Thursday, June 3, 2010

Special Blog Guest: Christina Phillips

I'm so pleased to have Christina Phillips as my special blog guest! Her hot, historical novel, FORBIDDEN, is released September 2010 through Berkley Heat, and I for one cannot wait to read it!!

Hi Christina,

Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for the welcome, Mel!

First off, I would love to hear a little about yourself and your journey that led to you becoming a writer.

Well, I'm married to my childhood sweetheart (OK I was fifteen when we met... almost a child... lol!) and we have two daughters and one son. All of whom tower over me (even when I'm wearing stilettoes). We moved from the UK to WA three weeks before Christmas 1998, and I decided to get serious about my writing at Easter 1999. I started off targetting HM&B and it was over at the eHarlequin boards I hooked up with my incomparable CPs. Five years later I tried writing first person chick lit and began the daunting task of researching agents. When chick lit bottomed out I wrote a couple of paranormal romances, then to stretch my writing muscles (and also because my CPs said I should!) I wrote an erotic novelette. Foretaste of Forever sold to The Wild Rose Press, followed by another novelette, Touch of the Demon. These sales gave me a much needed boost to my confidence in my writing ability and so I decided to really step outside my comfort zone and write a full length erotic romance. And an ancient historical at that!

A *huge* congratulations on your two book deal with Berkley Heat! Could you fill us in on the call story?

Thank you! It all happened quickly, in publishing terms. The night I signed with my agent she asked if I had considered turning my Roman set historical into a series. She suggested writing the story of my heroine's best friend, and wanted to know if I could complete some revisions she had for FORBIDDEN and develop two outlines for subsequent books by the following Thursday (she was going away on the Friday and wanted to sub to a couple of editors before she left).

Of course I said yes!!! And spent the next five days in a complete frenzy of editing, brainstorming and writing. I'm not sure if I remembered to feed my family or not, in fact I don't remember very much of that week at all! But by the Wednesday I sent everything off to my agent and thankfully she loved it all and subbed the following day. Three months later, on New York's Friday and my Saturday morning, I received an email saying we had an editor interested. I was insanely excited!I had to wait until the following Tuesday before we had confirmation that Berkley Heat wanted to buy. That was a very long weekend!!!

I love the title ‘Forbidden Princess’, can you tell us a little about the characters and the storyline? (Blurb and extract pasted below)

I love the title too! It was originally called His Forbidden Druid, but my editor wanted to change it to Princess and that also fits the story perfectly, so I was very happy. A couple of weeks later she asked if I minded shortening the title further to FORBIDDEN, and I loved that too!

It's set during the Roman invasion of ancient Wales circa AD 50. My hero, Maximus, is intrigued by the Celtic woman who shows no fear before him and refuses to accept his word as law. He soon discovers that although Carys may look fragile, she possesses an iron will to match his own, and if she decides she wants something, nothing is going to stand in her way.

My heroine Carys, a Druid princess, and her people escaped into a magical enclave created by their High Druid, Aeron, supposedly to gather their resources before driving the enemy from their lands. Aeron, however, has his own plans, which include once again taking Carys as his lover. Only this time he doesn't intend to let her go.

You already have two shorts published by The Wild Rose Press — ‘Touch of the Demon’ and ‘Foretaste of Forever’ — are the flavour of these stories similar at all to your Roman book coming out with Berkely?

This is such a great question, Mel. I asked my CPs what they thought, and here's their verdict:

Sara Hantz: Yikes that's a toughy. Your style of writing is similar... very evocative, descriptive... And your use of language is second to none. As for the flavour, I think the latest ones you've sold are more romantic, and clearly have more depth because they're longer. And the setting is different, and explored in much greater depth.

Amanda Ashby: I think you actually found your voice with those two novellas so I do think that your voice is the same, but obviously the setting and the scope of the story in Druid is different.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with any writers just starting out?

I've received so much support and friendship from the RWAus and RWNZ, I highly recommend joining a writer's organisation if you possibly can. Not only will you learn heaps about the business itself but there are also opportunities to join critique groups, undertake writing courses and enter contests to help improve your craft. Plus of course there are the annual conferences which are invaluable and a real highlight in the writing year!

One more thing - I'm sure everyone is sick of me quoting Galaxy Quest, but it really does put everything in a nutshell: Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

What is the hardest and/or worst thing you’ve discovered since publication?

Rejections still happen and they still sting, lol. Sucky reviews sting too but you can't please everyone all the time.

Thanks Christina! Just one thing before you slip off into deadline realm (g), what can we expect from you and your books in the future?

I'd love to explore more of my ancient Roman/druid world. That would make me very happy!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Mel!


He was a master of seduction - but no match for the magical allure of the woman he wanted most.

Carys knew from the moment she first spied on Maximus in his naked barbarian glory that he was a dangerous Roman centurion - his taut, battle-scarred flesh marking him as a fearless warrior. But her desire for him was as undeniable as it was illicit.

Charged by his emperor to eliminate a clan of powerful Druids in Britain, Maximus never expects his mission to be thwarted by the clan's ethereal princess, Carys, his daring voyeur. Falling under her spell, he doesn't realize her true heritage - until he captures her heart as well as her body.

As Carys's loyalties are twisted, and freedom is no longer her single-minded obsession, an avenging former lover threatens to crush Maximus's people into oblivion. Now Carys and Maximus must overcome the devastation of war and face the ultimate sacrifice if their forbidden love is to survive.





Christina Phillips said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Mel! The interview was so much fun!!

Cathryn Brunet said...

What a fantastic interview! I adored reading about your journey, Christina. It's such an inspiring story.

And how gorgeous is Forbidden's cover? Makes me sigh every time I look at it. I seriously cannot wait until this book comes out. September is too far away!

Thanks Mel and Christina.

Mel Teshco said...

You're very welcome Christina!
And thanks Cathryn for dropping by - I agree, it's a gorgeous cover.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, how cool! Two of my fave people in one spot!

OK, OK, I'm going to gloat but I've read Forbidden and I just loved it to death! And man, is it TSSSSSS hawt! I blushed as I read it (and then kept reading even faster!). Beautiful story - that conflict between duty and love is an old one but still so powerful. Congratulations, Christina, you've got a winner there. And I hope you'll do lots more Roman books. When in Rome, read as the Romans do!

Kylie Griffin said...

Hi Christina & Mel,

Great interview! Reading about our author's never gets old for me, even if I've heard some of it elsewhere :-).

Why is it CALL stories seem to happen over the weekend? I've read of so many that this has happened to and it must be agonising during that time! At least during the week there's the perception of people working and probably doing things to hasten the process! *lol*

Last thing - I love the cover, Christina. When you first had it up I took a look at it in as large a format as I could to see the details you mentioned - like the waterfall and Carys' necklace. It's a beautiful cover!

Christina Phillips said...

Cathryn, thank you! I tried so many different sub-genres of romance during those ten years prior to publication. It's very weird to me that I eventually returned to my very first love (even before paranormals!) - historical!

Christina Phillips said...

LOL, Anna! thank you so much for all your support!! I'm so glad you enjoyed FORBIDDEN. I would absolutely love to return to that world, several characters are driving me mad to have their stories told!!

Christina Phillips said...

Kylie, the Call does seem to happen over the weekend! I don't know why, but seriously I was a complete wreck from the Saturday morning when I read my agent's email, to the Tuesday when we received confirmation from Berkley. Then I just collapsed :-)

The cover is amazing - I still can't believe how perfect it is for the book. The kids got me an enlarged version for Mother's Day and it's up on my office wall - great inspiration!!!

Rachael Johns said...

ooh Mel thanks for having the lovely Christina on your blog! And Christina thanks for sharing your truly inspiring story. Your motto: NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER SURRENDER is awesome!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Rach! I'm so glad my story is inspiring, and yes that motto is one I stuck on top of the computer screen!!!

April Vine said...

Hey Mel & Christina

Lovely interview, greatly enjoyed. I love reading about the path to publication and yours, Christina is most inspiring. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to have a copy of Forbidden in my hands!!! : )

Suzanne Brandyn said...

I enjoyed the interview Mel and Christina. I also love your motto. It's so inspiring. I am looking forward to seeing this particular novel on the shelf and sitting down for a great read. Good Luck with it Christina.

Suz :)

Thanks for the lovely interview Mel. :)

Christina Phillips said...

April and Suz, thanks for stopping by and your lovely support of Forbidden!!

Emmeline Lock said...

Hi Mel, great interview!

Hi Christina - such a beautiful cover!
I met my CP's on the eHQ boards, too. We might be treading the same path. :)

I've got FOF and TOTD in the e-TBR. Looking forward to reading them.

Mel Teshco said...

Thanks for coming to visit us Anna, and what a sweet thing to say *blush*

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Kylie,
you're so right!! And I'm certain we'll be hearing about you and your books very soon!

Mel Teshco said...

Rachael, that's the best motto ever isn't it, and something all us writers really need to live by

Mel Teshco said...

I totally agree, she has one hell of an inspiring journey to publication!

Mel Teshco said...

So glad you liked the interview Suzanne, and I'll be joining you in reading her book =)

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Emmaline,
thanks for visiting =)
and hmmm, those harl boards sounds like a great place to find CP's...

Eleni Konstantine said...

Fab interview ladies!!! (I'm late I know)

Christina, so happy that you found your voice & that soon your book will be out. Huzzah!

Great motto, wonderful cover, fab excerpt.

Christina Phillips said...

Emmeline, the HQ boards are great!!! I used to spend so much time over there (unfortunately not so much recently!) Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy my novelettes!!!

Christina Phillips said...

Eleni, thank you!!! Can't quite believe how quickly that release date is galloping up *lol* :-)

Christina Phillips said...

Mel, thank you so much for having me over this week. It's been so much fun! x

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