Krista Phillips writes Inspirational Contemporary Romance infused with humor and a message of faith and hope. Her goal is to give her readers true entertainment that allows them to laugh, escape, and de-stress from the craziness of life. And if you’ve met Krista, I’m sure you know she has what it takes to put a smile on your face.
Nashville, Tennessee is home for Krista, where she lives with her “uber handsome stay-at-home dad husband whom I am jealous of EVERY single day… and the three most beautiful daughters there ever were.” Krista and her hubby have another bundle of joy on the way, who is due August 1st! They also have a “very dumb beagle” named Emma.
Krista works full-time as a Payroll Manager for a National Corporation, which accounts for her numerous laments during the year-end about W-2s and taxes. She’s worked full-time since she was eighteen, the only breaks being her three maternity leaves and a few vacation days here and there. 🙂 In her copious free time (insert hearty gales of laughter) when she’s not working, caring for her family, or writing, she enjoys shopping, a little more shopping, and did she mention shopping? OK, Krista admits she may not be that obsessive… but she loves to shop, garage sale, and scrapbook—when she can find the time. And she plays a mean game of Euchre.
Join me as we learn more about Krista and her journey to publication.
•Time for a Chocolate Break! What do you mean we just got started? I’m sure Krista won’t object, since she loves the stuff. I broke out a box of See’s, so help yourselves. Now, just a minute there. No need to be pushy. This is virtual chocolate, so you can have all you want. After all, it’s calorie-free!!!
All righty. Let’s get things moving. It’s time to shine the spotlight on Krista . . .
Krista’s Journey Begins
•Some, like me, embark on their writing journeys later in life. You, however, were just a kid. Well, OK, legally you were an adult, but let’s not quibble, shall we? 🙂 So, tell us, just how old were you when you put the first words on the page?
I started my first book not long after I got married at age eighteen, but then babies started to arrive, and my job as payroll guru, wife, and mother took precedence.
•Sounds like life intervened, which it has a way of doing. But the embers of your dream smoldered while you crunched numbers by day and Cheerios dropped from the high chair by night. What fanned the flame and put a fire back under you?
In 2007, I got a misguided package in the mail that completely changed my life. (I bought my house from a Christian author, and said package was the author’s edits from Zondervan.) It was as if God was saying, “Krista, it’s time.”
Three months later, I typed THE END on my first manuscript. Then I realized that I had a ton to learn… so set about learning the craft.
•Wowzers! A book in three months while working and raising three little girls. I gotta know how you did it, so do tell. And since I’m being nosy, care to share what kind of story it was and if it has been stashed in a dark corner or cleaned up so others can see it?
I’m a stubborn woman. 🙂 Everyone says that your first book will NEVER sell, but I rarely listen to the word never. Instead, it challenges me to overcome the odds.
LOL: Mission Jack is a story about Jenny, an accountant who plays by every rule in the book, and Jack, who doesn’t know a rule book exists. They meet in an Internet chatroom, but sparks fly when Jenny becomes convinced that Jack is an online stalker.
I spent all of 2008 and half of 2009 learning the craft and applying what I learned to that first book. I’ve edited it so much that I lost track of draft numbers. But that book has gotten requests for fulls from agents and decent contest scores, so I’m very pleased with that… for now.
A note to newbie writers though: Even though I’m up for a challenge, I’m not an idiot. I understand it’s a far off chance, so while editing, I also started other books. As the cliché goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 🙂 So… write another book!
•I understand 2009 was a great year for you writing-wise. Why is that?
2009 was a huge year of growth for me. I entered my first contest, I finally started to “seriously” submit, although I was very selective about the matter. I queried one agent (I’d sent one in 2008 too but I was SO SO SO not ready), and the one agent requested a full. I also spoke with an agent at conference, and got a request for a full as well. No response from either yet, but I count that as the next “step.”
•Two agent requests for fulls? Hay, girl! That’s way cool. (Keep reading, dear blog visitors, and you’ll understand. :-)) How did you react when you received the news? Did you scare the dog, the neighbors, or even the entire block with your carrying on?
My first “request” was from an e-mail query, and my reaction almost involved a trip to ER to restart my heart. I was so excited and nervous, but then instantly freaked out. What if I hadn’t edited enough? What if she hated it? Like the idiot I am, I e-mailed back, thanking her for the opportunity, and telling her I’d send it in a week. I’ve since learned that when an agent asks for a full, you better darn well be ready to send. Lesson learned!
My second request was at the 2009 ACFW conference, and while my response didn’t require hospitalization that time, I was overjoyed. The first request wasn’t a fluke!
•Entering that first contest takes guts—and is sometimes followed by the urge to down an entire bottle of antacids afterward. Kudos to you for taking such a BIG step. What did you learn from the experience? And did you manage to make it through the weeks of waiting for results without making the Tums people richer?
I am made for contests. It’s like a test for me (which, don’t freak out, but I always loved to take!)
What did I learn? Wow, that is a blog post in itself! I received a lot of GREAT insight on my writing, and was able to fix quite a few problems. It also reminded me that writing is subjective. What one judge loved, the other thought horrible. For one entry, I received two scores in the 90’s and one in the 60’s. Some lament about this (and I did at first) but really… it just shows that our books aren’t for everyone. Or, that the two 90 scores were really easy judges, HA!
The waiting? I was fine until that final week before we were supposed to find out. Then the floor pacing, hyperventalating, and chocolate-eating started. I probably gained about five pounds (would have been ten, but the floor pacing worked some of it off!)
Partners on Krista’s Journey
•Who are the charter members of the Krista Fan Club, those wonderful people who happy dance with you when good things happen, lend a shoulder or an ear when the news is less than ideal, and give you a shove to get you going again when doubt or discouragement pay a visit?
First and foremost would be my husband and children… they sacrifice “Mom” and “Wife” time so I can pursue my dream, and they are so sweet and encouraging about it… most of the time. When they aren’t is when I know that I’ve gone too far!
My mother, because she’s been my biggest champion and the person who thinks editors/ agents are out of their mind for not publishing her baby girl yet. I don’t correct her, because everyone needs a cheerleader on their side! She also reads all my work, and gives me GOOD and honest feedback. LOVE IT!
My critique group … otherwise known as the “Dad-Gum-it group.” Inside joke… sorry! Anyway, they each have their own unique perspective they bring to the table, and they challenge me!
Krista’s Writing Process
•Pantser or Plotter?
Panster … I couldn’t outline/preplot to save my life (okay, maybe for that…)
•Character-driven or Plot-Driven?
Both. A book isn’t a good book without riveting characters and a kickin’ plot!
•First-Person or Third-Person?
Third… It’s my preference to read and comes natural to me when I write.
•Noise or Silence?
I’d love silence but cope with noise. 🙂 It’s the difference between writing 500 words and 5000….
•More Creative in the A.M. or P.M.?
No clue!! I write in the evening… but that is because I work in the mornings. If I’m creative at 8:00 in the morning, I wouldn’t know it because I’m engulfed in numbers by then! (and on Saturdays, I’m still asleep if my kids let me!)
Krista’s Journey Continues
•What are you working on at this time?
I’ve completed the first book of a 3-book series, and have a start on the second two books.
I also completed another novel in 2009, geared towards the “Love Finds You” series which I am really excited about! It’s all about Sandwiches!
Right now, I’m still in the editing process of my Sandwich book, and am just starting to work on another stand-alone novel. Since I am a MAJOR seat-of-the-pants writer… I can’t give a lot of details on it yet. Let’s just say, it’ll have plenty of romance and a ton of humor.
Five Fun Facts About Krista, The Writer
~ I usually write the first sentence of a new novel with almost zero idea of what the book will be about. (And the plotters cringe…)
~ I laugh when I write, usually at myself.
~ Some need long periods of time to sit down and write. Me? I have become an expert at writing for five minutes while a kid is in the bathtub, an hour on my lunch break, in the car on a trip with kids praise music blaring and 3 children singing along… I’m very versatile.
~ I just found out that “My husband and I’s” is not correct grammar. Who knew?!?
~ I refuse to write the word “hey” correctly the first time. It’s always “hay” because I think it’s funny. I change it back in edits. 🙂
Five Fun Facts About Krista, The Person
~ I love CHOCOLATE.
~ I dislike cleaning the house.
~ I am a wee bit of a thespian (some might call it Drama Queen… I like thespian much better!)
~ I hate wearing makeup, it’s such a pain in the hind-end.
~ I dislike it when I read a book and am trying to figure out how hero/heroine are going to finally get together. The tension builds and I get more excited the harder it seems to get, thinking that, wow, the author is doing a GREAT job of keeping me in suspense. Then, THE END. No romance. No get together. They part ways amicably. That’s not a book my friends, it’s a TRAGEDY! (So says the romanceaholic!)
Krista’s Question for You
•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Krista. You gave great answers to my questions. Now it’s time to see what your guests have to say, so go for it.
Keli, you’ve been a WONDERFUL hostess! Thank you!
My question: Caramel-filled chocolate, peanut-butter-filled chocolate, or just plain ol’ chocolate—what’s your pleasure? And if you dare… Dark or Milk?
Learn More About Krista
Visit her website ~ www.kristaphillips.com
Visit her personal blog ~ Reflections by Krista
Friend Her on Facebook ~ Krista Phillips
Follow her on Twitter ~ kristaphillips