Fantasy Writing: Who IS Philip Overby (And Who Are You)?

So I’m sitting here thinking about what a blog really is. When I had on Myspace years ago (and boy, that seems like aeons ago) I posted about what I was doing, things I was interested in, and other random crap that popped into my head. I liked that approach, but I quickly ran out of stuff to talk about. I mean, one can only talk about themselves so much, right? Right?

I have the key to success. ROTFLAUU (Rolling on the floor laughing at undead unicorns)

Anyway, I got this idea to do a blog post about myself. Since this is a new blog and there is only a snippet of info about me at the top of my page, I figure those who have read my posts don’t really know me. I don’t want to do this not just about myself, but as an open invitation to other writers to do similar posts. So often I meet writers on different communities and other than their opinions and interesting posts, I don’t really KNOW them. From my experience in, um, life, I find that people respond better to folks they know than complete strangers.


“Suzy comes to your door selling cookies. Oh, it’s little Suzy, Mr. Johnson’s girl. I’ll buy 5 boxes!”


“Random creepy girl comes to your door. She’s selling cookies. Hmm…I heard Suzy is selling cookies too, so maybe I’ll just wait for her.”

People who do “drive-by linking” to me are like the creepy little girls selling cookies. If the cookies look good I MAY buy some, but I’ll probably wait for someone I know to come by first. To me, writers that do this kind of interaction are like disembodied heads floating by on my feed. Sure, your book may be awesome, but saying “Check this out!” isn’t going to encourage me to buy it. Maybe this strategy works and I’m just behind on the times. At least say SOMETHING about your book. Anything. Then I’ll at least know your personality and writing style a bit more.

OK, so that’s my ramble. Now let’s crack open the tome of Philip Overby and get to know this wacky guy that may just be your next best writer friend.

1. I Love All Things Fantasy

 One of my fantasies is to be a time-traveling samurai that fights cavemen, sasquatches, giant roaches, and sentient psychopathic robots.

Let’s start with the broadest strokes possible. I’m a fantasy fanatic. While I may not be as widely read as some folks out there, I have been a huge fan of fantasy ever since I first read the Dragonlance books when I was a teenager. I’m the typical “played-D&D-and-wanted-to-become-a-writer” kind of guy, which I don’t think is a bad thing. I became a big fan of J-RPGs early on, mostly Final Fantasy, but later expanding into Dragon Quest, Arc the Lad, Suikoden, Ogre Battle, Star Ocean, Grandia, and the like. I also had a weird fascination with Willow, which I think is a terribly underrated movie.

2. I Live in Japan

I look horrible here because it was cold as a yeti’s nosehair and I just got finished riding a roller coaster. Well, there’s Mt. Fuji behind me. Didn’t even know that was there…

I moved to Japan in 2009, left, and came back in late 2010. I’ve since gotten married, traveled all over Japan, and worked various teaching jobs. I’m not entirely sure why I moved here, as I was never one of those obsessive types that loved anime and all that (although I do have a soft spot for Berserk, Akira, and Fist of the North Star). I feel like living here will perhaps give me a different perspective on my writing. Not necessarily a Japanese influenced style, but a globally influenced style. Discussions about topics such as diversity in SFF make me interested in expanding outside the typical medieval fantasy worlds and to read from authors from more places than just English speaking countries.

3. My Goal is to Write Dark Comic Fantasy

 I’m sitting here with my yokai (Japanese monster) buddy. He’d probably tear off my head and wear it as a hat normally, but he ran into Medusa or something, so we’re all good!

I don’t know if this is a genre or if I’m just making something up, but that’s what I can best describe the kind of style I like. I often tout my love of undead unicorns. This is the marriage of something dark (undead) and something kind of light or funny (unicorns). I’m inspired by writers like Terry Pratchett, Joe Abercrombie, and Chuck Wendig. I think of shows like Korgoth the Barbarian, Metalacolypse, SuperJail! and putting that vibe into my fantasy worlds.

4. My Favorite Type of Character

Geralt of Rivia, from Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series. My most favorite monster hunter of all!

I love monster hunters. I don’t know what it is, but I’m just attracted to characters who go beyond just simply slaying monsters for the greater good. I like characters that do it for money or glory. Almost all of my fiction contains bounty hunters, mercenaries, cutthroats, rustlers, pirates, or dragon dentists (you know, guys who pull out dragon teeth and sell them). Maybe it’s my interest in hunting the unknown that has always appealed to me.

Here’s some other random stuff about me:

5. I write articles and moderate for the online fantasy writing community Mythic Scribes.

6. I’ll most likely happily read and review your work if you approach me to do so. It may take me forever, but I’ll get to it.

7. I believe in communicating with fellow writers to get various opinions on what works and doesn’t work for them. I’ve created a new Google+ community that will hopefully foster that goodwill between readers and writers. It’s called Fantasy Readers-Writers Connection. Come and join!

8. I hate summer weather. Especially in the Tokyo area.

9. I have lived through two of the worst natural disasters in modern history: Hurricane Katrina and the March 11th Earthquake/Tsunami in Japan (I was far away from the epicenter, but I still felt the earthquake where I was). I actually lived in Fukushima in 2009, and it’s like my second home. So of course I hate to hear its name associated with this horrible tragedy.

10. I was a plumber’s assistant, a chicken factory worker, a salesman, a clerk, busboy, an independent professional wrestler, and a teacher (sometimes all at the same time)

11. My favorite writers are George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Richard K. Morgan, R. Scott Bakker, China Mieville, Chuck Wendig, Andrzej Sapkowski, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber, and Jack Vance.

12. I’ll give anything a chance. I read some of 50 Shades of Grey. I don’t think any form of writing is below me.

13. I’m a pretty generous person and I have the memory of an elephant. Wait, is that good or bad? That’s good, right. So yeah, you help me, I’ll help you.

14. I collect key chains.

15. I’m really interested in history. Especially history I don’t know anything about.

That’s it!

If you want to know more about me, ask a question in the comments. And I hope others will attempt to write a similar blog post about themselves so I can get to know them just a little bit more. If you do so, please send me a link and I’ll check it out!

That’s all for this time. And remember at Philip Overby’s Fantasy Free-for-All it’s all fantasy, all the time!