In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Alice M. Phillips
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Alice! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello! I’m an art historian, museum curator, Irish fiddle musician and step-dancer, and facsimile creator of rare historical medical books.
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
The journey began with ideas jotted down in a notebook while I was studying art history in Paris. Eventually the notes became an outline for my novel’s plot, which became quite intricate in terms of linking biblical and mythological themes for each chapter. After massive amounts of editing, I began sending out my manuscript and was fortunate to have it quickly accepted by Black Rose Writing, an independent publisher.
The final editing, cover design, and countdown to publication was an exciting phase.
My favorite parts of writing fiction are creating characters, experimenting with words and storytelling, conducting historical research, and feeling pride in the finished product. The most challenging experience was making all the puzzle pieces of the plot fit together, especially since my novel has a specific timeline and swift pace that takes place within a few days.
Also, as an introvert, I find self-promotion a difficult part of being a writer!
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
The Eighth Day Brotherhood is a historical thriller about an occult scholar, an aspiring artist, and an Irish immigrant who investigate a series of mythology-themed murders in late 19th-century Paris, a decadent time for art and literature. The novel revolves around three main characters: Rémy Sauvage, an occult scholar who owns a bookshop in the Latin Quarter, becomes driven to avenge his murdered lover by apprehending the cult known as the Eighth Day Brotherhood. Claude Fournel is a quiet aspiring artist who becomes enamored with a mesmerist’s beautiful patient after witnessing a hysteria demonstration at a nearby sanitarium. Margaret “Finn” Finnegan, an Irish immigrant unwillingly confined to the sanitarium, is renowned in the medical community as Dr. Veyssière’s star patient.
The novel is inspired by my doctoral dissertation research in Art History, which focused on nineteenth-century French Symbolist painting and the interactions between art and psychology during this era. I lived in Paris for a semester researching the Symbolist painters (mainly Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon), Victor Hugo’s spiritualist séances, and medical history related to mesmerism, hypnosis, and occult beliefs. I took every opportunity to explore the city and its monuments and attempt to discover its secrets. I also drew upon my Irish heritage to develop Finn’s character, and my love of mythology to imagine the murder scenes. I think your fans who enjoy historical fiction with gothic, thriller, and horror elements will find this a fast read with compelling characters, and become immersed in the darker side of 19th-century Paris.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books to you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I love historical fiction, fantasy, and magic realism. My favorite books are the classics, though: Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
What is your current obsession? Any secret obsessions you would like to share?
Besides my fascination with 19th-century Paris, I am obsessed with Irish art, music, dance, and history. I have a secret dream of being a fiddle player in a traditional Celtic band one day.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t?
What are your future project(s)?
I’ve started drafting two books: a sequel to The Eighth Day Brotherhood, set in Paris, 1899, and a book of fantastical short stories related to my work as an art historian and curator.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
Keep writing and finish your projects, but don’t force it or burn yourself out. Find a good editor, or multiple editors. My novel went through at least five drafts before I submitted the final manuscript to a publisher. When I experience writer’s block, I brainstorm with mind maps and outlines, or I just start writing and see what happens!
That’s great advice, Alice. Thank you for being In the Spotlight this week. I look forward to your “Brotherhood” sequel as I enjoyed the first book quite a bit. Good luck in all your future endeavors and see you at ICON in September!
The Eighth Day BrotherhoodAuthor: Alice M. Phillips
Published on: August 11, 2016
Genres: historical fiction, mystery, adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Up
Synopsis: In Paris, 1888, the city prepares for the Exposition Universelle and the new Eiffel Tower swiftly rises on the bank of the Seine. One August morning, the sunrise reveals the embellished corpse of a young man suspended between the columns of the PanthEon, resembling a grotesque Icarus and marking the first in a macabre series of murders linked to Paris monuments. In the Latin Quarter, occult scholar REmy Sauvage is informed of his lover’s gruesome death and embarks upon his own investigation to avenge him by apprehending the cult known as the Eighth Day Brotherhood. At a nearby sanitarium, aspiring artist Claude Fournel becomes enamored with a mesmerist’s beautiful patient, Irish immigrant Margaret Finnegan. Resolved to steal her away from the asylum and obtain her for his muse, Claude only finds them both entwined in the Brotherhood’s apocalyptic plot combining magic, mythology, and murder.