2020 Releases

The Rock Star's Familiar
The Vampire's Familiar
The Witch's Familiar
Phantasia: Bad Day On Olympus
Ice Cave
Destiny, Desire & Murder
Close to the Truth

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Darklight On...Christina Phillips Q&A

Today's Darklight On... is with Christina Phillips. Welcome Christina!

How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?

Looking back it seems I've always loved the slightly weird! One of the first books that really grabbed my attention when I was a child was Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer, where the heroine traveled back through time every night to swap places with a girl who lived forty-odd years earlier. The book both freaked me out and fascinated me in equal measure and I don't think I've ever quite got over it!

As for why I write it - well, when I started submitting my work I sent an angel inspired romance to Mills and Boon who politely declined. Undeterred I then sent them a romance featuring a clairvoyant and although they gave me encouraging feedback on the writing it was my plots that were the problem :-) Since I'd decided M&B were my dream publisher it took me another five years before it occurred to me that maybe I should try writing the kind of books that kept running around in the back of my mind - which meant plucking up the courage to submit elsewhere (I'd got to know some of the lovely editors at M&B by this time!!!)

Please tell us a little about your road to publication.

After five years submitting to M&B I decided to try something completely different and wrote a couple of first person present romances in the so-called chic lit style. Chic lit immediately died a horrible death so, deciding to interpret this as a sign from the Universe, I then wrote two paranormal romances with time-travel elements. Although both books caught several agents interest, ultimately there was no cigar. Unbelievably fed up by this time I was that close to chucking it all in, and only the fact I turn into a total witch when I don't write, coupled with my two CPs constant encouragement, kept me going. But, always up for a challenge, I finally caved into my CPs insistence to write an erotic romance. Foretaste of Forever, a dark erotic paranormal novelette, sold to a small e-publisher and I'm still a bit stunned by it all, three years later!

You now write ancient historical erotic romance. What made you choose this time period?

I really didn't choose it - Maximus, the hero of Forbidden, chose me! Why on earth a Roman centurion came marching into my head that night and refused to leave until I discovered his story I have no idea. Although I've always loved reading historical romances and used to write historical stories when I was a teenager (and for some reason they always ended in tragedy!) it never occurred to me to actually write one with a view to publication. But since neither my single title contemporary or paranormal romances were hitting the mark with agents, and I had recently sold two paranormal/fantasy erotic novelettes to a small e-press, I decided I had nothing to lose by trying something completely out of my comfort zone.

An ancient historical erotic romance with fantasy elements!

Your recent release is Captive (which we featured in a Magic Thursday giveaway on 3rd Feb). Can you describe it for us.

A tortured warrior and rebellious Druid priestess have to overcome their past, put their trust in each other and face their deepest fears if they want to survive the invasion of their lands and the wrath of a spurned goddess.

And can I say, the cover artwork is absolutely stunning. Isn't it fabulous? It really shows the hero's deeply ingrained protective streak and the overall atmosphere is of looming danger.

Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?

I went from being a compulsive plotter when I first started out (and by compulsive I mean I knew exactly what happened in each chapter even down to fragments of dialogue) to being a complete panster when I wrote my first full length paranormal romance. With Forbidden I started out knowing only that certain things had to happen at the end of the book (such as Carys and Maximus had to end up together!) but it wasn't until I was almost on top of that scene that I knew exactly how it was all going to come together. With Captive I was relieved my wonderful editor didn't insist on a detailed outline of the end of that book - because I didn't know it in advance!

But since then I've had to learn how to write a synopsis before I write the book. Root canal springs to mind...

Do have a favourite of your characters?

I have a very soft spot for Bren, the hero of Captive. He's suffered so much in his past and his wounded soul just haunts me.

What are you currently working on?

A contemporary paranormal with bad ass angels.

What is your favourite part of the process of writing?

Honestly? My favourite part is reading back what I wrote the previous day!

What can we expect from Christina Phillips in the future?

This is a good question, and I wish I knew!! I have several book ideas out there so if all the planets align I may well have three different series in the future. That's my plan for world domination, anyway!

Who are your favourite authors?

I have so many fave authors I couldn't possibly list them all! Jean M Auel is a long time favourite of mine. I fell in love with her world building as a teenager and re-read Clan of the Cave Bear every few years. I'm also in the astonishing position of being able to say that many of my favourite authors are also friends! That's kind of surreal and always gives me a warm glow inside!

What are you currently reading?

Nora Roberts Sign of Seven trilogy - these books were a fabulous and unexpected gift and are awesome!

Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or tv series?

Well, surprisingly, I do love BSG!!!!!

Do you have advice for emerging writers?

Don't give up, no matter how rocky the road. It took me nine years before I sold to The Wild Rose Press and then another 15 months before my agent sold Forbidden to Berkley and I've honestly lost count of how many rejections I collected along the way. But once you sell it's all totally worth it :-)

 CAPTIVE is out now from Berkely!! 


  1. Always encouraging to read about the trials and tribulations an author experiences on their journey, particularly the long ones.

    Christina, I've been following your blog tour for CAPTIVE and FORBIDDEN (not always commenting though) and love how you try to reveal something new about yourself or the book at each pit stop. :-)

  2. Thanks so much, Kylie! I do try :-)

  3. Hi Christina, another who loves the "have written" part of the process :-)

    Funny how characters find you (& usually when you least expect them). Looking forward to seeing your bad ass angels!

  4. Hi Christina!
    I think that rocky road makes the end result all the more worth it - kinda like going through labour to get the baby LOL!
    Looking forward to your paranormal books =)

  5. Nicky, I know it's so strange how some characters just waltz into your mind and refuse to leave until you've written their story! Mind you, I'm very glad Maximus did!!!

    Thanks - these angels have been knocking around in the back of my head for about four years :-)

  6. Haha yes I know what you mean, Mel. We used to joke that an elephant's pregnancy was shorter than some of our waiting times to hear back on subs :-)

    Thanks - fingers crossed it all pans out!!

  7. Hey Christina (my fellow BSG fan!), it's always a pleasure talking to you and learning more about you as a person and as a writer.... And so glad you CPs insisted you keep going!!! Good luck with your angels!!

  8. Thank you, Eleni! I thought you might get a giggle from the BSG comment :-)

  9. Yea!!! Three series! You made my day! I really hope i get to read all about them!!

    I do enjoy reading the journey of writing a book for authors i love. especially when i love the book as well! (Yes, Captive was awesome!) I am totally happy that you did not give up. i probably would have cried and never wrote again if i had been rejected. thank goodness you and the other DDU ladies are strong!!!

  10. Oh, sorry, Courtney is practimom. i did not realize that my daughter was signed in her google account!

  11. I too try to follow your tour, Christina.

    It's always good to learn more interesting and fun things about you! I just love your call story, and your agent story as well. You make other authors dare to keep on.

  12. Practimom, thank you so much!! I did cry the first few times I was rejected because I took it personally - never a good thing to do!!

  13. Thanks so much, Kaye. Before I was published there were several authors whose stories of their road to publication inspired me to keep going. I'd love to think my story also helps to inspire others not to give up - hee! I nearly did a Galaxy Quest quote there!

  14. I'm late to the party, but I enjoyed learning some new things about you. Bad ass angels sound like fun, and I have to agree - writing a synopsis before the story is rough! I don't like it :(

  15. Hey, Shelley! thanks so much for popping over to say hi!