Today marks the official kickoff of the Kept From Cages Book Tour presented by Storytellers On Tour, and throughout the week we’ve got a great lineup helping us feature Phil Williams’ Supernatural Action-Thriller novel! Storytellers’ first-ever event featured Phil’s Under Ordshaw, so we’re pretty excited to have him back for round two! I’m very much looking forward to hearing what our hosts have to say in the coming days, so be sure to keep an eye out for some incredible content.
Phil was kind enough to stop by to have a chat about how Kept From Cages came into fruition, the research done while he wrote this story of his, and what lies ahead. So, keep scrolling for the tour schedule, more info about the book, and the interview!
Kept From Cages is available for 99c/99p from US/UK Kindle for the duration of the tour, so be sure to pick up your copy today!
We’ve enlisted a group of wonderful and talented bloggers and Bookstagrammers to help us feature Kept From Cages. This is what we have going on, so make sure to check out each and every one throughout the week for some brilliant content, including reviews and more.
JANUARY 13TH – THE WELCOMING
Whispers & Wonder
The Sword Smith
Beneath A Thousand Skies
Fantasy Book Critic
Life of a Nocturnal Bookworm
OllieSpot SFF Book Review
JANUARY 19TH – THE ENCORE
Queen’s Book Asylum
For more about this tour visit Storytellers On Tour.
No one returns from Ikiri.
Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.
Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?
On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?
Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries. Start your journey to Ikiri today.
Meet the Author
Phil Williams is an author of contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction, including the Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers and the post-apocalyptic Estalia series. He also writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English, two of which are regular best-sellers on Kindle. He lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.
Thanks so much for stopping by for a chat, Phil. Since we already have your official bio, care to tell us about yourself in ten words or less?
I spend way too much time in my own head.
Give us an idea of how Kept From Cages came to fruition.
It’s a story I’ve had in mind since my youth, my take on the action-packed entertainment I enjoyed growing up. I wrote the first version over 20 years ago, and rewrote it every few years, adding side-stories in between. At one time, there were 6 unpublished novels in this series. But when I started the Ordshaw series I saw an opportunity to revisit these ideas once and for all; when I started Under Ordshaw, I immediately had thoughts not just of Kept From Cages, but of how it would connect further down the line. With everything I’d learnt, and how my writing had improved, it very much felt like this book’s time was finally here.
Can you share with us something about Kept From Cages that isn’t in the blurb?
One thing my blurbs never really touch on is the humour in my work, because the prevailing themes tend to be dark and tense. But there’s a lot of sharp and often absurd humour to balance the darkness; these characters have a sense of humour themselves, and they make me laugh.
Was there any specific research you’ve done or inspiration you’ve pulled from for this story of yours?
A great deal of research went into this, though the final book might not show it. I started studying the Congo shortly after I left university, and at one time was looking into completing a PHD in Congolese history. But where that helped develop a sense of atmosphere, the story doesn’t really touch on the real history or politics that surround it. Likewise, I looked into the language and religions of Louisiana and the Deep South in some detail, but I was restrained with what I included; partly because these characters and their communities exist in worlds all of their own.
What do you hope your readers take away from Kept From Cages?
A rollicking good time that gets their heart pumping.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Characters. I’ll have certain scenes I feel compelled to write/reach, but it’s the evolution of the characters that ultimately defines the plot. Once you understand what they want, what they’re scared of, what’s going to really push their buttons, that’s when you find the real story.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? If so, who? What about them sets them apart from all the others?
In this, I guess it’d be Katryzna, as no real surprise. She’s plain fun, because she’s totally unrestrained but at the same time something of a complex mess, with strange quirks and insecurities. It’s a close call, though, because it’s also a joy to write any interactions between the members of the Coburn Gang.
What do you think makes a good story?
Satisfying engagement. Which comes from (a) characters you care about and (b) challenges that make you care even more.
If you could go back and change how you approached writing your debut novel, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
Educate myself on craft. There’s a huge divide between my debut release (Wixon’s Day) and everything that followed, because between that novel and the rest I dove into the world of screenwriting, where things are more technical, defined and community-focused. I got feedback, I went to courses, attended live readings and read books and books on craft, and essentially discovered what makes writing hit the right notes. Some people still love Wixon’s Day, and there’s the core of a great book in there, but I could make it infinitely better now with a fairly simple edit.
Writing can be a stressful pursuit. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Make friends. There’s nothing more uplifting around writing than connecting with other authors and readers, to help assure you it’s a passion others share, and getting feedback, to check what you’re attempting works.
Ok, let’s see what kind of person you truly are.
Coffee or Tea?
Tea, far too much tea
Winter or Summer?
Summer, mostly for reduced clothing requirements
Physical books or Ebooks?
Mountains or Oceans?
Oceans; though I love ridiculously tall things, the water is a place of endless freedom and potential
Beer or Wine?
Books or Movies?
A cruel choice, but I suppose books!
Cowboys or Aliens?
Cowboys, for that raw, flawed spirit. Aliens are always so slick and aloof.
Pie or Cake?
Rural or Urban?
Ah I couldn’t have too much or too little of either, but I guess I learn more towards at least a bit of urban
Work hard or Play hard?
Play hard, whenever possible
Thank you again for taking the time have a chat, Phil. Tell us what lies ahead for you!
The sequel to Kept From Cages is coming soon, then there’s a handful of other Ordshaw books on the way, starting with a direct sequel to The City Screams. Possibly a standalone after that. I’ve also got two very different epic fantasies in the drawer, one I’m hoping to release and the other to put out on submission. And there’s a bunch of dystopian thrillers… We’re also working at the Ordshaw audiobooks; there’s two out now and I absolutely love them.
That’s all I got for ya! Be sure to keep an eye on the official Kept From Cages tour page over at Storytellers On Tour (https://www.storytellersontour.online/2020/12/10/tour-schedule-kept-from-cages-by-phil-williams) to see what the other bloggers and Bookstagrammers have to say!