Saturday, 21 June 2014

Author Interview: James Phelan

James Phelan has written Chasers, Survivor & Quarantine.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
James Phelan.  Melbourne, Australia.

2. Do you have a pen name?
No.  Probably would have been a good move though in terms of keeping stalkers away.

3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
In the US, my latest publication is ALONE: SURVIVOR.  It's the 2nd novel in the ALONE trilogy, and follows our 16 year old protagonist, Jesse, as he tries to survive in a post-apocalyptic NYC.  It's awesome.  So's the first book, CHASERS.

4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes and yes.  So far I have: the Lachlan Fox thriller series (5 novels), and the ALONE trilogy published.  Later this year I have my 6th thriller published, titled THE SPY (Hachette) and a new YA series titled THE FINAL THIRTEEN (Scholastic). The later is 13 novels published over 16 months.

5. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I've been writing full time since my first novel came out in 2006.  I was 25.  So it's 8 years now... feels like a lifetime!

6. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
I do get a few requests via my website but I forward those to my publicists at my various internal publishers.  When I get re-prints of my novels, I give them out to schools when I give talks.

7. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
My publishers handle all that, and most of them are inclusive in the design process, sending me different ideas and then we all talk about what we like and what works, and make a bit of a Frankenstein's monster out of all the best parts.

8. Which is your favourite cover of all the books you have written?
It's probably a tie between these two (RED ICE, Australian cover) and (ALONE: SURVIVOR UK cover):

9. Is there anything you would change about your book covers?
Yes - most things!  I started out at university studying architecture, as that's what most of my family does, and I've been around design my whole life.  I think the above two covers come closest to capturing the spirit of those novels though.  And that said, my Russian publishers always seem to make cool, quirky covers.

10. Do you have a playlist in mind for any of your books?  &
11. Did you listen to any particular songs whilst writing your books?

I ALWAYS write to music, as it gets me in the right mood.  For each novel I make an iTunes playlist.  For my ALONE trilogy, I kept adding and subtracting songs over the space of a couple years of writing/editing/touring.  Here it is my ALONE playlist, in no particular order (warning: it's long...):

Box of Cedar - Marissa Nadler             
Wedding - Marissa Nadler        
Archangel - Chet Faker     
There Is Love - Fort Atlantic     
Even though I'm a Woman (studio version) - Seeker Lover Keeper            
One Day - Asaf Avidan feat. The Mojos    
Snakadaktal - Air
No Diggity - Chet Faker             
Andalusia - Hammock    
No Church In The Wild - Kanye West feat Jay-Z    
Video Games -Lana Del Rey
Born To Die (Live at Poolside at Chateau Marmont) - Lana Del Rey    
The King of Limbs (Full Album) - Radiohead
Only Girl (In The World) - Rihanna    
Knocked Up (Remix) - Kings Of Leon & Lykke Li    
The High Road - Broken Bells        
Audience - Cold War Kids    
Extreme Ways - Moby    
One of These Mornings - Moby/Patti LaBelle
Run (Radio 1 Live Lounge Snow Patrol Cover) - Leona Lewis    
The Planets Bend Between Us - Snow Patrol    
Fuck You Very Much - Lily Allen    
The Fear - Lily Allen    
Take Back The City - Snow Patrol    
Breaking the Girl - Red Hot Chili Peppers    
Road Trippin' - Red Hot Chili Peppers    
Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers    
Knock 'Em Out - Lily Allen    
Don't Give Up - Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush    
The Book of Love - Peter Gabriel    
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel    
Your Body Is a Wonderland  - John Mayer
Heartbreak Warfare - John Mayer    
Gravity - John Mayer    
Love Is Noise - The Verve    
Jay-Z ft. The Verve - Dirt Off Your Shoulders & Bittersweet Symphony Remix    
3 Words - Cheryl Cole    
I Got a Feeling - Black Eyed Peas    
Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers    
Light of Day - Tommy Stinson    
Starry Eyed Surprise - Paul Oakenfold    
Rocket Man - My Morning Jacket    
Empire State Of Mind (Part II) Broken Down - Alicia Keys    
Beautiful Liar - Beyonce    
Bad Romance - Lady GaGa    
You'll never walk alone - Elvis Presley    
Africa - Toto    
Now We Are Free - Enya    
Theme from Harry's Game - Enya and Clannad    
All I Need - Air    
Breathe Me - Sia    
Day Too Soon - Sia    
Paparazzi - Lady GaGa    
Cry Me A River - Michael Buble    
We Are The People - Empire Of The Sun    
Walking On A Dream - Empire Of The Sun    
Heartbeats - Jose González    
Judas - The Verve
How To Save A Life - The Fray    
Placebo - Running up that Hill    
Placebo - The Last Day On Earth    
Kate Miller - Heidke    
The Drugs Don't Work - The Verve    
Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová    
Pruit Igoe & Prophecies - The Philip Glass Ensemble    
You're My Thrill - Billie Holiday    
Simon and Garfunkel - The Sounds of Silence    
Times They Are a Changing - Bob Dylan    
99 Luft Balloons - Nena    
Heal the World - Michael Jackson    
Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson    
You'll Find A Way (Switch & Graeme Sinden Remix) - Santogold
Lucky Man - The Verve    
Million Faces - Paolo Nutini    
Rewind - Paolo Nutini    
Jenny Don't Be Hasty - Paolo Nutini        
Loving You - Paolo Nutini    
High Hopes - Paolo Nutini    
Last Request - Paolo Nutini    
Keep Rolling    Paolo Nutini    
Halo - Beyonce    
Take A Bow - Muse    
Take a Look at Me Now - Phil Collins    
My Iron Lung - Radiohead    
Sulk - Radiohead    
The Bends - Radiohead    
Tear Drop - Massive Attack    
Another way to die - Alicia Keys
Jack white - Revelry    
Kings of Leon - Arizona    
Kings of Leon - Be Somebody    
Kings of Leon - Ragoo    
Kings of Leon - Fans   
Jay-Z Feat. Mary J. Blige - You're All Welcome        
The Bounce - Jay-Z ft. Kanye West    
Jockin' Jay Z - Jay-Z
Money, Cash, Hoes - Jay Z    
I Know - Jay Z    
Mavado feat Jay Z - I'm On The Rock(Remix)        
Four Minutes - Madonna Ft Justin Timberlake    
Pussycat Dolls feat. Timbaland - Wait a Minute        
King of the Rodeo - Kings of Leon    
Storm - Cut Chemist Feat. Edan & Mr. Lif    
Promiscuous Girl - Nelly Furtado ft. Timbaland    
All I Wanna Do Is 'Bang Bang' And Take Your Moneys - MIA    
Let The Drummer Kick - Citizen Cope    
The Garden - Cut Chemist    
Come Around - Mia (feat. Timbaland)    
Fall Out Boy - This Aint A Scene, Its An Arms Race    
Good Life (ft. T-Pain) CLEAN - Kanye West    
T.I feat. Kanye West, Jay-Z & Lil Wayne - Swagga Like Us    
sinnerman (felix da housecat mix) - Nina Simone    
Passing The Hat - Cold War Kids    
Que Onda Guero - Beck    
I Want You - Kings of Leon    
On Call - Kings of Leon    
Use Somebody - Kings Of Leon    
Sex On Fire - Kings of Leon    
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz    
Mr. Pitiful - Matt Costa
Electric Feel - MGMT
Best Friends - Amy Winehouse    
Superstition - Stevie Wonder    
Rehab (Remix) - Amy Winehouse Feat. Jay Z     
chocolate - Snow Patrol    
Signal Fire - Snow Patrol    
Blackout - Muse    
Time is Running Out - Muse    
The Tourist - Radiohead    
Subterranean Homesick Alien - Radiohead    
Ideoteque - Radiohead    
Ive Seen it All - Radiohead    
Bangers N' Mash - Radiohead    
Climbing Up The Walls - Radiohead    
Down is the New Up - Radiohead    
Radiohead & Portishead - Blow Out    
Radiohead - Bodysnatchers    
Radiohead - Fog    
Radiohead - How to Disappear Completely    
Radiohead - Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong    
Radiohead - Street Spirit    
Radiohead - Up On The Ladder    
Radiohead - Electioneering    
Radiohead - Planet Telex    
Radiohead - 4 Minute Warning    
Radiohead - Be Quiet and Drive (Acoustic) (Deftones Cover)    
Radiohead - Talk show host    
Radiohead - Last Flowers    
Radiohead - Airbag    
Radiohead - Karma Police    
Radiohead - Exit Music (For A Film)    
Radiohead - The Gloaming    
Radiohead - Optimistic     
Radiohead - The Trickster    
Radiohead - Creep (acoustic)    
Radiohead - Morning Bell    
Radiohead - Videotape    
Radiohead - Reckoner    
Radiohead - 15 Step    
Radiohead - Pearly    
Radiohead - In My Mind (rare acoustic)    
Radiohead - The drugs don't work     
Radiohead - Pyramid Song    
Radiohead - Knives Out    
Radiohead - Weird Fishes/Arpeggi    
Radiohead - Lucky     
Radiohead - Go Slowly    
Radiohead - Faust Arp    
Radiohead - Clair de lune    
Debussy - Wish You Well    
Bernard Fanning - Watch Over Me    
Bernard Fanning - Songbird    
Bernard Fanning - Everything In Its Right Place    
Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees    
Radiohead - Nude    
Radiohead - Jigsaw Falling Into Place    
Radiohead - True Love Waits   
Rihanna - Umbrella ft. Jay-Z        
Roc Boys (And The Winner Is) - Jay Z    
Dream catch me - Newton Faulkner    
No Suprises - Marissa Nadler
No Surprises - Radiohead    
Just (You Do It To Yourself) - Radiohead
House Of Cards - Radiohead
Rabbit in Your Headlights - Radiohead    
Radiohead - Wonderwall (Acoustic)    
Nice Dream - Radiohead    
Let Down - Radiohead    
Inside My Head - Radiohead    
There There - Radiohead    
High and Dry - Radiohead    
Karma Police - Radiohead
Paranoid Android - Radiohead    
All I Need - Radiohead    
Creep - Radiohead
Creep (Radiohead Cover) - Damien Rice
Norah Jones - Time After Time (Acoustic)    
blackbird - Sarah McLachlan    
Beware Of The Boys (ft. Punjabi MC) - Jay-Z    
Norah Jones - Somewhere Over The Rainbow   
Guaranteed - Eddie Vedder
Indian Night Rider - Jay Z ft. Punjabi MC    
Three Hours - Nick Drake
Chateau - Rob Dougan    
I'm Not Driving Anymore - Rob Dougan    
Rob Dougan - Clubbed To Death   
I Don't Like Mondays - Tori Amos    
Requiem for a Dream (Orchestral Version) - Clint Mansell    
Release The Pressure - Leftfield
Moments In Love - The Art Of Noise    
Mother Natures Spies - Fila Brazillia    
Ruhe - Schiller    
Waltz For Koop - Koop    
Turtle (Bonobo Mix) - Pilote    
Homelands - Nitin Sawhney    
Signs - Badmarsh & Shri    
Exploration - The Karminsky Experience Inc.    
Lebanese Blonde [Instrumental Version] - Thievery Corporation    
Bohemian Sunset - Jazzanova    
In The Waiting Line - Zero 7    
Sparks - Röyksopp    
Queremos Paz - Gotan Project    
My Culture - 1 Giant Leap Feat. Robbie Williams & Maxi Jazz    
We Are All Made Of Stars - Moby    
From The Sea - Eskimo Joe
New York - Eskimo Joe    
Hanging on a Star - Nick Drake
Things Behind The Sun - Nick Drake    
Road - Nick Drake
Been Smoking Too Long - Nick Drake    
Nick Drake - Cello Song    
Nick Drake - Way Too Blue   
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright - Nick Drake    
Saturday Sun - Nick Drake
time has told me - Nick Drake
Pink Moon - Nick Drake    
Nick Drake - Cocaine Blues    
One Of These Things First - Nick Drake    
Northern Sky - Nick Drake    
Which Will - Nick Drake    
Time Of No Reply - Nick Drake    
From the Morning - Nick Drake    
Milk And Honey - Nick Drake    
Fly - Nick Drake    
Black Eyed Dog - Nick Drake
You're The World To Me - David Gray
It's not easy being me -David Gray    
2005 The Ultimate Rap and Hip Hop Remix of All Remixes (Old School, New School, Eminem, Tupac, Method Man, Nas, Jay Z, Big P        
Mad World - Gary Jules
Verdi: Nabucco - Va, Pensiero  - Vienna State Opera Chorus    
The Day You Come - Powderfinger    
Who Knew - Pink    
Nobody Sees - Powderfinger    
Lisa Gerrard - Man on Fire Soundtracks End Theme - Harry Gregson-Williams    
One - U2
Shadow Of The Day - Linkin Park
Till I Collapse - Eminem    
Dead Melodies - Beck
Tropicalia - Beck    
We Live Again - Beck    
Lazy Flies - Beck    
Nobody's Fault But My Own - Beck    
Cold Brains - Beck     
In The House - In A Heartbeat 
John Murphy - Everybody hurts  
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley    
Points of Authority/99 Problems/One Step Closer - Linkin Park & Jay-Z    
Izzo/In the End - Linkin Park & Jay-Z    
Numb/Encore - Linkin Park & Jay-Z    
Jigga What/Faint - Linkin Park & Jay-Z    
Big Pimpin'/Papercut - Linkin Park & Jay-Z
Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Lying From You - Linkin Park & Jay-Z    
Run - Snow Patrol    
Kanye West - Home (feat. Jay-Z)  
The Game - 300 Bars (Full)(Dissin G. Unit, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Tony Yayo, Olivia, Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, DJ Whoo Kid, Joe Budden, Ja Rule, Benzino)        
Aint No Love - Jay Z    
Numb Encore (Remix) f Jay-Z, Eminem, 50 Cent & Linkin Park    2 Pac - Eminem - Shyne - Camron - Aaliyah -Timbaland - Big Pun - 504 Boys - Bone Thugs - D12 - Lil Zane - 112 - Mya - Jay-Z - Britney Spears - Nas44    
Love Stoned I Think She Knows - Justin Timberlake    
Straight Lines - Silverchair    
Gloomy Sunday - Heather Nova
My Immortal - Evanescence    
With My Own Two Hands - Ben Harper    
Knives Out - Waajeed feat. Monica Blaire    
Airbag - RJD2    
In Limbo - Sa-Ra feat. The Sa-Ra All Stars    
Morning Bell - The Randy Watson Experience Feat: Donn    
No Surprises - Shawn Lee    
Paranoid Android - Sia Furler    
Everything In Its Right Place - Osunlade Feat. Erro    
High & Dry - Pete Kuzma Feat Bilal    
The National Anthem - Meshell NDegeocello & Chris Dave    
Nice Dream - Matthew Herbert Feat: Mara Carlyle    
Blow Out - Lo Freq    
Exit Music (For a Film) - The Cinematic Orchestra    
Just - Mark Ronson Feat. Alex Greenwald    
Karma Police - The Bad Plus    
One Crowded Hour - Augie March    
Night Drive - Gotye    
Heart's A Mess - Gotye
Like Drawing Blood - Gotye    
Numb & Encore Remix - jay z
'Anchor Song' (Black Dog Mix) - Björk
Sunrise (DJ Thunda & K-20 Allstars Remix) - Afterlife    
See The Sun - Pete Murray    
Better Days - Pete Murray    
Forever Young - Youth Group    
So Beautiful - Pete Murray    
Foolish Games - Jewel
Bittersweet Symphany - The Verve    
Pure Morning - Placebo    
Every you every me - Placebo
Home - Zero 7
Grace - U2    
Peace On Earth - U2    
Any Other Name - Thomas Newman    
'Rock The Casbah' (Smith & Mighty Steppers Mix) - Tica    
Human Nature - Sovidz Fresh    
Apache - Scripture
Breathe Me (Four Tet Remix) - Sia Furler
"Ysaebud' - The Sabres Of Paradise    
'Dnipro' - Red Snapper    
'Warrior Sound' (Adam Freeland Mix) - Pressure Drop    
'Make It Happen' (7" Radio Edit) - Playgroup
The Metre - Powderfinger    
My Happiness - Powderfinger    
These Days - Powderfinger    
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones    
Into My Arms - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds    
Porcelain - Moby    
Home - Michael Buble    
100 Billion Stars - Lux    
Gabriel - Lamb
Hallelujah - k.d. lang    
Fell In Love With A Boy - Joss Stone    
Flight Over Africa - John Barry    
Main Title (I Had A Farm In Africa) - John Barry    
Beau Mot Plage - Iso Lee    
Corner Of The Earth - Jamiroquai    
Never Know - Jack Johnson    
Taylor - Jack Johnson    
'Black Sheep' - Groove Armada
But I Feel Good - Groove Armada    
Serve Chilled - Groove Armada    
'Samba' (Roger Sanchez's S-Man Dark Star Mix) - Faze Action    
The Memory Of Trees - Enya    
Cafe' De Flore - Doctor Rockit    
Dance Like The Old Days - Dino    
Pina Colada (Jazz Mix) - Digby Jones
'Jackson Johnson' - David Holmes    
Please Forgive Me - David Gray    
This Years Love - David Gray    
White Ladder - David Gray    
Future - Cut Copy    
Fall At Your Feet - Crowded House    
Fix You - Coldplay    
The Scientist - Coldplay    
'They Shoot People, Don't They' - Coldcut    
Elephant - Damien Rice    
9 Crimes - Damien Rice    

12. Would you have different book covers for different countries?

13. How did you come up with the title for your book?
Usually it's just me, sometimes it's my publishing team as well. With ALONE, I wanted the three books titles ALONE 1, ALONE 2 etc.  My agents and publishers wanted separate titles, with ALONE being the series title, as they had all just had big success doing that for their TWILIGHT series.

14. Is there anything you would change about your book? And why?
I believe that novels are a product of the time and place that they were written in; if I re-wrote any of them today, I'd change everything.

15. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
Not sure... my publishers might.  I don't know much about them, but they seem pretty lame.  I just write stories.

16. Do you have a “Dreamcast” in mind for any of your books?
Heath Ledger :-(

17. What is your opinion of ARCs?
Brilliant.  Just last week in Australia Scholastic printed 7,500 of my new YA as ARC's to send out to all the librarians and key accounts, for a novel that comes out in Sept.  I suppose in the UK my publishers would print 3 times that many, and in the US, maybe 15 times (based on the difference in populations), so in my mind they are a great way to get good word-of-mouth buzz happening for when the book is finally edited and comes out.

18. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?

19. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
Nope.  Though I wish I had their royalty rates instead of my 10% !!

20. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
Many books, some of them my favs, some for my MA and PhD in Lit.
For my ALONE trilogy I re-read all my fav YA titles that I wanted to capture the essence of: THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, LIFE OF PI, ENDER'S GAME, SIDDHARTHA, and THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL.

21. Have you ever bought a specific edition of a book because of it’s cover? (For example a UK, US or Canadian version)
Yes, the pale yellow covered edition of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE.

22. What is your opinion of novellas?
They're brilliant.  So are short stories.  My opinion is that the shorter a piece of fiction, the harder it is to write.

23. Have you ever read a book just based on it’s cover?

24. Has the quality of the cover of a book ever put you off of reading it?
Not sure.

25. What is your favourite film based on a book?

26. If you could invite any four celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Hemingway, Harold Bloom, Cormac McCarthy, Tina Fey, Monica Bellucci, Christopher Hitchens, Natalie Portman.  They all know why.

27. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Write every day. Write fast and edit slow. Read.

28. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?
Piano. Cooking. Going to the opera. Travel.

29. Where can your readers follow you?


Goodreads author page:



Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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