What if God decided to put his second son in… Montana? That is the premise of The Doofus and the Divine, a recently published Dorrance book by Darcy Phillips. We reached out to Phillips to ask about their process and thoughts behind the book.
Name: Darcy Phillips
Hometown: lovely Litchfield, Connecticut
Book title: The Doofus and the Divine
Genre: Humorous with a touch of a ecclesiastic wonder and mirth
Describe your book and 10 words or less: The Second Coming and a whacked-out summer in Placard.
What made you want to write your book? I had done two movie projects with the idea and I was never satisfied. It’s the reason why a lot of movies come from books. Not books from movies. So I decided to really spread out the canvas and develop truly interesting characters in a forgotten speck of a town in the middle of the High Plains desert of eastern Montana, when all of a sudden God decides to put his next son right in the middle of Main Street and 12th, the heart of Placard.
How long did it take you to write your book? This is the first book in a series of four. The first book talk about three months and the same for about the remaining three.
What do you do when you have writers block? To be honest with you, it all sort of flowed. When they were times where I did not know exactly where to go next, I just got two more oatmeal cookies and another coffee and there it was. Oatmeal cookies are good for the brain.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I used to do screenplays for PBS out of Hartford. The most important thing about screenplays is to come up with actual natural dialogue. Speak like humans speak under all kinds of conditions. Have the mixed up train of thought, stumbles and start agains, short phrases and the abrupt left turns in the conversation. It was through conversation that you make your characters come alive and the reader begins to turn the page with more conviction. The two main characters, Emmanuel and Oliver, have to be interesting, mysterious, unpredictable and fun. Mostly fun for this kind of book.
If you were stuck on an island and had to have one person from each category with you, who were they be and why:
- One friend or family member. It would have to be a friend who you love. To begin to love somebody is to get to know them first. And knowing them first makes you get to ‘like’ them, which is more important, actually, than ‘loving’ them. Loving someone you don’t like isn’t really love. You’re just taking advantage of the situation. So, on this island it would have to be somebody I truly loved as we hacked up our coconuts and dead fish that washed ashore.
- One fictional character: The Blue Genie from Aladdin with the voice of Robin Williams of course. I’d have three wishes.
- One famous person (living or dead): Barack Obama he brought trust, common sense, hope and humor to that job. Plus everybody would be looking for him.
Besides writing, what are your other interests? I have been in the theater most all my life. I love mural painting. Directing both movies and plays and musicals, I love making 3-D animation, I love to create not consume, I love building stuff, I love good conversations, I love answering the question, “How are you?” Very few take this question seriously when someone asks it in a store, walking outside, any place. I love humor. I love seeing both sides of the story. I love saving plants and creating a country garden. I love to cry at movies. This sounds like I love talking about myself. Hmmmmm.
Do you keep a journal? No. I should. But I have an Alexa.
How did you celebrate the publishing of your book? You have to know that I waited one year, one month and 20 days for that moment to happen. Not that I was keeping count. There were glitches along the way. But Dorrance project coordinator Lyra and now Raquel can tell you I kept a positive and often humorous attitude all along the way. So, after one year, one month, and 20 days I went into the post office, found that yellow slip telling me there was a package and I went to the counter. The package handed to me was heavy and substantial. I went out into my car, shut the door and opened the envelope and pulled out the Doofus and the Divine. I loved the weight of it, I love the colors. The presentation. It felt good in my hands and therefore, all of a sudden, all was forgiven. Sometimes you have to wait one year, one month and 20 days for perfection.
If your book was made into a movie, who would play the main characters? Since the two main characters are about 19 years old and one of them, Emmanuel, is a very doubtful next son of God, and the other, Oliver, is so low on the totem pole of important that he’s in the part they put in the ground, you would have to find two actors who are true character actors. First and foremost, character actors understand human foibles, fears, simple joys, passion, heart and the simple goodness of Twizzlers and Cap’n Crunch.
What did you enjoy most about working with Dorrance Publishing? The project coordinators and promotion coordinator. They were my lifeline and the backstop for my many questions and doubts.
Five favorite books of all time? Of all time? Well I’d start with Dick and Jane from first grade. They were the first characters I ever read about. “Look look! See Spot! See Spot run!” Spot was the name of the dog. As far as the other four books, I am a movie buff extraordinaire. So it was whatever book went into my favorite movies. There are so many. Books that are about character first. If you love the character or even like the character, you’ll follow that character forever.
One sentence of advice for other writers: Stop consuming and start creating because we seem to be a society consumed with consuming because everything can be delivered to us right in our homes and you never have to leave the couch. So start being that deliverer. I know that was two sentences.
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