Author Interview: Philip Stott, Author of Another World
Philip Stott was born in England in 1943. In 1967 he moved to Nigeria to lecture at Ahmadu Bello University and from there he moved to South Africa to lecture at Wits. University. In 1976, while an ardent atheist, he met the Lord Jesus Christ and his perspective on life changed completely. For many years he has been passionately concerned with the relationship between Scripture and Science. He has been an invited guest lecturer at The Russian Accademy of Sciences, the European Centre for Nuclear Research, a UNESCO conference on the teaching of Physics, the State University of St. Petersburg and many other places of learning in Europe, Africa, USA and Canada. We'll talk to Philip about his youth, his writing, and his future plans.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Philip. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a very fortunate person. I grew up in a loving home and was encouraged to work towards a sound education. I have had the opportunity to do many exciting things, go to many interesting places, meet many outstanding people, marry a very special wife, have wonderful children and most fortunate of all, to experience the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small sea-side town in England. It was just after the Second World War and England was in a devastated state. Everyone was struggling with the same difficulties so it was a time when people were sympathetic, cared about each other and were more than willing to help with each others problems. In many ways I think it was a better environment for growing up than the ease and affluence of today. Those were the days before television, and most of us read avidly. I used to read about five books a week.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
One which I treasure is from the end of the war. My father came home on leave from France (where he was an interpreter with an American bomb-disposal team). He brought a French toy train set with him. I remember my elder brother sitting on the sofa and my mother holding me in her arms. We watched the train go round and round its little track. The locomotive had a battery-powered headlamp which was brighter than the dim gas lamps which lit the room. It was pure magic.
When did you begin writing?
I began serious technical writing in 1965. I only began writing fiction in 1973 - just for fun. I wrote short stories and a novel without really thinking of getting them published, I just shared them with friends. The first time I wrote actually intending to reach a wider public (in anything other than technical journals) was in 1994 when “Vital Questions” was published.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
Quite a bit of my working day is spent on technical writing. My non-technical stuff is done whenever I can find a quiet opportunity. I usually get up at 4am - sometimes even earlier – when everyone else is still asleep. I am at my most creative, and enjoy writing the most, when the only sound is the distant crowing of cocks.
Another World is about the count-down to the flood. The main character is Noah's son, Japheth. We travel with him through a world that has become rotten to the core. He has to contend with gangs of robbers, corrupt police, dishonest businessmen and human traffickers. But he does come across a few honest, upright people and has some great experiences as well as many scary ones on the way to his family's earth-shattering date with destiny.
What inspired you to write it?
I have done a lot of research into the flood. It is one of the topics I have lectured on throughout Europe, Africa the USA and Canada for about twenty years. The events of the flood itself, and the condition of the world just before it struck, were almost certainly very different from most people's conception of them. The evidence suggests a highly developed civilization with advanced scientific knowledge and stunning technology. I can't think of a more exciting setting for a novel ... it cries out for a special genre which could be called “Scriptural Science Fiction”.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My daughter, Angela, who is, among other things, a talented and successful author. She has always been a great encouragement. She often seems to have an inflated opinion of my abilities. That can be a bit embarrassing when I fail to live up to them, but she never seems to lose faith in me anyway.
Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?
I have been a member of a local writers guild “Die Bleomfontein Skrywersvereniging” for a few years. Amost all of the members are Afrikaans speaking, and all the presentations are in Afrikaans, but the members can all speak English fluently. I have learned a great deal from the guild and one of the members is a “fan” of my work, always ready to give advice and to critique my writing.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
If the local bookstore does not have it in stock they could order from Nordskog Publishing Inc, Ventura California. In South Africa it is available from Christian Liberty Books, Cape Town. It is also available at Amazon.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
I have a web site Scripture and Science. It is part of the Reformation Christian Ministries web site (which is going through a major re-organisation at the moment). There is a lot of information about the interaction of science and scripture, including the flood.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Enjoy your writing. I think it is better to aim for a piece which gives you a lot of joy in the making, rather than just to get it published. If it gets accepted for publication take that as an added bonus. If it does not, it will have been a valuable part of developing your writing skills. If you did not enjoy writing it, then it's not very likely that others will enjoy reading it.
What is up next for you?
I am working on a book about cancer – its causes and cure. Some early-bird readers of Another World have suggested a sequel, and I might think about that when the cancer book is finished.
Is there anything you would like to add?
There is an old, but true saying that if you do not know the past you will not be prepared for the future. The flood was a judgment from God. The Bible tells us there will be another judgment. Jesus said that it will be “just as it was in the days of Noah” – most people will be totally unprepared. I hope Another World will inspire readers to be prepared for what I believe is coming sooner than most people expect.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Philip. Good luck with your book.