Author Phillip 'Big Dog' Jones | 5 Spot | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Author Phillip 'Big Dog' Jones 

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After waking up from a vivid dream in a new world on Oct. 16, 2007, Phillip “Big Dog” Jones began writing what would become the “Worlds of the Crystal Moon” series. Jones self-published his manuscripts and reached out to fans to make edits, and on Aug. 21, Jones will release the first book in his series, “World of Grayham,” with a costume party at the Salt Lake City Main Library.

After having the dream that inspired the series, did you know immediately that you wanted to write a book?
When I awoke from the nightmare that inspired the series, it took a while before I realized I was in my own home. I knew then I had a story to tell. I felt like I had no choice. I had to sit down and write. I wrote for 39 hours before I slept again.

How much has the final version of “World of Grayham” deviated from your original dream?
The dream, though vivid and detailed, acted as a massive outline. I had to fill in the blanks from the first day I started writing. Over the last three years, I have allowed the fans to give feedback. I have used this to improve the storyline.

What inspired you to draw ideas and edits from your readers? How much of your series do you think you can attribute to your fans?
I knew the fans deserved the best. Considering the fact this was my first novel, I chose to solicit feedback. Many of the minor changes came from amateur writers who called and said, “Have you thought of this?” The biggest changes came from soliciting the advice of other experienced writers. The series has gone through three editions and over 30,000 copies have been sold while gathering feedback.

How did fans respond when you first gave them the opportunity to contribute? Why do you think it is important to connect with your readers in this manner?
Fan reaction was mixed. Some people thought I was revolutionizing writing, others thought I was making a mockery of the process. My Belief: I sought feedback to ensure the art of writing was respected.%uFFFD

What is the strangest idea a fan has submitted to you? What is the most helpful idea you’ve received?
The most helpful idea I received was from my youngest son, who is twelve. He said, “Dad, who cares if someone doesn’t like your book? At least you’re going after your dream.” The strangest idea I received was regarding the creation a race of beings called the Ultorians. This idea came from a 60-year-old woman in Colorado.

Who was the first person to call you by your nickname, “Big Dog,” and why has it stuck?
My old football team from high school called me by this nickname. Broomfield Eagles - Bloomfield, Colorado.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not, what did you do before delving into this series?
I wrote a lot of love notes to girls. Does that count? I was in the Navy, then did mortgage and real estate.

If somebody had told you 10 or 20 years ago that you would one day be writing a successful series, what would you have said to them?
I am sure I would have said something clever.

What do your sons think about your books? Are they fans?
My oldest is 18 and is too cool to care, but my youngest loves his dad’s fame and lives it up. He has asked me to come to his school. I think he wants to show me off this next school year.

Will you continue to write your novels with the help of your readers? What do you have in store for the future?
I will always remain close to the fans. I will continue the series to completion. I expect the story to be told over six epic novels.

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