Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Meet Debut Author Krista Phillips!

Krista Phillips writes inspirational romantic comedy. She believes a sprinkle of laughter (and a wee bit of chocolate) makes everything a little better! She blogs regularly about life as a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, and mother of a child with a rare congenital heart defect at Her debut novel, "Sandwich, With a Side of Romance," released September 1, 2012. Contact her at

Writing is a journey. How did your journey to publication begin? 
I, um, committed mail fraud.

Seriously. Well, actually, I'm not sure if opening someone's misdirected FedEx package is "fraud" per say, but it probably isn't advisable.

I'd wanted to write since I was in my teens, but life happened. Working full time with three little girls doesn't equal lots of time to pursue one's dream.

The summer of 2007, my hubby and I had purchased a house, and one day, a FedEx package arrived with the name of the previous owner. It was thick and bendable, and I looked at my husband and said, "I think it's a BOOK manuscript." My husband thought I'd lost my mind. 

I couldn't help myself. I peeked one corner open and found that it was, indeed, a book manuscript. From a well-known Christian publisher. After a quick check with Google, I found that I'd purchased a house from an author who was releasing his debut novel. The publisher hadn't updated the address so his edits had arrived at my house instead.

Then I, um, kinda opened it the rest of the way. I was enthralled by the whole thing. Of course, then I taped it back up, called FedEx, and returned it. But that package stirred up my dream of writing once again. It was like God pointed his finger (minus lightning, YEAH) and said, "This. Do this. Now." So I wrote a book in three months. I then found out how bad it was and how much I had to still learn, but that was the start of my journey. 

FYI: I have since confessed my indiscretions to said author (Michael Snyder, by the way. Go buy his books. They are FUNNY!) We believe this house is blessed for authors. So... if any unpubbed authors wanna pay me like a million bucks for it, SOLD.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?

In 2010, I gave birth to a sweet little girl who had a very sick little heart. She spent a long time in the hospital. During that time is when I got the request for my manuscript, and shortly after she came home for the first time at 10 months old, I received my first book contract and signed with my agent. Talk about some MAJOR perspective. I think this was one of the most significant things because it helped me realize that even though publication is fabulous, life is about MUCH more than just publishing books. It's a lesson I've carried with me throughout this past year of edits and deadlines and book release, and hope I never forget.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?

Everything? Is that an answer? Seriously, this is difficult for me. I'm a mom of four young girls, one of them who has very special medical needs. So just finding time to write is a HUGE challenge for me. I work really hard to take advantage of the times I do have. A major help is a supportive family who wants me to succeed. My husband has no problem watching kiddos while I take myself off to Starbucks to get some writing in. I also take full advantage of nap time!

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?

It'd be easier to tell you how it doesn't. Jesus is my life, my core, my everything. My words, my books, are prayed over and given to Jesus as my offering to Him to do with what He wills. I don't aim to preach in my novels, but to tell a story about real people with real struggles who find real hope in a very real God. 

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

I am not an overly verbose writer. It just isn't me. I have a sarcastic humor that comes through in my books. They will always have a heaping full of romance and a ton of my heart being laid out on the page. My hope is that my novels are deep and stirring yet wrapped up in a cute, fun package. 

Finish this sentence. The best piece of advice I can give to a new author is . . . 

Quit now. Seriously. And if they snarl at me and yell, "No, I'm going to do this because God told me to and NO ONE not even you are going to stop me because this IS my calling..." well, then they might just have enough tenacity to see this thing through. This publishing journey is NOT easy. It isn't for the faint of heart. But you can have fun along the way, and if you have the patience and courage to keep at it, and God giving you the thumbs up, you'll make it.

Cubby Hole, corner of the couch, or office, where do you write? Attach a picture of your writing space.

Oh wow. anywhere I can find a quiet space. Lately, it's been at Starbucks when I can find a babysitter or the rare times hubby isn't working. I love the white noise, and I can sufficiently ignore all the things I SHOULD be doing around my house. :-)

What writing tool(Flip Dictionary, workshop, index cards) have you found to enrich your writing?

My newest toy is Scrivener for Windows. (I need to sell a lot more books before I can afford the MAC upgrade!) So far, two thumbs up! Oh, and Google is my forever friend!

What’s next for you?

Just turned in my newest project to my agent. Let's all keep our fingers and toes crossed! 

People ask me a lot of there is a Sandwich sequel. I don't currently have one planned, but don't write it off just yet either. There are a few characters who are itching for their story to be told someday too. We shall see!

 Any parting words?

THANK YOU for reading my ramblings here today! Be blessed and eat more sandwiches! :-)

Sandwich With a Side Order of Romance

She moved to Sandwich, Illinois, in search of a new life, but ended up in a giant pickle. 

Sandwich represents hope for twenty-year-old Maddie Buckner and Kyle, the eleven-year-old brother Maddie wants to spring out of foster care. Then she loses her new job after less than a day. It’s all Reuben-the-Jerk’s fault, and she’s determined to make him right the wrong.  

He does so, reluctantly, by giving her a job at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium. Then crazy things start happening at the restaurant, and Kyle’s foster parents apply to adopt him. To stop it all, Maddie must learn the art of humbling herself and accepting the help God has arranged, risking her heart to Reuben in the process. 

And she’d rather eat a million corned-beef on rye sandwiches than do that. 


michaelsnyderwrites said...

That's one of my favorite stories too. In fact, I'm thinking we need to put together a how-to-get-published seminar called "Location, Location, Location."

Couldn't be happier for you and I hope you sell a million copies (then hire me to answer your email or something).

For the rest of you, go buy Krista's book. Read, enjoy, repeat...

Julia Reffner said...

Wow, I never knew about the FedEx package. That's great, I love it! Now I seriously want to check out Michael's book as well. I'm so impressed that you finished a book in 3 months with kids and a job! And I'm so excited for you!! Love seeing you on one of my absolute favorite blogs.

J. M. Hochstetler said...

Wonderful interview! I've been blessed to know both Krista and Michael through Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and I can tell you they're both as funny as their books. :-)

Krista Phillips said...

Mike, if I sell a million copies, You're so totally hired:-)

Still waiting on that million dollar offer on the house... *grin*

Katherine Scott Jones said...

Love the story about committing mail fraud. Hilarious. Thanks for sharing!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Fun interview! I love hearing authors' stories. And love the advice to quit writing now...because I'm definitely at that point where I'd snap and snarl back at you, "I'm in it for the long haul, missy!"

God has repeatedly pushed me back toward writing every single time I've seriously thought about throwing in the towel. Getting published isn't an easy goal. But it helps to have lots of support (like husbands who'll watch the kids while you hit Starbucks!) and fellow writers and friends who spur you on to stick with it.

Great post.

Patty Smith Hall said...

Krista, when I read your interview, it just cracked me up! And knowing what you've been through with Annabelle just made me admire you more! You're a real blessing, girl!

Krista Phillips said...

Oh, I finished the book in 3 months, yes. But the quality of said book when I was done was... lacking, let's just put it that way! ha!

Krista Phillips said...

Awww, thanks Joan:-)

Krista Phillips said...

Thanks for stopping by, Katherine! :-)

Krista Phillips said...

LOL, Snap back all you long as there's a computer screen between us, it's all good!

God does like to make his opinions known with a bit of pushing from time to time. Love that about him:-)

Krista Phillips said...

Aww, thanks Patty! I appreciate you having me today!!

Keli Gwyn said...

I loved the story of the Fed-Ex package, Krista. Like you, I'd have been so jazzed to see an author's edits showed up at my house. Of course, since we're the first owners, that wouldn't have been possible. Maybe I'll leave a copy of my debut novel in the house on that distant day when I move into a care facility in the hope of encouraging another writer. When you get that million-dollar offer on your house and move on, I suggest leaving a copy of Michael's debut novel along with yours.

Loved Sandwich With a Side of Romance. It's a fun read, but it has plenty of meat to go along with the hefty helping of humor.