As well as writing mainstream YA and children's fiction, Phillip also freelances as an education writer.
Elementary (primary) teacher with over fifteen years’ experience teaching kindergarten – 5th grade (years 1-6)
I've lived a varied life
I think I always wanted to be a writer. But then again, I've wanted to be lots of things (an astronaut, an action hero, a martial artist, a footballer, a teacher). I've tried my hands at a few things. Some I was terrible at, others not so much. I've learnt a few lessons. Some have even stuck.
I've run with the bulls in Pamplona, trekked the Anapurna circuit in Nepal and the Inca trail in Peru. I've fished for Piranha in the Amazon and swum with crocodiles. Not everything I've done has been completely rational. Or sensible.
Reading obsession, martial arts and tattoos
Growing up, I was obsessed with reading. I loved comics, particularly 2000 A.D, which I collected for about 15 years. I have boxes of them under the house. This led me to buy a comic shop with a friend in my early 20's. It didn't do very well and we lost all our money (probably because I spent most of my time reading at the counter). I was a passionate AD&D player. I still enjoy browsing through the Monster manuals and the Dungeon masters guide. I played lots of other RPGs too. The one that still makes me smile is the Bond/secret agent inspired game (can't remember it's name) where I would deliberately antagonise the DM by purchasing 'loudeners' for my Magnum. I miss these games still but I can never seem to find the time.
As a teenager, I became fascinated with martial arts and Kung fu movies. I did Kung fu myself (Tiger and Mantis) for about 6 years and gained a brown belt. Later, I took up MMA and two shoulder surgeries later have come to regret it.
I always fancied the idea of being Indiana Jones. At University, I completed my BA in Ancient History and Archaeology and then went on to do a Masters (Hons) in Archaeology. I also had a brief stint in the army as an officer cadet.
I went through a tattoo phase. I have one from the original series of 'Lost in Space', one of 'Farmer Palmer' from Viz magazine, one of Quinch from 'D.R and Quinch' (2000 A.D) and the symbol for ACE trucking (also from 2000 A.D).
Museums, recruitment and archaeology
I completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies and worked as a curator and archaeologist before travelling overseas. I lived and worked in London for four years, foolishly rejecting a job opportunity at the British Museum and fell into recruitment. I recruited I.T professionals for the banking sector in London. Like most Kiwis abroad, I travelled extensively around Europe and the UK.
I then returned to the Southern Hemisphere (via Africa) where, along with my brother, John, set up a recruitment company in Sydney. I continued to recruit I.T staff for the next three years. I hated it.
In the evenings, I worked at Sydney University doing preliminary research for my Ph.D in Archaeology but could never pin down a topic. I fancied the idea of something involving stone tools and weapons and perhaps use-wear analysis. I also completed an extramural Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management.
Writing and Rose
I had written mostly for my friends at that point – light pieces based on various travels through Nepal and Peru. Some of these friends suggested I should get more serious with it.
At that point, I sold my interests in the recruitment company and took a year off to complete my first manuscript, the adult science fiction novel Overdrive. I still like that book even though I know it's not my best work.
During that time, I met my wife to be, Rose, at a friend’s wedding. I'd known Rose since we were teenagers but we'd lost contact over the years. I decided to return to New Zealand and completed a Graduate Diploma in Teaching (primary). I've been teaching and writing ever since and am currently studying for my Doctorate in Education. I've also completed a Masters (Hons) in Creative Writing and a Post-grad certificate in Education.
Rose and I have been married for over 15 years now and we have a fantastic son together - Jack! We also have two border terriers (Whiskey and Raffles) which we adore.