LIKE any good bartender, Phillip Overton has served drinks dutifully for years and listened with a sympathetic ear to tales of woe, lost love and redemption.
He’s paid particular attention to his footloose and fancy-free, jet-setting patrons and their grand stories of adventure.
And all the while, he made mental notes.
Phillip’s inspiration has come from ordinary people and their circumstances, plenty of which he has heard while working at the Rydges Oasis Resort in Caloundra.
His writing reflects reality straight-up on the rocks, but with a few little twists thrown in.
If his books were a drink, they would certainly have a slice of pineapple and an umbrella or two.
Made for the beach or poolside, the published author’s work can be described as laid-back and true to the Australian way of life.
Akin to a method actor, Phillip has used his experience in the hospitality industry as research for his latest book, which is a novel based on the comings and goings at a fictional café set at Kings Beach, Sunshine Coast.
The 38-year-old author said hospitality was the next step in the next chapter of where his life was headed and would equip him with new skills to move forward.
Having been a poet for two decades, Phillip reignited his passion for writing fiction in his early thirties, after resolving to put his lifelong dream into action.
“It was when I hit 31 years of age that I finally said it’s time to get around to sitting down and writing a novel, like I always promised myself that I would,” he said.
“It was a stage in life where I was looking back on where I’d come from and where I was hoping to go.”
Life has not always been a breeze for Phillip who struggled to realise his dream after Australian publishers and literary agents dismissed his work.
Not one to give up easily, he self-funded the print and publication of his first two novels, The Long Way Home (2007) and A Walk Before Sunrise (2009), with American firm Trafford Publishing.
After success in the US market, Phillip approached a leading Australian publisher to see if his second book would be given a chance.
“Allen and Unwin publishers had it in their hands for nine months but they eventually decided that it was a numbers issue and could only afford to fund eight new projects for the year,” he said.
Eventually, Phillip sent his work to a literary agent in New York and received news that representatives from Strategic Book Publishing loved his style and dash of Australian flavour.
Despite now being under contract to an international firm, Phillip promised that his books would never become ‘Americanised’.
“I think if you are Australian and you talk Australian, you might as well come across as Australian,” he said.
“For me it was very important to set and ground my books in an Australian setting.”
His latest book, Last Wish of Summer, was based around one of the Coast’s most beautiful beaches, and pays homage to our culture and great lifestyle.
Having relocated from Brisbane to Pelican Waters three years ago, Phillip saw an opportunity to live in a community that reflected the laid-back style of his novels.
“My inspiration comes every morning when I have a walk from Happy Valley around to Kings Beach and back,” he said.
“It gives me the right frame of mind to go home, sit down, and work on what I need to next.”
Although his novels are currently classified as imported titles, his newest release will have a place on Australian shelves by the end of October.
If Phillip could write it himself, undoubtedly the next chapter in his life would be a happy one.
To pre-order a copy of his latest book, Last Wish of Summer, visit www.phillipoverton.com and follow the links.
1.The Long Way Home (2007):
A broken marriage sends a father and son on two different paths in life, only for both to realise a guardian angel was at work to reunite them.
2.A Walk Before Sunrise (2009):
Neil Phillips thought he had it all; great career, fast sports car and a beautiful fiancée. It’s only when everything falls apart he realises tomorrow could be a new beginning.
3.Last Wish of Summer (2011):
What if you found a message in a bottle washed up on a beach that granted you the power to wish for anything? This book is a reminder to be careful what you wish for.
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