Tell us a little about yourself.
Now that we have that fun fact out of the way, I’m also a wife to a super handsome man, Scott, a mom to 4 beautiful princess daughters, and a debut author of Sandwich, with a Side of Romance. I also have a heart to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Defects as well as the miracle of organ donation, as my fourth child was born in 2010 with a rare heart defect and received a heart transplant in 2011.
Did I mention my love affair with brownies?
Ah, brownies! But since the love of brownies is such an ordinary thing, why don’t you tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I have a severe dislike of vegetables. Not great as a mom since I need to push my own kiddos to eat them!
I met my husband when I was 17 in an Internet chat room and married him a year later. Thank Jesus he wasn’t a stalker or madman!
I’ve never eaten a Reuben sandwich, and never plan to!
Hmm, so the chat room is not recommended but thankfully it worked for you. And what is wrong with veggies and Reuben sandwiches? Not that I’m asking, but I do think our readers would like to know what your favorite genre to read is?
I am a Christian romance fan. Historical or contemporary, doesn’t matter. I’m trying to branch out from my normal comfort zone lately, but for entertainment purposes, I still enjoy a good, wholesome romance!
Now there I cannot fault you. Don’t we all love wholesome romance – or should! Tell us about your latest book. I’m especially interested in the setting for your story. I looked it up, and this is a real town. Can you tell us how you came to choose that location?
Sandwich is a real town! I was actually born in Sandwich, IL and lived there until I was five. I still have a lot of family on my dad’s side that lives in that area, so it was fun to revisit in fiction since it’s been too many years since I’ve been back.
Sandwich, with a Side of Romance is about a woman who graduated from the foster care system in Chicago and moves to Sandwich, IL to start a new life. She has a pretty rough background, is a new Christian and still learning the ropes. Her relationship with God is rocky but very real.
Due to her past, she has zero interest in meeting a guy. She only wants to get a job and roots so she can gain custody of her little brother who is still in foster care. But Reuben-the-Jerk is just making that difficult.
Not to mention that God just doesn’t seem to be answering any prayers lately. At least, not how she would like Him to anyway!
Oh, now that sounds very interesting. Just the kind of story I could get lost in. Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I received an email from an editor friend of mine in January 2011. My daughter was in the hospital and not doing well. We spoke on the phone later, and editor friend asked me to send her a proposal of one of my books. She’d read my book at a local writer’s group before and liked what she saw.
That same day, the doctors told us there was no hope for my daughter’s heart, and a heart transplant was the only thing that could save her life.
Through the rest of the journey, God performed very similar “timing” wonders. It really kept publication in perspective for me, which I needed.
I received a call from Ramona Richards, editor friend, in June 2011 offering me a contract from Abingdon Press. Two days later, I signed with my dream agent, Rachelle Gardner.
And the rest, as they say, is history!
It’s always wonderful to hear of God at work in our lives. What inspired you to write this particular book?
My eldest daughter!! She and I brainstormed this book in the parking lot of a grocery store while Dad ran in to get milk. She is the one that came up with the “hair cut” debacle. Later, I paired it with the town of Sandwich and the rest came as I wrote. Yup, I’m a seat of the pants writer, through and through!
How long did you write before you sold your first book?
I started a book a long time ago, but it sat in a drawer for a long time and was half-hearted at best, so I don’t count that. In 2007, God cleared his throat and said in a way only He can, “Krista, sit your booty on the chair and write a book.” And three months later, I typed the end. The next year I spent learning all the things I did wrong writing that book, and in 2009, I wrote Sandwich, with a Side of Romance.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve actually gone back and am working on the first book I ever finished! It is a project near and dear to my heart, and my agent thinks it has promise, so I’m revamping it, hoping to get its new and improved prose into my agent’s hand very soon!
It’s about a woman who meets a man on the Internet. Sound familiar? Except… she’s not 100% sure he is who he says he is….
Ah, another winner in the making from the sounds of it. How do you choose names for your characters?
The same way I chose names for my kids. By what “sounds” good. Sometimes it’s fun to find that perfect name that just FITS the character, you know? But other times, I have fun giving a plain name to a super dynamic character, just for fun, or visa versa.
For Sandwich, my sweet husband came up with the idea to name my hero after a sandwich. I was afraid it’d be too hokey at first, but it grew on me and I’m really happy I went for it!
Maddie was a name my daughter picked when she was helping me brainstorm that first chapter!
How neat! Reuben is a great name for a guy in Sandwich. LOL! Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
I’m a pantster and proud of it! I start with a seed of an idea, and it grows as I write. I usually stop about a quarter through the book and do a little planning though to keep me on task. But plotting as I go and letting my characters surprise me is invigorating and one of the things that makes writing fun!
It makes for a more difficult editing process, though.
I admire those of you who can write first and then plot. I’d be so lost … What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I have 4 children. I have no writing schedule! Seriously, I take advantage of snippets of time, during nap, or when they are playing (well, the 5 minutes here and there when I’m not having someone yell MOM to me!) I take advantage of times when my husband is home to get a little quiet writing done, and when on deadline, Starbucks is my friend! (the place, not the coffee… I usually have water and a cookie!)
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
I don’t view my faith and my writing as separate. My faith is part of who I am. As a believer in Jesus, my hope and prayer is that the words that pour out of me are filtered through the faith that I have in Jesus Christ and that it shows naturally on the pages of my books.
Thus, the spiritual themes in my books are many times things I’ve been struggling with or struggles I’ve had to come to grips with in the past, or areas where God has been working on my own heart.
Is there any scene in your book that came from a real-life happening?
Well, the garage sale scene isn’t real, but I’m an avid garage saler so I wrote this from extreme experience. Finding the “mother-load” garage sale is ALWAYS the greatest feeling!
I’d never be as, um, aggressive, in my negotiating as Allie was though.
Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
I LOVE to connect with readers!
I blog about life as a wife, mom, daughter of God, writer, and mom of a special needs kiddo at http://www.kristaphillips.com. For all you writers out there, I am also part of a group blog at thewritersalleys.blogspot.com
I’m also co-hosting a Facebook Party on 9/7, which will have a TON of giveaways (and you can preregister to win a Kindle Touch!) at www.facebook.com/asandwichfortheroad . We’ll be talking lots about books and sandwiches and all sorts of fun things, so I’d love to see readers there as well!
Krista has offered a free copy of her book to someone who comments. We will keep this open until Saturday, September 1 so keep the comments coming. I will email the lucky commenter with the news.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Sandwich, with a side of Romance please go to http://abingdonpress.com/forms/displayImage.aspx?pcid=2850935. Just a hint. I’ve read it and I think you’ll want to, too. Only problem is, you won’t want to stop there.
Krista, I’ve enjoyed having you stop by today. I wish you well with Sandwich, with a side of Romance. I believe your readers are in for a treat.