[Big Dog has done several radio interviews promoting his books. This is a transcript of one of them, made in 2009. [can listen to it here]. I've tried to transcribe it as accurately as I possibly can, including all of the “uhs,” “ums,” and “you knows” as I could to make the reading experience almost as painful as the listening experience. If someone would like to spork this, feel free to use my transcript.]
Male Interviewer: Good morning. It's 10:40 and 13 degrees. Joined now by author Phillip Jones, author of The Worlds of The Crystal Moon series. Phillip, how you doing today?
Big Dog: Pretty good, can't complain. It's cold out here in Utah.
Male Interviewer: Yeah, it's a little chilly here, but we're used to it around here. You've got two different books in the Worlds of the Crystal Moon. The first one, City of Grayham, and the Magic of uh, how do you pronounce? Loo-vees?
Big Dog: Uh, Loo-vell-es.
Male Interviewer: Loo-vell-es. Okay. Now, these are fantasy series books?
Big Dog: Yes, they are. It's uh, it's quite an adventure. It's gonna be a total of six books by the time it's done.
Male Interviewer: Now how did this come to you? Because it sounds like there's a pretty interesting story behind this.
Big Dog: Well, you know, when uh, you know, I've taken a road that's not taken by most authors. you know, all of us have dreams, and all of us have, you know, our stories that we think we have inside of us, but when I woke up on October 16th, 2007, I had—I woke up from one of the worst nightmares I've ever had, sat up in my bed, had no idea where I was at, my body was covered in sweat. So I felt compelled just to sit down and get it out of me, and I did, so the first uh, 39 hours I wrote straight and uh, the first 80 pages of the book just poured right out of me.
Male Interviewer: Those were the memories of the dream that you had?
Big Dog: Oh, yeah, they were extremely vivid. Um, the-- the dream was hardcore. It was crazy.
Male Interviewer: Wow. And they were detailed, too.
Big Dog: Oh, extremely detailed, I mean, the—the idea, I mean—you know a lot of us, you know, know fantasy, there's a lot of themes in fantasy that are familiar, but, you know, very seldom do you have, you know, a dream where you actually are sitting on the griffin's back, and you fall off, you know, the cliff from the highest of heights, and the wind rushes through your hair and all that stuff—it's really fun and was intense, but also there was a lot of scary moments in that dream as well.
Male Interviewer: Well, it sounds like it. I mean, if you fall off, don't you automatically wake up, isn't that how it usually goes?
Big Dog: Well, I suppose if you're about to hit the bottom, that's supposed to be how it goes, but I guess lucky for me the griffin leveled off, huh?
Male Interviewer: Yeah, I guess so, that was nice that that happened.
Big Dog: ((laughs))
Male Interviewer: What--what do you think triggered these dreams? Have you ever thought about that?
Big Dog: You know, I just tell myself I'm delightfully messed up, it's okay. But, uh, you know what's crazy about it is, you know the dream, you know, started a journey for me, and, you know, when I sat down and write, I was under no illusion that I was some kind of a great author, I—in fact, my training and my education was in business and marketing. I didn't have a formal writing education at all, so—as I--as I began to—to put the--the pen to paper, as it—or the fingers to the keyboard, so to speak, I knew that I had to come up with a plan, so I uh, decided to create a marketing company, a publishing company, and do something so far outlandish that uh, it--it was just different, and I printed the raw, unedited manuscripts of the novel and I sold them through stores and uh we're approaching over 20,000 copies sold, and, the fans—I asked them, I gave everybody my email and my phone number and I said “Hey, I want you guys to be my co-authors. Let's have fun. Let's beat up on me, let's have a good time and write a story.” So I allowed the fans in on it and so the--the series itself is so popular because of that and the fans are really really loyal. So it's—it's been adven—it's been a journey.
Male Interviewer: Uh, did they, uh did they give you a lot of good suggestions?
Big Dog: You know, some of the people that, uh, you know, appreciate something new, and, and they gi--, they called and they gave great feedback, and—you know, even a lot of the people that had attitude and called and thought they were gonna just bash on me for fun, you know, I actually learned something from them, too, but, you know, just like all journeys, you know, you’ve got the person that doesn't get it, and, you know, they just have to be themselves, and mean, and everything else, but. . .
Male Interviewer: Was it a learning process in that you're not going to give out your phone number or email address anymore?
Big Dog: Oh, no, it's quite the opposite, quite the opposite.
Male Interviewer: You're more than willing to get it, good and bad suggestions?
Big Dog: Totally, I mean—you know, in this life, if you're not humble, who are you? You know what I mean?
Male Interviewer: Right.
Big Dog: I mean, someone that runs around and thinks they're all that, that, to me, that to me is not an artist who wants to learn. That is—that, to me, is just somebody who is, you know, they haven't—they weren't raised right, you know?
Male Interviewer: H-How do you know which, uh, which suggestions to use and uh, what direction to go with the novel in--in taking suggestions and using your own input at same time?
Big Dog: You know I have people that are in my life, uh, there's about twelve different people that I've run suggestions across and, you know, as a group, you know, we brainstorm this and we think about it and we're like “Okay, let's go ahead and implement this,” and, uh, the-- the series, uh, for example, Mienous, the Goddess of Hate. She has a heel-stomp whenever she dislikes something and, you know, that heel-stomp actually came from a little girl out of uh Kansas City.
Male Interviewer: Really, the, the--
Big Dog: Yeah, and one of the characters in the book, the Ultorians in book 2, um, that whole race of beings came from a 60 year old woman—60 year old woman in Colorado.
Male Interviewer: Wow. . .
Big Dog: So it's, it's a lot of fun, you know, and, you know it's kind of unique because I left the book intentionally unedited because, you know, we're working toward getting to that final edition, and uh the fans have, you know, edition 1, edition 2, and edition 3, and the screenplays for the—for we're trying to get the, uh, the movie process together, and there's gonna be screenplays that are being written now by Chris Salisbury—he's actually taking suggestions that are gonna be in the fourth edition novel and we're now working together him and I to create this incredible screenplay, so, a lot of fun.
Male Interviewer: How many movies do you think will come of this?
Big Dog: It will be six by the time we're done. We've got so many dedicated, hard-charging people on the project already that it's just nuts. So it's—it's—it's crazy to wake up from something two years ago and to be at this point with so many loyal fans, you know what I mean?
Male Interviewer: Uh, what is the most difficult aspect when you're writing fantasy?
Big Dog: You know, the challenges for me is—you know, fantasy in general, it's been done how many times, you know what I mean? So you've gotta find a way to create something fresh and new, so, good thing, you know, my dreams were all that, uh. You know, the fact that everything in the entire cosmos was destroyed in the Great Destruction Of Everything Known. The gods that survived this great destruction created five worlds, and the five worlds are now governed by the Crystal Moon, and the pieces of the crystal govern the worlds, and control all the functions to support life, and not only that, but—you know, you've got the familiar things that we can grab onto, and r—you know, like griffins, and you know, the dragons, and things like that, but there's also a lot of unfamiliar things, and the--the twists in the plot and the storyline that I think really brings the reader in pretty good.
Male Interviewer: What are some of the aspects of the books that, uh, are taken directly from experiences in your life?
Big Dog: You know, George Nailer is actually the biggest jerk you'll ever meet in the series. And uh, you know, I used to be that guy. And I kinda went through, you know, some rough patches in life, and, you know a lot of us, you know, we have that “poor me” attitude, and for a while there, you let things affect you, and you aren't necessarily the best person, so—George is the kind of guy that I could've been if I wouldn't've woken up and smelled the roses, and decided “You know what? People deserve more from me than this,” so--I like to vent through George. And, uh, if you guys like a villain that is really-- you're just going to love to hate this guy? George Nailer is that person.
Male Interviewer: Do you find that that's a big important part of any kind of uh, series that the villain, as long as you can really hate that villain, that there's enough people out there that are gonna continue to be interested to find out what is going to happen to them and justice can prevail?
Big Dog: Well, you know, they—you know I think a key part about a villain, is everybody—you know, sometimes you read a book and the villain is just so hateful, you know, what about the good sides to the villain, you know what I mean? There's—there's always gotta be something that keeps you coming back and for George, his whole motivation in his life is his daughter, Abbie. And he really wants her back. So he's willing to do anything that he can do to get her back and, uh, that included uh, eating some very interesting meals once and a while, and I won't tell you want that is, I'll let you guys read it.
Male Interviewer: (laughing) Yeah, don't reveal too much. Now, this series has been compared to some of the other top fantasy series that have been out there. How would you differentiate yours from some of the others that have either made it to movie or are still in book and have done both?
Big Dog: Well, you know, I think that uh, you know, I've been an avid fantasy fan my whole life, and, you know, the way I tell people about my book if you were to take bits and pieces of Lord of the Rings and Troy and Gladiator and Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia and you were to crush them all together and throw up my— throw in my twisted mind on top of it and give it a fresh storyline? Well, that's me. So, you know, I think, uh, my favorite author growing up was Terry Brooks. And beyond that was Piers Anthony and then the great Stephen King who, you know, that dude is just delightfully demented; I love him. So, you know, I mean, how do you not like a guy that's just out there? I love that guy.
Male Interviewer: Yeah, he's a little scary, but, uh, yeah, somehow he makes it work and he's been very successful. You've been compared to some of the, some of the top authors. How do you feel about that comparison?
Big Dog: You know, I think I don't deserve that. I think for—I think if somebody out there, um, for them, if they believe that? That's great, but for me, by no means do I feel like I deserve that simply because of the fact that I'm still learning and I'm growing as an author, and you know the books are, I mean the books are good, I mean don't get me wrong. The people are enjoying them, they're having fun, but at the same time, once I've got about ten or twelve books out there, okay, maybe then I'll feel like I deserve some accolades like that, but, but as far as the fans go, if they believe that, I love it. Great.
Male Interviewer: **laughs** Yeah, exactly. You've pursued your dream, and it came from a dream. What would you say to somebody who is in a similar situation where they have a vivid dream or a maybe they were having a lot of the same type of dream to write it down on paper, and at the very least, send some of those suggestions off to you?
Big Dog: You know what, um, when I go, and I go into a lot of schools and I talk to kids and, you know, do, you know, creative writing sessions and a lot of these kids come up to me afterwords and they say “You know, I've got a great story, um, I also have good dreams” and I tell them all when I'm speaking to them, “Look, you know, the American dream, it is alive, all you gotta do is get off your butt, go after it, figure out a way to do it,” and I can't tell you how many kids have sent me, you know, bits and pieces of their story and, even though it's one o'clock in the morning, and I don't have time, I try to go through it, give them a quick little, you know, edit it or suggestions on three or four of the first paragraphs, and I'll send it back to them just so they know that they're just as important as everybody else out there, and I cannot tell you how excited these kids get to get something from somebody they already look up to, and, you know, I think it's kinda—it's odd to be in a position where the kids do look up to me, but—that's great to be get something out of it.
Male Interviewer: Right, uh--
Big Dog: How's this: my biggest blessing so far has been there was a mother with a 12 year old kid who refused to read and he met me at CostCo, and I told this kid, I said “Look, if you read the first book, when you finish it, you send me an email and I'll give you five questions. You answer four of them right and I'll give you a free T-shirt.” This shirt not only read the book, but his mom came back later at another CostCo she was at, handing me the book. He had read it 12 times, and the book was falling apart.
Male Interviewer: It's well loved!
Big Dog: That makes my whole life worth it, right there. That kid now is a reader.
Male Interviewer: That's very good, that's a, that's a nice story. If people are curious about uh, the next book in the series, they're always looking ahead to book 3, and, uh, can you give us a timeline of where you're at as far as uh, getting to the movies?
Big Dog: Uh, book three is gonna come out, uh, in, uh, should be January or February of 2011. Um, right now, I'm working on polishing up the final details, uh, with uh Chris Salisbary, uh, the scriptwriter on uh, the things that we want to see changed to make sure that dynamics, uh, that are going into the screenplay are solid and will translate to the big screen in the way it should. As far as timing of all that and as far as releasing information on that, we're not prepared to do that right this very moment. Um, I will say this: um, you know, the fans that are following it, they're already a lot of the—the local talent here in Utah has expressed their desire to audition. We're going ahead and taking that information and promoting these guys and—you know we're telling them that when the time comes, we'll make sure you'll at least get your auditions, so—as far as more details than that, I can't reveal that right now.
Male Interviewer: Okay, fair enough. Well, Phillip, thanks for your time. Appreciate it, if people want to find out more is there a website that they can go to to, uh, look into more about Worlds of the Crystal Moon? Big Dog: I--not only, yeah. Go to worldsofthecrystalmoon-dot-com, and uh, uh. . .
Male Interviewer: Can they buy the books from that website, or do they need to go to the bookstore nearby? Big Dog: They can get books at the website, they can buy memorabilia. Right now the books are actually for $12.50 plus shipping and I'm gonna let them say they're hardcover novels, they're about 600 pages apiece. So I make sure they're cheap as well.
Male Interviewer: Fantastic, well Phillip thanks for your time
Big Dog: And they're all signed by me.
Male Interviewer: Appreciate it and hopefully we can talk again before the movies get out.
Big Dog: Great, I appreciate ya having me.
Male Interviewer: Thanks, Phillip.
Big Dog: Take care of yourself.