Author Interview with J. C. Phelps – Coauthor of True Darkness

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Whether you are an aspiring author or weekend writer looking for a posse of like-minded individuals, you’ve probably come across ForgeFiction in your research into book writing.  For those of you who haven’t heard of Forge Fiction, get ready to have your mind blown.  The company self-describes, “ForgeFiction is a community-driven platform that transfers universe creation writing from individuals to communities”.  What this means is that any member of the community can add to the universe notes or write the chapter of a book in progress on the platform.  It is crazy-cool in my opinion and, as an author, I can’t wait to give it a try.

Imagine no longer needing to seek out like minded authors (or hoping for submission acceptance by a publisher) for your short stories to be included in anthologies.  No more proposing collaboration and worrying about being rejected (though if there is a disagreement over how a world/story should be developed there is a system of who gets final say).  Now there is a platform that hosts other writers and world creators who are actively seeking contributions to a world, a story, or a book.  Write one chapter, or just propose a world for others to write stories for.  And when the books are complete, there’s the possibility of being published.

Which brings us to the topic of this blog post, my interview with J.C. Phelps the author of the Alexis Stanton Chronicles and coauthor of True Darkness, a book created and published with ForgeFiction.  Read on to find out more about this uniquely created paranormal mystery and one of the great writers behind its origins.


The Interview

(30 Questions telling us everything we’ve ever wanted to know about J. C. Phelps)

5 Questions getting to know J. C. Phelps

J. C. Phelps

Authors4Bloggers:  How old are you and do you like being your current age?

J. C. Phelps:  I’m 47 years old. I don’t really pay attention to my age. I had to do the math for this interview.

Authors4Bloggers:  Are you married, in a relationship, or are you looking for a relationship?

J. C. Phelps:  I’ve been married for almost 21 years and we have three children, all girls.

Authors4Bloggers:  How big a part of your life/career are your children?

J. C. Phelps:  It was the birth of my oldest daughter that helped me take the leap into writing my first novel. I wanted her to have something to be proud of her mother for. Since then, I’ve had two more daughters. I homeschool my two younger girls, but my oldest attended public school. In 2018 we all collaborated on a project for school and wrote a children’s chapter book titled Holly Hunderson Moves In under the pen name Janee Wise.

Authors4Bloggers:  Do you have pets, and do they influence your writing?

J. C. Phelps:  We have six cats. Yes, that is a lot of cats. It was unintentional. Most of them have just shown up on our doorstep and we don’t have the heart to not let them move in. We also keep chickens and geese. They do influence my life, so they influence my writing. Though I’ve never included a cat, chicken or goose into any of my stories, yet.

Authors4Bloggers:  What is your favorite thing about where you live and does it ever make an appearance in your written work?

J. C. Phelps:  I absolutely love where I live. My family owns 80 acres and you’ll find that theme in many of my books. Holly Hunderson lives on 100 acres and Alexis Stanton’s parents own an 80 acre estate. Also, Val’s parents, in True Darkness, have a sizable tract of land as well.


5 Questions about writing in J. C. Phelp’s life

Authors4Bloggers:  Did you always want to be a writer and why or why not?

J. C. Phelps:  I distinctly remember sitting outside when I was about ten years old, wondering what I was going to be when I grew up. I decided I wanted to be an author or a veterinarian. I was leaning more toward being a Vet for the next few weeks until my little brother got a nose bleed. The sight of the blood really bothered me, so I decided an author was a better choice. I always thought authors were very smart people, so essentially, I wanted to be smart and prove it by writing a book. Instead, I proved that all authors don’t have to be terribly smart. Sarcastic, maybe.

Authors4Bloggers:  When did you realize you wanted to be an author of a published book?

 J. C. Phelps:  Like I said, it was always something I wanted to do, but it was when my oldest was two years old that I finally sat down and wrote a full novel. It finally hit me that writing is something you have to actively do, you can’t just wait for the opportunity to write. You have to make time to write.


Authors4Bloggers:  How did your family/friends react to your decision to be an author?

J. C. Phelps:  My family and friends have always been very supportive of me. My father was a lover of books, extremely smart, and wanted to be an author, like Isaac Asimov or Robert Heinlein. He wrote a book of poetry as well as a novel, but never published the novel. When I finished my first book, he and my mother bought a binding machine so we could print and bind my books from home. They were extremely supportive of me and my efforts.

Authors4Bloggers:  What is your favorite thing about writing?

J. C. Phelps:  I love writing so I don’t think I have a favorite thing. I like the sound of the keyboard as I type. I love the story building. I love creating a world or story that is all mine and I love sharing it with others. If I have to pick a favorite thing, it would be actually holding the paperback in my hands after everything is finished. It’s a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.


Authors4Bloggers:  How has your writing in general and your books being published changed your life?

J. C. Phelps:  It has definitely made me feel more accomplished. I don’t think my writing has a huge impact on the world around me, but my stories have affected some people’s lives for the better. That is a great feeling, to know that people found your writing entertaining and that they love the characters you’ve created.

5 Questions about True Darkness

Authors4Bloggers:  What book are we talking about today?

 J. C. Phelps:  True Darkness. It began as a crowd-sourced project for ForgeFiction. I intended to submit a few chapters and move along but it ended up being just me and Lorenzo Jones Hillman who worked out the entire book.

Authors4Bloggers:  How long did it take you to write True Darkness?

J. C. Phelps:  True Darkness took Lorenzo Jones Hillman and me about nine months to write.

Authors4Bloggers:  What was the inspiration behind True Darkness and is it a sequel/related to a previously published book?

J. C. Phelps:  The YouTube channel, Mortis Media, had submitted a book idea to ForgeFiction. I’m a regular listener of Mortis Media and found out about it through his channel. When I read the short synopsis, he’d written I was intrigued. Lorenzo and I hope to write more about Val and her adventures in the near future.


Authors4Bloggers:  What were some obstacles in your creative process for True Darkness?  

J. C. Phelps:  I don’t think there were any real obstacles for me with this book. I did find there to be some challenges. I took the leap to write for ForgeFiction the night my father passed away. I wanted to be somewhere else that night. I’d already looked at the site and Mortis Media’s synopsis before my dad passed away so I knew what to expect. I’d been putting off writing for some time because of my dad’s illness, but I needed an escape that night. The challenges came with writing in a genre I’d never written in before and working with other authors. I’d never collaborated with anyone other than my own children. It did prove to be quite the challenge until we found our footing and lost an author. Lorenzo Jones Hillman and I are very compatible and I really enjoyed writing with him.


Authors4Bloggers:  Has True Darkness already been published (and where is it available for purchase) or when and where will it be available for sales/presales?

J. C. Phelps:  Yes, it has been published and is available for sale. True Darkness was released February 19th, 2020. I believe the only place True Darkness is available at the moment is on Amazon.

5 questions about J. C. Phelps’ next book

Authors4Bloggers:  Do you currently have any additional books in the works/are you planning on publishing another book or a sequel to title of book (If not, then tell us why not)?

J. C. Phelps:  Lorenzo and I hope to write more about Val. We haven’t decided on whether or not to do a trilogy or a series yet. Still, we are communicating and trying to work out a schedule for additional books.

Authors4Bloggers:  What is the title of your next book/what would you title a sequel if you don’t currently have a next book to promote?

J. C. Phelps:  We’ve discussed a title or two but haven’t finalized any yet.


Authors4Bloggers:  Give us a sneak peek/description of what your next book is about.

J. C. Phelps:  Val finds herself torn between her friends and their different factions – Nox and Lux. Should she align herself with one or the other? Should she stay neutral? On top of that, Val is being dogged by a determined detective who is driven to pin something, anything on Val and throw her in prison.

Authors4Bloggers:  Is there anyone collaborating with you on your next book?

J. C. Phelps:  Yes. I’m looking forward to working on the next book with Lorenzo Jones Hillman.

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Authors4Bloggers:  How did you come to work together with your collaborator/how do you know them and what do you admire about their work which would compliment your writing?

J. C. Phelps:  Lorenzo and I were asked, along with one other author, if we’d like to work together exclusively to finish True Darkness. None of us knew each other before this collaboration at the behest of ForgeFiction. Unfortunately, the other author dropped out of the creation before we found our footing. Lorenzo and I quickly found out we work well together. He is the absolute best at research and getting in all the facts of the matter. Lorenzo is also very patient with me and my ramblings. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner for True Darkness. I found that we were usually thinking the same things in regards of the story and characters and writing True Darkeness was more of a pleasurable pastime rather than any kind of work.

5 questions about J. C. Phelps’ Books

Authors4Bloggers:  How many published books/stories do you have and how are they related to True Darkness?

J. C. Phelps:  I have a series of six books titled The Alexis Stanton Chronicles and a children’s chapter book titled Holly Hunderson Moves In. The only correlation between True Darkeness and my previous titles would maybe be the use of a strong female character. They are all very different genre with different stories to tell.

Authors4Bloggers:  Which one is your favorite and why?

J. C. Phelps:  I have a tough time picking favorites of my books. It’s a lot like picking a favorite child. They all have their bits that you love to death and they all have their quirks that annoy you from time to time.

Authors4Bloggers:  If you could be ANY one of your characters in real life, which would you be and why?

J. C. Phelps:  I’d love to be either Alexis Stanton or Val because they are both strong, capable women. I guess it would depend on the day and whether or not I feel like an assassin that day or whether or not I feel like hunting ghosts.

Authors4Bloggers:  Do you think that your readers/beta readers/fans took from your published works what you were trying to convey and provide an example?

J. C. Phelps:  I think most of my readers take away what I hope they would. I write for entertainment and escape. My books are meant to give the reader a little time away from the real world and a chance to be someone else for a time. It helps that my characters and the characters I built with Lorenzo have interesting jobs.

Authors4Bloggers:  Do you ever read your own books for fun, which one, and why?

J. C. Phelps:  Yes I do read my own books for fun. I read them all because I genuinely enjoy the characters.


5 Random Trivia Questions About J. C. Phelps

Authors4Bloggers:  If you could pick any director to make a movie out of your books, who would you choose and why?

J. C. Phelps:  I’m horrible. I don’t really know much about movie directors. If I were ever approached, I’d mostly care about how true to the story they’d try to be.

Authors4Bloggers:  Which voice actor would you prefer to read your book (Or would you rather have a full cast and why)?

J. C. Phelps:  I haven’t really thought about this, but I think a full cast might be fun for True Darkness so we could get the full feel of the different accents inside the book.

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Authors4Bloggers:  What is your favorite book to read, who is it by, did you like the movie and why (if no movie has been made yet who do you think should play the main character?)

J. C. Phelps:  Favorite you ask? I love a lot of different books and genre. Though it’s not all that recent, I’d have to say I really enjoyed The Hunger Games books. The movies were okay. I can imagine it would be hard to do everything the book can do.

Authors4Bloggers:  If you could pick any living actor to play the main character in one of your books which hasn’t been made into a movie, who would it be and why?

J. C. Phelps:  These are hard questions. I’ve not given it much thought as to who might play some of mine and Lorenzo’s characters from True Darkness. I’m open for suggestions, but both Richard and Beck need to have some kind of British accent. Beck would have to be a little rough looking but with an underlying handsomeness. Richard would be better looking than Beck, but in a school-boy type of way. Val would need an American accent, athletic type of build, but I’m open to any and all suggestions.

Authors4Bloggers:  What is your favorite poem (who is it by) and your favorite color (why)?

J. C. Phelps:  My favorite poem is the one written by my father, Robert Phelps, for my mother. My favorite color is orange because it makes me feel happy.

True Darkness Summary

The border between the human and paranormal worlds is growing thinner. Will the city prevail if the border is shattered, or will it fall into the abyss?

Val is the one people call when they get in trouble. Whether it’s spirits, monsters, or cursed objects, she will handle it for you. Years after fleeing her native United States for the gloomy streets of London, Val gets a call for help from a friend, one she can’t turn down. One that may get her – and maybe half the city of London – killed.

Despite her years of working in the paranormal industry, Val will learn how much she doesn’t know—the entities that stalk graveyards and the shadowy organizations that keep tabs on dangerous artifacts—and how much people she called friends have been keeping from her.

With her soul on the line, Val must choose between Richard, the man who took her in when she arrived in England with nothing, and Beck, the man who taught her what she knows… and is hunting Richard. What begins as helping a friend with a simple cleansing ritual becomes a fight to the death to keep the true darkness from spilling into the streets.

If you like paranormal mystery detectives with a strong female lead, True Darkness is the right book for you.


People who love reading new paranormal mysteries, as well as fans of paranormal suspense and traditional British mysteries will enjoy the book, learning more about Val as she navigates through supernatural and occult world. It is perfect for people who enjoy urban or paranormal fantasy series like SHADOW HUNTER by B.R. Kingsolver, BOUNDARY MAGIC by Melissa F. Olson or women detectives like BBC’s MURDER IN SUBURBIA.

You can find more of J. C. Phelps online at these links

Twitter – @jeaniep3

Facebook 1 –

Facebook 2 –



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