In 2012, I signed a contract with Severed Press for a trilogy of zombie novels. To this day, the three books in that saga are still my best selling books. I wrote two more zombie books after the completion of the series. People love zombies. People love horror novels. No way around it.
As a writer, though, I was ready to write something different.
When I started writing books in 2000, I focused on suspense novels. I landed deals with a few up and coming small presses. By 2006, I was doing very well, winning awards, and making a little name for myself.
Life stepped in, and tore my aspirations apart. My marriage was failing. My ex and I seperated. It was devastating. When I moved out, my world crumbled. I’d just finished writing a mystery novel under a pen name, Thomas Phillips. A larger press had bought it, and spent good money on promoting me and the new book (The Molech Prophecy).
My heart wasn’t in it.
To top it off, in December 2008, after 19 years working at the Eastman Kodak Company, I was laid off. I’d spent the last ten years in the legal department. I worked as an Employment Law Paralegal. I spent a full year unemployed.
In 2009, I managed to land a new job. It was working for the City of Rochester as a Fire / EMS Dispatcher at 911. It was a completely different line of work. I worried I’d never make it past the probationary period.
I did. And a whole new inspiration dawned on me.
I was working again. I was rebuilding my life. I was very unhappy. Angry. My ex had, I thought, ruined my life.
The Walking Dead was just gaining momentum. I wanted to tell a different kind of zombie story. I came up with the idea for VACCINATION. The tale revolves around a divorced 911 Dispatcher. When the zombie apocalypse breaks out, he is at work. He spends the rest of the book trying to travel fifteen miles in order to rescue his children.
It was an emotional book to write. The entire series was. The second (EVACUATION) and third (PRESERVATION) continue that journey as a small group of survivors look for somewhere to survive.
I continued the tale with a fourth book, DAMN THE DEAD, taking one of the main characters from the first trilogy to the next level of survival. (There will be more books in this “new” series).
But by 2015, I just couldn’t do it any more. I had grown tired of zombies. My anger, my grief, was spent. I needed a change.
I wanted something with more . . . promise. Something with more . . . hope.
I had notes stored away for a fantasy novel. Aside from fantasy short stories I had written in the ‘90s, I had never written a fantasy novel before. So I researched how to make this happen.
My energy restored. I became excited about the writing process. I had a different message I wanted to share with readers. While the zombie books focused on family, and surviving, and death, and destruction, my new fantasy series (SEVERED EMPIRE), is also about family, but it is also about hope. It is about strength in unity, and the ability to overcome. The possibility to conquer evil. Good rising above evil.
WIZARD’S RISE, the first in the Severed Empire series, let me explore me more. It allowed me to instill my renewed faith in good and in the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Do not get me wrong. WIZARD’S RISE has plenty of dark, plenty of tension, suspense, and grim . . . but there is more between the narrative I hope readers will take away from the books.
I live life one day at a time. It is not always easy, and though I smile, it is not always good. However, I sincerely hope that my books (from The Vaccination Trilogy, to the Severed Empire Series) provide more than just entertainment to readers. I hope the story in some way resonates with them, that they can see bits of themselves in the characters I’ve created, in the scenes that unfold, and . . . just want more of it.
I will write more horror novels. I am sure of it. They will just be written from a different perch than they had been written on before. I love telling stories. They mean something to me. If I am lucky they will mean something to those who read them as well.
If people are interested in keeping up to date on my work (fingers crossed), below are some ways!
Print Length: 390 pages
Publisher: Mirror Matter Press
Release Date: Feb. 11, 2016
A war is coming. There is no way to prevent it. The only thing for certain is that there will be one loser. . .and one winner. WIZARD’S RISE (A Severed Empire Novel)
For over two hundred years the Rye Empire enforced drastic measures outlawing the use of magic. To avoid capture a handful of remaining Wizards escaped royal persecution and made it into hiding. Shortly after the decree the empire crumbled, but the laws remained in place. . .
The Mountain King’s ambitions of becoming the next Emperor will be realized. With forced help from an enslaved sorceress, he will stop at nothing until he achieves his dreams. The easiest path to victory can be obtained by retrieving buried talismans. With those enchanted items in his possession he can summon the Wizards, steal, and harness their power.
In an effort to save the Old Empire from a growing, sinister magic, seventeen-year-old farmboy Mykal and five friends begin a desperate journey. They must collect the talismans before the Mountain King. Their trek will force Mykal to face fears, and accept truths he’d never known existed. There isn’t much time. A war is coming.
Their chances of winning will depend on whether they succeed or not. If they fail, a terrible darkness will steal the light from the Grey Ashland Realm. . .forever.
About the author
Phillip Tomasso is the award-winning author of over 17 novels. He began his career writing mystery and suspense novels in 2000. Since, he has gone on to publish books in a wide variety of genres, including Horror, Young Adult, Science Fiction, and Fantasy.
His first short story was published in 1995, and he was paid a penny a word. It was an 8,000-word western.
However, it being a Canadian publication—and at a time, when the U.S. dollar was worth more—his check was for just under $40. It was a great starting point, and has been selling regularly since then.
Although not a full-time writer, Tomasso works a full-time job as well. After 19 years at Kodak as an employment law paralegal, he’s spent the last six plus years a Fire/EMS Dispatcher for 9-1-1. He works the midnight shift, First Platoon, and has found the hours conducive to his creativity.
Tomasso prefers to both read books in the same genres he writes. He has been inspired by the likes of Walter Mosley, the entire Easy Rawlins series. Anything by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robin Cook, John Saul, Warren Hammond, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt novels, and Jim Butcher’s Dresden series. Just to name a few!
Tomasso lives in Rochester, NY with his 3 kids—who are not little any longer. Aside from reading and writing, Tomasso plays guitar, and is an self-admitted horrible singer. He is always at work on a next novel.
For more information, visit Tomasso’s website.
Praise for Phillip Tomasso~
“This is different … confident, addictive storytelling, great characters, and an intriguing plot. You’ll read it fast but remember it for a long time. ” —Lee Child, best-selling author of One Shot and the Jack Reacher series
“(Tomasso) takes the standard fare of the private investigator genre and adds twists and turns to make it anything but standard. Tomasso’s writing is crisp and clear … thoroughly enjoyable.” —Joseph Nassise, author of Internal Games and King of the Dead
“Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is one of my all time favorite adventure yarns . . . Tomasso has managed to preserve Stevenson’s characters and pacing as the story enters this terrifying new adventure into the land of the living dead. I hadn’t counted on loving this story as much as I did, but it surprised me and delighted me and terrified me every time I turned the page. Great adventure, great thrills, and a terrifying glimpse into the jaws of death. Highly recommended!” –Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Dog Days and Plague of the Undead
“Blood River is a thrilling blast of cryptozoological fun, a wild ride down tropical rivers in pursuit of a terrifying legend. It will leave you hungry for the next catch!” –David Sakmyster, author of The Pharaohs Objective and Jurassic Dead
To find out more information about Mirror Matter Press, visit their website.