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A Kick in the Pantry Door? What does that mean? Introducing Philip Whiteland

September 12, 2013

Today I would like to welcome Philip Whiteland as my guest. I enjoyed getting to know more about him and his writing. I hope you will, too. Welcome, Philip Whiteland!

Philip Whiteland author photo.

What makes you different from other writers?

I’m not really sure that I am all that different, other than that I’m mostly trying to plough a furrow in the non-fiction realm when the majority of authors seem to be aiming for the great British or American novel. Non-fiction isn’t very glamorous, but then again, neither am I, so I guess we’re a good match. To make matters worse, I’ve chosen to try and combine humour with nostalgia and there really aren’t many others doing the same thing, which may or may not be a good situation. I’ll let you know. Basically, I just like making people laugh.

What is your most recent release?

The latest, and third, compilation of my stories is called ‘A Kick at the Pantry Door’. This is a fairly obscure title based on a saying of my mother’s. If you kept nagging her about what you were going to get at your next meal, you would be told “You’ll get a kick at the pantry door if you’re not careful” i.e. nothing. Serendipitously, most of the stories seem to be about food in some context or other. I would love to say that I planned this, but my writing is far too chaotic for that. You can find the book at http://www.amazon.com/Kick-Pantry-Door-ebook/dp/B00DPSW9Z8/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t and http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00DPSW9Z8/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1SJDPD3XMM323CDPTA1B&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=418444067&pf_rd_i=468294 amongst other Amazon sites.

What is your genre(s) and why did you choose it?

Primarily, non-fiction. I’ve called my style of writing ‘nostalgedy’ because it tries to blend nostalgia and comedy. I thought about calling it ‘comalgia’ but that just sounds like an unfortunate disease. I didn’t really choose it, it chose me. I entered a competition run by our local bookstore in which they wanted childhood memories of my home town, Burton upon Trent. The story I submitted didn’t win, in fact it didn’t even get in the top three, but it was chosen to be included in a compilation of stories. As this was the first time that anything of mine had ever been published, I decided to see if there was scope for getting other similar stories published and was fortunate to have some accepted by a bi-monthly local nostalgia magazine. When that folded, I moved to the nostalgia section of a local newspaper and I’ve been writing articles for them for about five years now.

Give me a one or two sentence synopsis of you latest work.

I think the simplest thing I can do is steal the Product Description from the Amazon site:

Welcome to the ‘A Kick at the Pantry Door’ restaurant. We have your favourite table ready and waiting and a selection of tasty and unusual dishes for your delectation and delight (but do bear in mind that the kitchen closes shortly as the Chef needs to go to his second job, rodding out blocked sewers). We have a few choice ‘nostalgedy’ stories for Starters, some meatier ones for your Mains, a selection of ‘curmudgeonly rants’ or keen observations (you take your choice) for Dessert, and something unspeakable to go with your Coffee and Mints.

Philip Whiteland tickles your fancy (it’s not a crime yet) once again with this compilation of stories, often with a food-based theme, from today and yesterday. Pull up a chair and tuck in!”

Do you plan your writing with outlines, character sketches, and the like, or do you just write?

I’m really envious of those who do plan. I’m afraid that I just write. Having said that, I do often have ideas for stories that I kick around in my head for days on end, trying out different ways to tell the tale. However, once I get to the keyboard, most of that just goes out of the window and I wait to see what turns up instead.

Who is your favorite character in any of your writing? Why?

I have to admit to having had one attempt at a novel. It’s called ‘Jambalaya’ and it seems to be something of an acquired taste that not many people have yet chosen to acquire. Set in the Deep South of the U.S. in the 19th century, it’s sort of ‘Gone with the Wind’ meets ‘Airplane’, if you can imagine that. There’s a maid in the story called Ulolulo Sodme and I’ve always had a soft spot for her eccentric take on life. If you’re at all curious, you can find ‘Jambalaya’ at http://www.amazon.com/Jambalaya-ebook/dp/B0093JOMPI/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jambalaya-ebook/dp/B0093JOMPI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377608887&sr=1-1&keywords=jambalaya and all other Amazon sites.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

As I would still describe myself as ‘aspiring’, it’s a bit of a cheek for me to offer advice to anyone. However, from experience I would just say make sure you edit your work as thoroughly as possible, readers find spelling and grammatical errors jarring and it destroys their illusion. Secondly, don’t expect the readers to flock to you just because you’ve put your masterwork out there, you need to market your work relentlessly.

What advice do you have about the editing process?

Have one! I have to say that writing a monthly article that is limited to 700 words has been a great way of learning how to edit. You need to go over your work time and time again to remove any superfluous words and phrases, or any little meanderings that don’t really add to the story. Having done that, put the thing away in a drawer somewhere and leave it for a day or two. Then re-read it, the likelihood is that you’ll find things you missed first time around or you’ll see parts that don’t work as well as you thought they did.

Do you write from your own experiences or from people you know?

Almost exclusively – see above.

Are your characters based on people you know? How do you choose your characters?

All of my ‘nostalgedy’ stories are true stories, or at least as true as my unreliable memory will allow. Therefore everyone in them really exists or existed. I do change the names sometimes to avoid embarrassment (and litigation).

When did you start writing seriously?

I’ve always written since I was a child but I had a long period when I thought of myself as a ‘writer’ but never actually did much about it. I only really started in earnest again when I submitted that story for the bookstore competition, back in 2004, and it’s been pretty constant since then.

Who is/are your best supporter(s)?

My wife and daughter first and foremost, and then my long-suffering trio of friends that you’ll find described in my stories about our annual Walking Weekend. My wife deserves a special mention because she proofreads my stuff and offers very useful advice, despite the fact that she doesn’t really find my work amusing. That’s devotion above and beyond the call of duty.

Do you have any special writing rituals you need to write? Do you play music while you write?

No, just the pressure of an impending deadline. For the books I often have to set myself a deadline and then publicise this, otherwise I would just keep putting the whole thing off. Procrastination is definitely one of my major vices.

Would you share a favorite childhood memory?

Well, there’s this one from ‘A Kick at the Pantry Door’:

“I remember one night of shame, way back in the 1970s, when my dad and I had called in at the pub on our way home from work and spent a little longer there than was really sensible.  It was a warm summer’s night and still quite light when we got home.  Mum had been nagging dad for some time to weed the top patch of ground so that she could plant out some seedlings she had been nurturing.  As we made our way down the entry to our house, dad said we should get on and do that now, as it would be a nice surprise for her.  Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, as these things do when you have had far too much to drink and not enough to eat.  We set to, removing all the bits of greenery in this patch by hand.  It took quite a while, but we felt vindicated when we looked at the fruits of our labours, a nicely cleared patch of ground and a pile of green spindly shoots.  I’m sure you’ve probably guessed by now that mum had spent the whole day weeding that patch and planting out her seedlings.  You may also have guessed that we were not very popular for some time after that, although dad took most of the heat as he should have been able to spot the difference between seedlings and weeds, whereas my ignorance in that area was widely known.”

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

I rather think I would like to fly, although as I’m terrified of heights, I would probably be limited to hovering a few feet above the ground, so perhaps I should give that a miss.

Please share your bio and links to your writing so readers can connect with you and your books!

Philip Whiteland photo

Philip is in his late 50s and is currently a university lecturer in Human Resource Management. He doesn’t tend to tell too many people about this as he is acutely aware of their eyes glazing over as he speaks. As that tends to happen anyway, regardless of what he’s talking about, he’s learned to live with it.

He lives on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District, with his wife and cat, or, as it sometimes seems, just lives on the edge.

He was born and brought up, in Burton upon Trent and much of his writing over the past few years, for the Derby Telegraph, Burton Mail’s “times gone by” magazine and Mature Times has featured his recollections of growing up (allegedly) in the 1950s and 1960s. He’s christened his combination of nostalgia and comedy ‘nostalgedy’, he did think about ‘comalgia’ but he thought it sounded too much like something that might need embrocation.

Philip has also broadcast a number of articles in Radio Derby’s “Did I Ever Tell You” series of stories. He has occasionally been accused of humour.

“Steady Past Your Granny’s” was Philip’s first, self-published, collection of stories, available in Kindle and Paperback formats. The bumper sequel, “Crutches for Ducks” was published on Kindle on 1st November, 2011. Philip’s first foray into full-length humorous fiction, “Jambalaya”, followed on 30th August, 2012 and the third collection of ‘nostalgedy’ stories, “A Kick at the Pantry Door” burst onto a waiting world on 1st July, 2013. You can find Philip on Facebook and Twitter (@philwhiteland) and at his blog site www.philwhiteland.blogspot.co.uk

Philip Whiteland book s Philip Whiteland book Crutches for Ducks

Philip Whiteland book A Kick in the Pantry DoorPhilip Whiteland book Jambalya

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3 Comments
  1. Brenda Perlin permalink

    You are a lot of fun Philip and I enjoy your good nature. We can all use more laughs!!! 🙂

  2. Thanks DeEtte.

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