Monday, January 20, 2014

Interview with P. W. Houston

Full Name:
Philip W. Houston

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
My friends call me Phil, others call me Sir.
I’ll call you Phil then.
Good choice. I try to make my wife call me Sir or Big Papa, but no luck. Her stubbornness can make a mule look whimsical.


Current hometown:
Pinehurst, N.C.

Favorite city and why?
Rüdesheim, Germany
Small town in the Rhine Gorge Valley.  It is one of my favorite cities.  It might be the stunning scenery, the view of the Rhine River, the sloping vineyards, the continuity of the buildings as each flows into the next, the incredible Christmas market, the wine parades or maybe it was the girl I was with who had the ability to simultaneously move various body parts as she walked.  She was twerking before there was a name for it.
That’s my favorite kind of girl.  That and the kind whose legs go all the way up.
Put one of those on my Christmas list, but Mrs. Claus was not agreeable.

Birthday / Age:
21 May 1958 / 55

How would you describe yourself physically?
Strong. Muscular. Athletic.
Based on your profile pic I’d be hard-pressed to disagree.
When I was young exercise became a lifestyle and I enjoyed the process as much as the end result, but at my age it is now a necessity! 

How would someone else describe you physically?
I prefer women with poor vision.  They say I am an attractive, well-built man.
They say that men rarely make passes at girls who wear glasses.  As for me, I almost exclusively make passes at girls who wear glasses.
My motto also, but Lasik eye surgery is affecting our love life. I actually had Lasik in one eye. It was a funny experience that made the wife angry.
How was having a laser beam shot into your eye funny?
It does sound strange when you phrase it that way.  Here is what transpired.  After agonizing over the decision, I decide to adjust the curvature of the lens on one eye.  The wife is opposed to it, of course.  No big surprise there because she won’t even take aspirin for a headache.  The discussion is turning into an argument, so in a flash of brilliance I attempt to use humor to prevent the inevitable squabble. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.)  She is a beautiful woman, but I say – of course she is opposed to the idea of Lasik eye surgery because ever since I knew her I needed glasses and although I think she is attractive there is a possibility she is ugly as hell.  Then I smile my most charming smile which has no effect on her at all so I assume she didn’t understand the joke and expand on it by telling her that “if she is ugly she already knows she is ugly and after the surgery I will know she is ugly and being an unusually handsome man myself I can’t be seen with an ugly woman and perhaps she should consider buying more makeup or packing a suitcase and keeping it close to the door.” The angrier she became the more I talked and the deeper I dug until I was so far down the rabbit hole there was no way out.  She doesn’t appreciate my humor!   

Religion, if any?
Spiritual, but not religious.

Are you superstitious at all?
No.  But my wife is from Russia and has some of the strangest superstitions I have heard of.
Like what?
She pretends she isn’t superstitious, but she has a strange collection of illogical beliefs that are so strong they seem to be a combination of religion and superstition.  Many small ones - like I once swept crumbs off a counter into my hand to throw in the trash. She frantically knocked them out of my hand because sweeping crumbs will make you poor.  If she said someone broke their arm, she would then do three rapid spitting sounds to prevent that same bad karma from happening to her.  If you leave home and forgot something you need to stare at yourself in the mirror when you return.  There are many, many more.  I once had a slightly swollen eye.  She would place her index finger over her thumb and shake it at my eye to drive away the evil that infected me.  Of course it is more effective when you’re not aware it is about to occur (apparently evil is easily surprised and once frightened will flee the body) - so she would hide behind a door and jump out at me or leap out of my closet and shake her thumb at my eye.  I woke up with the sensation someone was staring at me.  When I opened my eyes she was hovering right over my face and immediately began shaking her thumb at me and then grabbed my head and began doing those little spitting motions to my eye.  I just laid there enduring it until she was satisfied.  A week later when it improved she was convinced she cured me.  I just hope it never returns because that was a crazy experience. 

Any phobias?
I once had 7 shots before a deployment and somewhere toward the end I became light headed and my vision narrowed and I passed out.  When I opened my eyes, an exceptionally unattractive woman was leaning over me sponging my face and smiling sweetly in a way that made me suspect we had married while I was unconscious.  Ever since that occurrence I’ve been afraid of passing out!  The day this happened my Mother called my wife to see if I was still in the states.  My wife was just learning to speak English and instead of saying I had immunizations, she told my Mom I was shot 7 times.  My Mom became frantic as my wife proceeds to cast dispersions on my manhood by telling her she raised a feminine boy who passed out after only being shot 7 times.  My Mom is asking where I was shot and the wife is saying in the shoulder, but a real man would not have lost consciousness.  It was 10 minutes before the two understood what the other was saying.  Now we laugh about it.
I remember the immunization process when I was being processed for basic training.  We were all deathly sick for two weeks afterwards.  At least now I’m not worried about eating food that has fallen on the floor… in a brothel… in Bangladesh… because whatever they’ve got to offer I’ve probably been immunized against.

Do you smoke / drink?
Don’t smoke. Have a partial glass of wine with my meal. Several during the holidays.

Any bad habits?
None that I can identify, but I’m careful not to ask other people that question.

Current occupation

Dream job:
Retirement so I can write full time.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I like to put on my superman robe and my elf slippers and stand on the porch and yell at people as they drive past.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Love guns, hunting, and target practice.  Although I have more guns than I need or will ever shoot, I have a friend with hundreds of guns, a truck load of ammo, stores of food and an open invitation.  When the zombie apocalypse occurs the lights go out, the night goggles go on and we E&E to his place.

Weapon of choice:
I carry a picture of my ex-girlfriend.  It works like zombie repellent.

Do you have any special skills?
Using a small touch of magic, I once made a bottle of vodka disappear. It later reappeared along with everything I had eaten. 

Did you go to college and, if so, what for? 
Yes.  Aeronautical degree.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Went at night while working during the day.  Long process, but graduated debt free and remained that way until I was fortunate enough to marry a woman with the unique ability of spending more money than I make.
That does tend to be a universally acquired ability for their gender.
I agree. Have never know a woman who couldn’t meet that challenge.  My wife is constantly “saving me money” at the 50% off sale. Luxury life for a cheaper price. Didn’t take her long to become Americanized.  

Any pets?  If so, what are they and what are their names?
A beautiful American Bobtail cat named Duncan.  He is really my wife’s cat because he listens to her, but bites me. 

What is your favorite animal?
Was walking a grown female tiger.  Had the chain around her neck and the other end around my wrist.  Bad idea.  She suddenly smelled a male lion and decided she needed to be some other place.  The tiger let out a roar and began to run and there was nothing I could do.  She dragged me across the ground and my struggles on the other end of the chain were so feeble she was unaware of my existence.  The athletic grace and strength of these large cats are amazing and I admire the way they move. Don’t mind saying that I was a little afraid.  Maybe more than a little.
My least favorite might be the camel. After spending a day on a camel’s back riding out to see the pyramids it was a struggle to make my legs work again and I smelled like a camel for several days.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
People that constantly interrupt when you try to speak.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Meat, meat, meat. / Peas. AAAAH.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
I have two that I hold close to my heart.  The first because I am a romantic who is often far from home.
“Absence is to love as wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great.” - Roger de Bussy-Rabutin.
The second quote touches something in me that is difficult to put in words, - like the sound of a bird singing at the edge of the woods will cause me to pause and listen without knowing the reason why.
“The sheep dislike the sheep dog until the coyote arrives.” –Unknown.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
My children.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
One of my most embarrassing moments was landing a jet in Turkey after a long flight. Desperately needed a bathroom break.  Asked the other pilot to attend to the refueling while I went inside the airport to find the bathroom.  After exiting the bathroom I was walking through the terminal and the women were smiling at me.  I am receiving an inordinate amount of attention.  At first I’m trying to rationalize it by thinking it is the flight suit or the American flag shoulder-patch or that most Arab men seem more diminutive, but eventually I realize they are looking at me because I am good looking!  Once that thought took hold there was no way to change it. This is what Brag Pitt must feel like.  So now I’m sucking in my stomach and sticking out my chest and swaggering through the airport and smiling at the women and they are smiling at me and there is no doubt in my mind that these women want me.  It was a beautiful moment.  When I reach the door I consider turning around for another trip through the airport because these women deserve another opportunity to see me. The other pilot walks in and says, “Phil have you noticed these women are staring at you?”  In a very arrogant way I say, “Oh yeah, I noticed.”  He said, “Look at your flight suit.”  It has two zippers.  I used the wrong one and my flight suit was gaping open from the crotch to the neck exposing my bright blue underwear for everyone to see.  My face turned red and I just put my head down and went to the aircraft.   

Ever had your heart broken?
Who hasn’t had a first love and felt such an overwhelming emotion that you believed no one else ever felt so strongly, or loved so deeply, and when the relationship dissolved your soul shattered and you wanted to vaporize into a pile of smoke like the Wicked Witch of the West when Dorothy douses her with water?
You’d be surprised.  If someone hasn’t had their heart broken it usually makes for a pretty dull interview.
I must be naïve because it never occurred to me that a person who lived a full life would not have experienced a broken heart.  The healing process gives perspective to your life and balance to your soul. I guess some of us fear love and so come to love our fears.  (Crazy cat lady)
That’s the problem.  Interviewees that haven’t had their hearts broken at least once in this life haven’t led full lives and that’s why they make for dull interviews.  No one wants to read about some average joe that married his high school sweetheart and writes adventure books to live an adventurous life vicariously.  And I probably wouldn’t want to read their books either, because people write best about something that they have experience living.  Not that every Navy SEAL has the ability to be a great author.  But I’ll take an ex-police officer with decent writing ability over a desk jockey with better than average writing ability because at least an ex-cop probably has some interesting stories to tell.  That’s why I always tell aspiring authors to get out there and live a little.  Go out there and have some dangerous fun.  Kiss a stranger.  Get drunk.  Go skinny-dipping.  Then come back and write.  (Crazy cat lady?)
Love how you phrased that. I may have to borrow that thought.

Ever broken someone’s heart?
Yes, the same girl years later wanted to rekindle the flame and start a fire, but even the embers had died leaving only cold ashes and unpleasant tears.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Raised my children.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
When I was young, before I understood myself, I allowed a person to be injured undeservingly without attempting to stop it.  It was a defining moment and the memory never left me.  Many of us have a capacity for violence, but for some of us it can only be used to defend others, not attack without provocation.  It taught me a lesson about strength and compassion and defined the type of person I would become.

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
Why only one person?  Limitations and boundaries are so confining.  I keep two lists. One is a small list of the people who transgressed against me in an unforgivable way and they need to be killed.  The other is a list of people I want to have sex with.  It is a much grander list and I find myself adding to it frequently.  If the government changed their laws about killing people, or my wife loosened her constraints, I would be a busy man.  So far no one is on both list!  When my time machine is perfected, both list will dramatically change.

What do you do? How did you get started doing what you do?
For my real job, I leave the country and fly for a Military Contractor going places where I don’t take pictures and doing what isn’t discussed.  When I return to the States I fly jets for the Army Reserves.
However, my passion is writing and I recently finished my first novel, “Unspeakable.” It went to number one on Amazon in its category and has excellent reviews.  I published under P. W. Houston because Philip Houston was already taken by another person. 
Thinking about putting that guy on one of my lists.  Just haven’t decided which one.
I feel your pain.  Whenever I ego search myself on Google, I’m reminded that there are other people out there with the same first and last names.  As long as all of the results on the first page are about me I feel I’m doing a pretty good job of being the best Scott Lefebvre I can be.
Sounds like you need to add a few of them to your list.
I think that seeing them driven before me and hearing the lamentations of their women, is enough, you know, digitally speaking.  Remember, every time they look themselves up on the internet they have to wade through five pages of search results that are all about me living a much more actualized life than any one of them, so I think that’s punishment enough… for now.
That is hilarious.  I’m still smiling over the visual image I got from reading that.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
Make sure you use the correct zipper!

What projects are you working on now?
Outlining another book. Hopefully when my schedule relaxes a little I can start writing again.  Balancing work and family means your life is lived by obligation and responsibility to others.  Finding the time to write without neglecting another aspect of your life is a challenge.

What are you watching?
I rarely watch TV.  Not because I don’t like it, but because my family consumes my time when I am home and writing consumes my time when I am out of the country. 

What are you reading?
Currently reading a James Rollins novel. The action and the fast pace of the story appeals to me.

Favorite author / book?
Too many to mention.  Will read almost anything and read to the total exclusion of everything else around me and begrudge having to move for any reason.  I most enjoy science fiction and fantasy and action/adventure.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Win the lottery and hire several beautiful models to help my wife because I am such a giving person.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met? You get three choices:
Alive: Ram Bahadur Bomjon
Dead: Leonardo da Vinci
Fictional: Thor the God of Thunder

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
I flew Tulsa Life Flight.  There I worked with the best people, but saw the worst situations.  You learn to use humor in a way that might be inappropriate to people who have never experienced daily tragedies, but it is necessary to protect that core of humanity that must remain undamaged.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
No.  This was a wide range of interesting questions.  Thanks.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
I know a crazy cat lady.
Just one?
One is all you need.  Sing it with me.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
It was my pleasure.

Pitch parade: Facebook: Twitter: Website: Blog: Etc.: 
UNSPEAKABLE is my first novel. Several other books are stored in my head and early in the morning and late in the evening I begin the laborious process of extracting those thoughts and turning them into something I hope you find entertaining.
“This is a rare story that encompasses numerous genres.  It is an intense emotional tale of pain, abuse and survival of a young child who uses his imagination to escape a terrible reality.  Intertwined within that story are beautiful elements of romance and riveting adventure and all of this is spiced with a supernatural flavor and told in a lyrical prose that will have you in tears one moment and laughing the next.  This book will stimulate emotions you didn’t know you had and touch your heart and give you hope for the future.  You will be haunted by demons and startled by angels and believe in magic and be uplifted by the power of love.  It is an amazing tale that remains with you in the most gratifying way.”

About the Interviewee:
I entered the Army in 1976 and have been fortunate in my career. I have flown helicopters and airplanes and jets in support of catchy buzzwords like Operation Desert Storm and Joint Forge and Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn and other freedom oriented names that often involve destinations with deserts and sand and lonely places far from home and loved ones.
During this adventure I visited over 90 countries in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and some of the Old Soviet Republic countries and each time I am left with the thought that I am fortunate to be born in the United States.
I always wanted to be a writer, but desire takes second place to eating and paying the bills. Translating an aspiration into a reality requires commitment and long hours and support of friends and family. Now that my first novel is completed I want to thank them and all of you who have taken the time to read this book and sent comments and thoughts of encouragement. You have my appreciation.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

No comments:

Post a Comment