Novelist Phillip Cornell is here today talking about his vacation/comedy book, Vacation to Graceland.
During his virtual book tour, Phillip will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to one lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.
Phillip Cornell is a college graduate. He gained his degree in Biological Sciences, and currently works at a local pharmacy. He is the only son of Harron and Connie Cornell, and the youngest of 3 children. In 2006 his father passed away due to colon cancer, and his mom became an inspiration to him and his family in the way she supported everyone. He has a passion for all types of competitive activity, with sports being the favorite. Overall he lives for different experiences to stimulate the mind, and firmly believes that life is something that has to be lived, read about, and dissected. His biggest weakness is beautiful women, and the thought of being a failure. Firmly believing everyone deserves their moment no matter how long or short it is, Phillip listens to anyone who has something to say. The more he writes. The more he realizes what he creates, is something that needs to be shared with someone other than himself.
Welcome, Phillip. Please share a little bit about your current release.
This novel was never supposed to be a full length novel. I started writing this story to enter in a writing contest, and it got too long to enter. Instead of cutting the story down, I just let it flow, and arrived at a full length novel. Vacation to Graceland cleverly shows the many different personalities I deal with on a daily basis. I am just glad, the comedy that I visually experience, translates so well to this novel.
What inspired you to write this book?
I chose this trip in particular, because I was cooped in a SUV with my family for a weekend. I realized through the years, I am very close with my immediately family. If you do not know us, then you can never understand the daily comedy that I personally experience. Vacation to Graceland, is just a glimpse of what goes on in my household. It is very enjoyable, but not excessive by any means.
Excerpt from Vacation to Graceland:
Now that my mom found a way to work around my granny’s sickness, I was headed to my mom’s house trying to embark on a trip to Memphis. When I turned down my mom’s street I noticed something that would set the tone for the entire trip. My mom lives at the bottom of a long street that ends in a cul-de-sac. Her house and about 5 other homes form the cul-de-sac. As I drove down the street, I see my granny joy riding on her scooter around the cul-de-sac. I had to dodge her on the scooter in order to pull into the driveway. The garage door was already up, so I hoped out of my car and put my luggage in the back of my mom’s SUV. I then walked in the house to see what was going on.
I was confused. My grandma was in the cul-de-sac riding her motorized scooter for fun, and my mom was trying to make sure everyone’s luggage was properly packed into the back of her SUV. My mom started sewing a couple of months prior as a hobby. She was really not all that good at being a seamstress, but she was rapidly improving at her craft. She made an outfit for my 8 year old niece Bria to wear, but it did not fit her right. Bria was modeling the outfit for my mom and Brandi when I walked in the house. They were trying to figure out how they could fix the outfit, so she could wear it on the trip. After deliberation between the both of them, they decided to go to K-Mart and buy Bria an outfit to replace the outfit my mom had sewn together.
Once this decision was made my mom looked at me and said, “You and I are going to go to the store!” She said we are going to get what we need, then come back home immediately. I agreed because I did not have a choice. My mom and I then walked to my car in the driveway. When we got to my car my granny pulled up on her scooter. The garage door was still up, and my granny told my mom that she wanted to take the scooter with her on the trip. My mom said, “Huh?” My granny repeated that she wanted to take the scooter with her on the trip. My mom then looked at me, so I took that as a clue to unpack the SUV and repack it with the scooter in the back of it. I broke down my granny’s scooter and took everything out the back of the SUV. Good thing Crissy had already dropped her and the kid’s luggage off at my mom’s house the night before, so I knew how much stuff actually had to go in the back of the vehicle. I packed everything back into the SUV with the scooter at the bottom, and it surprisingly fit.
When I was done my mom told me lets go before we run out of time. We still had to pick up Crissy from work, and my mom did not want to be late. When my Granny heard my mom say let’s go, she asked where we going. My mom said to the store. Then my granny asked if she could come. I immediately said no. Every time my granny goes somewhere with us it makes a 20 minute trip into an hour long trip. I knew this was going to happen, so I tried to avoid it. My mom told me that I could not tell my grandma no. She then told my granny to come on, and we all loaded into my car. I shook my head because I knew what was about to happen.
During the drive to K-Mart we passed the liquor store. My granny pointed to it and said, “Stop! I got to get me some tickets.” My granny was addicted to scratch off tickets. She would win sometimes, but she mainly did it for recreation. She claimed every 2 months that she was going quit, but then she would get the itch and had to play her scratch off tickets. My mom told her no and that we would drop her off at the grocery store to get her some tickets. Her plan was for us to drop her off at the Shop N Save, and we would get what we needed from K-Mart. Then we would pick my granny up from Shop N Save. This plan made sense because the Shop N Save was in the same plaza as the K-Mart. This enabled us to kill two birds with one stone. I told my mom it was a scratch off machine in K-Mart, but she insisted it was not. I did not argue with her because I was not 100 percent sure myself. I dropped my Granny off at the Shop N Save then my mom and I went to the K-Mart.
What exciting story are you working on next?
The name of the novel is untitled. It is about a boy who becomes a man, but through his growth he makes horrible decision after horrible decision. It seems like every time he does do something right, he messes it up again. I am modeling the story off of a close family member, so each situation is a firsthand experience that I was able to witness. The best way I can describe the story, is by saying it is a melting pot of unfortunate circumstances.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It was probably in 2012, when I sat down with my notebook, and started writing what I felt. After reading back through the stories I wrote, and realizing I wanted to share them. I realized I had a talent. I gave one story to my sister, to make sure I was not tripping. When she gave me her blessing, I knew I was writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work full time as a Pharmacy Technician. I write on the side. I find time to write, by avoiding a thing called sleep. Actually, I have learned time management skills over the past 5 years, so I utilize it to work on my writings. I look at what I can potentially cut out my schedule, and I fill that in with writing time. The main thing that gets cut, is television time. I mainly just record a show I want to watch, and watch it after writing time is over. Other than that, I use my free time to sharpen my skill.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I think I am wildly sarcastic! I personally do not think I am that funny, but let my friends and family tell it, my sarcasm is off the charts. I use it in an educational way in my writings, and it really embodies my unique writing style.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never really knew. I never thought I would be a professional athlete. My mom always asked me, and I did not know. I was just interested in being good at what I was doing at that point and time. The direction of my future was always foggy to me. It was not for lack of my parents. They had me play instruments, play sports, and do boy scouts. I just never had a clear vision of what I wanted to be other than successful.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want the readers to know, I appreciate any and every comment on my writing. I can handle criticism, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my novel. Time is so important to me, so if you spend your time with my product, then I cannot thank you enough.