancient storage shed!” Kutius exclaimed.
“Yes, it dates back to the Great War. Karklinos’ Clan used it to store their weaponry that won that war there.” Winferis twitched his tail. “It has historic value. Maybe we can fix it up and sell it.”
“Maybe,” Kutius muttered, hatred knotting his stomach. Clan Darius ancestors also participated in the construction and use of that building. He shuddered. “I really wish we did not have to live there.”
“It is all we can afford now,” his father whispered. “I am sorry, Son.”
Moving day arrived all to swiftly. Kutius packed his travel sack with all his belongings, and silently left the little house. He glanced back once, gazing at the home through the gentle snowfall, then faced forward, recalling the storm-tossed day he left his grandmother’s farm. His throat constricted and tears filmed his eyes as he climbed into the old bronze shuttle. Silently his father drove to the center of town, and up the broad street past the Town Hall. He turned the shuttle into the long narrow shuttlepath to a overgrown parking area in front of their new residence. The grass stood an octafet tall, poking through the deep snow.
The cottage sat an octyle behind the Town Hall, merely a remodeled storage bunker. Kutius grumbled, climbing out of the shuttle, and shivered when he entered the building.  Stuffy and damp, the place screamed impoverishment. The Common Room and Dining area merged, creating one room. The kitchen, with its tiny window, looked and smelled like a swamp. Kutius walked up the hallway, his talons clicking on bare plain stone floor. He halted at the end of the hall and peered into the two sleeping rooms. He stepped inside the end room with its two windows, gaping at the old bed and lumpy worn out cushions, then faced backwards to gaze into the tiny room that served as a lavatory.
“Ughh!” he howled. “There is no bathing pool!”
“The lake is nearby,” his father mumbled. “We can make do.”
Winferis shuffled into the other sleeping room. Kutius stared aghast. Since the day he bathed to impress that female, Kutius abhorred getting dirty.  He stared, unable to believe this bad turn of life. The musty cottage revolted him, but he had not choice but to stay. The computer terminal in his room looked ancient, and he hoped it worked.  He counted quickly in his head, and decided to put every bit of energy into his studies for the next five years. He slowly put his sack down.
“Five years,” he muttered. “How will I stand it?”


Reviews

By Robynne Wildman (on Lulu.com)  8-Aug-2014
This was a wonderful story! I enjoyed this read and loved 'rereading' parts of the story from Kutius' point of view, while learning more about Aroriel and its inhabitants. My only complaint is that the book ended too soon. I still want more! Thanks.


Interview with Marie J. Phillips

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I started writing when I learned to hold and pencil. Drew out little picture stories. Then when I learned my alphabet and how to write, I wrote picture comic type tales about a tree. Then I graduated to writing dog stories and finally to science fiction and fantasy. When I’m not writing I play in the Model Horse hobby, horseback ride, garden, and indulge in photography.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.

his is actually my sixth book, which is tied to my science fiction trilogy which is The Furlites of Aroriel: Book-OnMatissai Wings, Book-II-Earthbred, Matissia Born and unfinished Book III-Eyes In The Dark.  Other books; KHAN: A MAINE COON,  OLD GENT, and The White Dragons of Suvwilur and other stories. Furlitian Short Tales is unfinished but almost ready.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is this book about?
Science fiction/fantasy and cat stories. This is a scifi novel involving a character from the trilogy, following his life from early childhood where a family spat forced him into poverty, and it follows his journey to find a way out. I describe it as a it rags to riches story Furlitian Style.

What inspired you to write this book?
Wrote this as a short story to include in the Furlitian Short Tales book, and it morphed into its own novel. 

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

That is a long weird tale that began in collage with Magritte’s painting of candle snakes on a beach. I drew a Candle Monster, which morphed over time into the current Furlite, (candle head on a furry body = Furlite-) which solidified in a Historical Geology class where I studied one of my early interests in life; dinosaurs. Now my new alien beings had a body type and then the world building began and progressed over several decades. They no longer have, ahem, candle heads.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I designed the entire thing. Took an old illustration from the short story and embellished it.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
That is a tough one since they’d have use a lot of CGI. But for voice for my main character, I suppose anyone with a strong deep male voice will do.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Most likely serial killers and criminals like that. I have no interest in figuring out how their mind works.

What book do you wish you could have written?
The Warriors series by Erin Hunter. I was writing books similar to that in my youth. They are right up my alley. (I admit writing fan fiction for these books!)

What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar?
There isn’t any that are like them. The closest is perhaps the Quintaglo Ascension trilogy by Robert Sawyer.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Absolutely-since as far back as my long memory stretches.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Never give up. Don’t let the rejections get you down. Go Independent if you can.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I do read them, but I don’t respond to them. I can’t please every reader, and since I do write to a specific niche, I don’t expect all reviews to be five star, though with Khan: A Maine Coon it is close; 33 five star and 2 four star. I hope this book can do as well, and perhaps help entice people to read the other books in this series. As far as advice, you have to develop a thick skin and not let the bad reviews bother you.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

Promotion! I am terrible at it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Not really since I was under two when I learned to hold a pencil and scribble out stories in picture form. I never remember a time when I did not write. For me, it comes from deep within.

Do you have a pet or pets?

Yes. Two cats. One is a blue smoke Maine Coon kitten named Darwin, and he is the 6th Maine Coon in my life. He follows in the pawprints of big red tabby Kai who was a huge 25 pound individual. I just LOVE Maine Coon cats!

8. What is your biggest fear?

Going blind.

If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?

To Fly like a dragon!

Do you recall your dreams? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Yes. They are in vivid color and my favs are the ones in which I have wings and can fly! I often have reoccurring dreams about having to move or losing a loved one or trying to find someone or something. True nightmares are rare. Oddly enough I never get ideas from dreams. They all come from my waking mind.