Thursday, 30 October 2008

THE Q&A Spot with Debut Author, Christina Phillips

So here it is! Your triple chance to win a download of

All you need to do to go into the draw to win is ask Christina a question here or comment over at or Sara Hantz's blog:
where there are Interesting Interviews with Christina.The winner will be chosen and announced on Wednesday 5th November


Amanda Ashby said...

Hahaha - Pat, your pictures are sooooo cute. Anyway, I have a question. Christina what is your favourite alcoholic beverage??????

Christina Phillips said...

Hahahaha! OMG that picture made me laugh, Pat!! I am a bubble person now.

As for that question, Amanda, well it's a real tricky one. I have been known to drink all kinds of strange and wonderful beverages in my time. However, the best one has to be the one you once gave me, Amanda. WINE AND PINEAPPLE JUICE!!!


Sara Hantz said...

I have a question toooooooo..... what is the optimum number of times people should be allowed to use the bathroom when sharing a room with two other people??????

Sara Hantz said...

Sorry, are the questions meant to be about writing??????

Christina Phillips said...


Christina Phillips said...

Okay I have composed myself now. I would say the answer to your question, Sara, is forty-two!!!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Well I can see I'm around some really serious questions here *vbg*...hmmmm.....
Since it's Halloween, is there a favourite movie or book that you love reading/watching at this time of year?

Eleni Konstantine said...

I knew that must have been the question for the answer of 42!! Thanks Sara....

Christina Phillips said...

Eleni, yes this is the place to hang out for serious discussions *snort*!!

Well, showing my age here, but I remember going to see the original Halloween movie with my new boyfriend (husband now!!) and scaring myself stupid. Back in the day I'd go and watch every horror movie that came out (there were a LOT back then!!) but to tell you the truth I'm much more squeamish now. I tend to hide behind the cushions when scary scenes come on the screen (no I'm not talking about Doctor Who here... and did you hear David Tennant is leaving! I'm heartbroken)

Actually you've reminded me it's been a while since I've had a good Stephen King read-a-fest. Halloween's got to be a good time of year for that!!

Christina Phillips said...

Yes, I have long wondered what the Ultimate Question was!!!!!

Eleni Konstantine said...

You know one of the first movies I saw on video (around age of 10 or 11) was Friday the 13th. My cousins are older than my brother and I, and they had it on. Later in high school, my brother and I then had a horror movie fixation for awhile. A, B, C, D grade films. It got to the point where we were saying what we thought would happen to the characters in a film. LOL!

Pat Posner said...

It's good to see you lot have got down to serious discussion while I was sleeping. *big grin*

OK, Christina...
When and how did you first think of writing something with a view to publication?

Flowerpot said...

Hi Christina, What was the first thing you ever got published?

Christina Phillips said...

Eleni, I remember going to see the first Friday 13th (it was 18+ so I must have lied about my age. Obviously. *cough*) My Bloody Valentine was another one. I think some body parts ended up in the dryer in that one!!!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Pat, thank you for having me over today!

Although I've always loved writing, it wasn't until I moved to Australia almost ten years ago that I thought seriously about writing with a view to publication.

I don't know how it happened, except that I had this idea which wouldn't leave me alone. It was about an angel who might or might not be simply a figment of the heroine's imagination.

Writing that particular story taught me sooo much, and I think one day I'll have to revisit it (and perhaps turn it into an erotic romance!!)

Christina Phillips said...

Hi flowerpot! Thanks for stopping by!

Foretaste of Forever is my first published work, although I've come close on a few occasions. The first book of mine that was contracted never saw the light of day, as the publishing house went into liquidation *sigh*

I've been lucky enough to work with several editors over the years, including at M&B, and learned a heck of a lot through the revision process.

But FoF is my first baby to make it out there!

Debs said...

Great pic, wish I knew how to do those caption things. I can just about post photos!

Christina, how many times do you edit something before sending it out?

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Debs!

OMG. Editing. My process is not pretty, that's for sure. Every day I'll read back what I wrote the previous day, and edit if I think it needs it. I send my cps two or three chapters at a time, and when their crits come back I'll deal with them.

Sometimes this involves a bit of restructuring of the plot, and I have to sort that out first before I can go onwards.

In my wip, I'm constantly back tracking, adding foreshadowing and weaving minor plot threads through. I find I have to do that as I think of it, rather than make copious notes and fill in the gaps at the end. Otherwise it bothers me, niggling in the back of my mind that my ms is full of holes!!

Then, when it's finished, my poor cps have the thankless task of reading the entire thing again and giving their suggestions.

In fact I could probably edit endlessly forever!! But that's my basic process.


Good Afternoon,

Firstly, thanks to you and Pat for giving us the opportunity to probe. Today I have a serious question to ask you( but maybe tomorrow I'll have a silly one - as a rule I tend to talk twaddle!)

So without further ado the question: -

Is/has your work/writing ever been influenced/changed by any other creative media e.g. lyrics from a song, poetry, an image (photograph or painting) etc.?

HelenMH said...

My question for Christina is - to what extent do you plot ahead before you start writing? This issue is one I have constant tussles with.

Pat Posner said...

Hey, it's great to see you all here with questions for Christina. It will probably be UK's Saturday before she's back cos she's in Australia.

Kaye Manro said...

Ok, Christina-- here it is:

Is this the first kind of on the darker side paranormal you've written?

Annie Wicking said...

Could I leave a question for Christina, please Pat?

Does she think about the plot first,when she's writing or does she create her characters first?

Best Wishes to you both.


Helen Hardt said...

Hi Pat and Christina, and Happy Halloween!

Here's my question for you Christina -- would you rather cover Clive Owen in whipped cream or chocolate sauce? *big grin*


Christina Phillips said...

Hi tom foolery, thanks for your question! I'm very happy to be here!

Although I don't have music playing while I'm actually writing (I find it way too distracting!) there have been song lyrics that influenced me. Some years ago I watched some guy on the tv do a cover of Michael Jackson's She's Out of my Life. Now, I'd always loved that song but suddenly this entire story dropped into my head! It was freaky. Even though it never got anywhere, I still love that story so much!

More recently though I've been (very slightly *cough cough*)influenced by Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell. Again, always loved that CD and have played it so often I had to buy another one a few months ago as my original started to skip and stick.

But since I started writing erotic romance, I've had that CD on constant replay in the kitchen. Especially Bat Out of Hell and For Crying Out Loud. FCOL is definitely my fave at the moment, OMG those lyrics!!!!!!! They kill me every time.

Christina Phillips said...

helenmh - thank you for your question!

When I first started writing and was aiming at HM&B, before I sat down at the computer I would write a detailed outline, which included what was going to happen in each chapter, snippets of dialogue and where the chapter would end. Once I started the actual writing I would keep to my outline. No deviations!!! But i enjoyed it, so it worked for me.

However, looking back I can see that with each subsequent book I outlined less each time - although they were still very detailed and I knew exactly how everything would tie up and how they got their HEA.

Then I wrote a paranormal and was shocked to discover my brain couldn't cope with a detailed plotline ahead of time. So although I knew very loosely where I was going, my outline only consisted of rough notes and reminders of what I was supposed to include in the book - at some point!!

In my current book, I have NO idea what's happening next. I started with a very basic premise - the Roman invasion of Cymru. I have no outline at all, only vague notions of what might be happening up ahead (this is a full length novel). I'm half way through it, and am still not quite sure how this couple will get their HEA!!

Ideally, I would prefer to have some kind of outline so I know where I'm going and how it's all going to tie up at the end. But on the other hand this flying into the mist is very exciting (albeit terrifying at the same time)and I cling to the hope that my muse (or the girls in the basement!) know what they're doing!!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Kaye, thanks for your question!

Prior to FoF I wrote two lighter paranormal romances (full length novels). Although they had elements of time travel, witches, priestesses and one of them had a really delicious villain I'd like to resurrect one day(!) the overall tone was, I think, more like my contemporary romances, and the heroines were regular modern women.

However, when I decided to write erotic romance my tone darkened (I could blame Meat Loaf here. *evil chuckle*)I'm not sure why, but I suddenly discovered a side to my writing which I hadn't known about before!!! (or maybe it was my subconscious telling me something through my dreams?)

Christina Phillips said...

Annie, thank you for your question!

Although with my wip the premise hit me smack between the eyes without any warning, it came at the same moment as my hero and heroine. A tough Roman centurion and the one woman in the world he could never have. *shiver*

So I'll say for me it's characters first. And it's my characters driving the story forward. I think that's why I can't plan ahead too far with my wip - because I don't know for sure how my hero or heroine is going to act or react in any given scene, so I have to wait and see what they do before I get even an inkling of what may come next.

Actually that goes for my secondary characters too. I wrote a scene a couple of days ago where I KNEW what this secondary character was going to say and do. So of course, he then did the complete opposite. I was a bit put out until I realised that far from messing up my plot, he had actually enhanced a dilemma facing my hero, a dilemma which at the moment is only the merest glimmer in my hero's soul!!!

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Helen! And thank you for your question!!

Well I don't see why I have to choose really - I think Clive would be perfectly delicious covered in whipped cream AND chocolate sauce! And then covered in sprinkles!!!

But then, oh blast, I'd have to clean him up, wouldn't I?!!!

Honeysuckle said...

Hi Pat and Christina,

Ok, I have a question: we're always told the marketing side of having a book published is very hard work and not terrifically enjoyable. How are you finding it? Does it fill you with dread or are you enjoying it?

Pat Posner said...

Saturday morning here, in UK, and I see Christina has given some great answers.

Christina, I'd like to know how much research you do for the settings of your novels? (I won't ask about research for the 'erotic' parts!)
Do you research before you start writing or as you go along?

Christina Phillips said...

Hi honeysuckle, thanks for the question!

I must admit I wasn't looking forward to the marketing side. I'd read so much beforehand about how other authors went about marketing and promo, and it didn't fill me with joy, that's for sure. Thankfully, The Wild Rose Press is absolutely brilliant in the marketing department. They send out all their authors' books to about twenty on-line review sites, so that's one thing I don't have to worry about. They have reader yahoo loops where authors interact with readers, and they also organise various promotional oppotunities for their authors in publications such as the Romantic Times. Currently TWRP has a promo going on where readers have the chance of winning a Sony eReader, which brings more exposure to the website and the books on offer there.

Whether an author is published with a traditional NY house or small press, I do think an online presence is essential. A website is very important, where the author can keep readers updated on latest releases etc. A blog can be a good marketing tool as well, but only if the writer has the time and/or inclination to keep it updated on a fairly regular basis. I already had both a website and blog before I sold, so I didn't need to set them up afterwards while I was also neck deep in revisions for my editor.

I've been doing some blog tours with writer friends, and am really enjoying meeting new people that way. Another thing is that I live in Australia so doing online interviews is a great way to reach others I'd never normally be able to.

I think it's a question of what a writer is comfortable with doing. I can't see myself ever doing a workshop at a conference, for example, as the thought fills me with terror and I'd much rather have a root canal! (did I just say I would never do that?!) but another writer would relish the opportunity. At the moment I'm doing all I can to market my book and my name and hope it brings me some recognition!

Christina Phillips said...

Hey Pat!

Oh research!! I have this love/hate relationship with research (as the witches well know!!) I do try to gather as much info as I can before I start writing, so I have the basics to hand. But whenever I get stuck I find it impossible to skim over - I have to find out there and then whatever it is that's stalling me. Otherwise I freeze up completely - I'll sit there staring at the screen, totally unable to move forward so in the end it's a lot quicker for my process to get online and do the research!

Then of course it sucks me in, and a couple of hours flit by without me realising (that's the bit I hate, the way the time vanishes!), and while I may have a stack of notes I'll end up using about one line!! But at least I then feel reassured that what I'm writing actually has a base in fact.

As for the erotic parts - oh wait, you aren't going to ask me about that, are you? heh heh!!!!

Annie Wicking said...

Thank you for answering my question, Christina. I've enjoyed reading all the other comments too.

Thank you Pat for oening up your blog in this way.

Best wishes,


Christina Phillips said...

Annie you're very welcome, and thank you for stopping by!

KAREN said...

Nice to 'meet' you Christina!

Just wondered if you ever suffer from writer's block and if so, how do you deal with it?

Lane said...

Great questions and interesting answers. Thanks Christina and thanks Pat for hosting.

Am probably too late, but if Christina comes back, I'd like to ask which 'bit' does she enjoy most (apart from writing The End of course) - plotting, dialogue, description etc.

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Karen! Thanks for your question!

I've had times where I haven't written for a few weeks, usually brought on by a rejection that particularly stings and I think *what is the point of it all?* The thought of opening up my document turns my stomach, and I have been known to actually tackle my ironing at such times!! But since I tend to get bad tempered and twitcy if I don't write, I generally get back into it because it makes me feel better.

Other times, when I'm writing, I might get to a point where I haven't the faintest idea where I'm going or what's supposed to happen next. I've found that if I close the document and do something else the chances are I won't open up that document any time soon. I'll think, just another day won't make any difference. And so it goes on, until I get bad tempered and twitchy. LOL!

Now, what I try to do if I hit a blank spot, is just continue to write through it. I'm a huge fan of Nora Roberts and her *you can't edit a blank page* mantra. I'll give myself permission to write crap. I do literally say to myself, write crap, Christina, you can change it later!! Even when I'm typing I'm thinking, huh? where is this going? but I make myself continue. And sometimes it's like pulling a tooth. I keep looking at the time, and counting my pages, and think, isn't it time for a coffee yet... but if I've said I need to write 10 pages today, and I've only managed two, I'll compromise and tell myself, just another half hour and then you can close the document. And then after 30 minutes I might trick myself by saying, ok, just another twenty minutes... and that's how I force myself through sticky patches.

The amazing thing is that usually when I go back a day or so later and read it through, the crap isn't nearly so crappy as I'd thought at the time!

Christina Phillips said...

Thanks Lane! And thanks for your question.

I love dialogue. i could probably write the entire book in dialogue! I also love showing emotion, so emotional scenes with dialogue are my faves. I also love writing sex scenes which is just as well I suppose!!! My least favourite part is description of location, or even the interior of rooms etc. I find it really hard and have to really concentrate on those parts. It can take me forever to write one small paragraph describing where my characters are, but I know it's essential to set the scene so I just have to suck it up. I always have mixed feelings when I write THE END. Part of me is relieved that I've managed to finish with everything tied up, but the other part goes into mourning! Another part of the process I enjoy is the polishing afterwards, making sure all the details tally and my timeline is solid.

Lane said...

Thanks for your answer Christina. These have all been really interesting.

All the very best with your future projects.

Pat Posner said...

More great answers to great questions, Christina.

If anyone has any more questions, Christina will be here to answer them until 1pm (UK time)
Tues Nov 4th

KAREN said...

Great answer Christina, I could definitely learn a thing or two from you :o)

Annieye said...

Hi Pat. I think I might just have made it in time. Thanks for hosting this great opportunity to talk to Christina.

Well done, Christina. I'm so pleased for you and it really gives all us wannabes a lift to hear of someone finally making it to publication.

This might be a strange question. Do you have a day job and if so, was your employer supportive of your becoming a published writer?

Pat Posner said...

A big thank you to everyone for asking Christina such great questions. And, of course, a big thank you to Christina for answering them in such detail.

Annieye, if you've seen my NEWSFLASH post, you'll guess Christina is 'up to her neck' with formatting and revisions. So I'll answer your question on her behalf.
Christina's a Stay At Home busy Mum and wife. Her gem of a husband has always been very supportive.
OK, in case they feel left out, most of the time *smile* her teenage children are supportive, too.

Christina Phillips said...

lane, Karen and Annieye, thank you for stopping by and for your questions. I've loved being here! Thank you so much Pat for having me over!

Christina xxx

HelenMH said...

Thanks to Christina for some fab answers, and to Pat for hosting xxx

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