10 questions: Dave Philpott, author of Dear Mr Pop Star

While I'm currently crowdfunding my new novel East of England through Unbound Publishing, I'm by no means alone in doing this! So, I've asked a few fellow writers on Unbound's current roster to give a quick overview of their writing work, and the book they're crowdfunding themselves in a ten questions format.

Today it's the turn of Dave Philpott, here to chat about - among other things - his new book Dear Mr Pop Star.  


1. Who are you and what’s your book about?

My name is Dave Philpott - it’s a nom de plume, and our book (written alongside my long-suffering Pa) is a book of deliberately deranged letters to iconic rock and pop stars regarding their lyrics, with genuine in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves.

2. Why should folk read your book?

Simply because it’s a totally unique concept and one that no one has manage to pull off before. We have managed to get a line through to nearly 100 musicians and songwriters and they have entirely allowed themselves to get ‘in on’ the joke. Poking fun at us for our naivety and in some cases poking fun at themselves. The replies are clever, insightful and very, very funny. As are, although we do say so ourselves, the letter we write to them.

3. What’s the appeal of your book?

We are focusing on artists and songs that are already there in the collective unconsciousness, as they are piped into our lives through our car stereos, in the background at work or even when we’re out doing our shopping. But we are asking questions that ensure that the listener will never hear those songs in the same way again. Also, as the majority of replies were secured around the back door of the industry, via roadies, cousins of bass players and social media rather than official channels, there is a real human element to how it was written.

4. Sounds great! Where/when can I get hold of a copy?  

It’s available on pre-order now via Unbound, with these people receiving a better quality version than will be shops and about 6 weeks before the official launch date of September 20th.  

5. Describe a typical writing day, or at least a typical day with some writing in it:

Such is the nature of the project there really isn’t a typical day; the letters are so painstakingly crafted and take so long to do that we only produce one if we’ve had the green light from the artist that they wish to get involved. Not to be ruthless, but if an artist is semi-committal and says something along the lines of ‘I might do it but I’m not sure’ we don’t invest any more time in it, but tell them out of courtesy. So we can go days or even weeks without writing and then receive five definite yes’ all at once via email.  Then we can find ourselves writing flat out for a month.

6. Pick one book about writing. What it is and why have you chosen it?

I’ll be perfectly honest here and admit that I haven’t read any books on the art of writing at all. What we do is very particular to us, we have our way of doing things and, given the nature of the project, we can’t find parallels elsewhere. I suppose you can say that we’re kind of making our rules as we go along.

7. Pick three books that have influenced or inspired you as a writer:

The Timewaster Letters by Robert Popper, Delete This At Your Peril (In fact all the Bob Servant books) by Neil Forsyth and any number of Viz annuals. We’re delighted that Viz are fans of our work. We often get compared to Henry Root, but honestly, this is quite a lazy comparison; we find it to be crudely written and frankly unfunny.  Also we love Diary of A Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith, because we can draw parallels between us and Charles Pooter’s rather mundane but extraordinary life. (We’re aware that we’ve made four choices here - sorry!)

8. Pick three desert island books - works you couldn’t live without:

The Outsider by Albert Camus, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.

9. Any words of writing wisdom?

If you’re really not feeling like writing when you wake up in the morning then don’t. If you try it will seem forced. The ideas will come when they’re good and ready, half-formed or forced isn’t good enough.

10. Let’s make a movie of your book. Give me the high-concept pitch:

I don’t think it can be done, but if it did happen it would have an absolutely amazing stellar cast and there would be cameo after cameo. Everyone would be playing themselves, although you’d never see us; we prefer to retain a little mystery - that way you can build up your own image of what these demented, obsessive writers look like for yourselves.

Social media contacts:

Twitter @DerekPhilpott

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThePhilpotts/

Unbound URL: https://unbound.com/books/dear-mr-pop-star/ 

Previous publications: Dear Mr. Kershaw - the cult classic that started it all http://amzn.eu/8A7l5ib and also http://www.planegroovy.com/philpott.html 

Thanks to Dave for playing along. Hopefully the book's of interest and you'll get a copy!