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Interview with Krista Phillips

Our author interview today is with Krista Phillips. Krista is a beautiful, busy wife and mother, but began to seriously think about writing a few years ago. She loves shopping and chocolate, but doesn’t like vegetables! Welcome, Krista. I found it exciting to read of your writing journey and the success you’re having. Her debut novel by Abingdon was just released.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
In one word, God. I look back at my whole journey and see His hand all over the place, holding me back from making stupid mistakes and pushing me to go beyond myself so I don't have missed opportunities. He also gave me the ability to journey through publication during a really rough time in my life, which forced me to look at this whole writing gig through a new set of lenses, GOD'S. My daughter had a heart transplant in 2011, and spent much of her first year of life in the hospital. During that time is when my publishing contract with Abingdon came about. Without His guiding me and walking with me each step of the journey, I wouldn't be where I am today.

A beautiful answer, Krista. What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
I'm constantly trying to eke out every extra moment of time from my day, but I'll confess I don't always use it wisely. I'm the mom of four beautiful young girls and juggling all that entails isn't easy. On top of that, my youngest has super special medical needs. There's also the oh-too-enticing draw of Facebook... yes, I think we ALL need to manage our time there better!

“Eke out every extra moment from my day.” Love this and oh, I bet that is so true with your busy schedule! How, though, do your faith and your spiritual life play into the picture and, hence, affect your storytelling?
My faith in Jesus is EVERYTHING to me. While I don't aim to preach a sermon in my books, my hope and prayer is that people see Jesus in my writing and are prodded toward a Savior who loves them and wants to walk the journey of life with them. My goal is to show real characters facing challenging circumstances and learning to rely on a very big God who loves them.

Well said and probably well done in your new book, which I’d like to put on my TBR list. It’s a tricky line to not be ‘preachy’ in our works, but yet let God shine forth isn’t it? What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career, Krista?
Seeing my book on a bookshelf for the first time. It's one of those things writers dream about. We go to the store just to dream. We look at the spot and say... AAHHHH!!! Maybe someday, that's where MY book will be. So to walk into a store for the first time and actually SEE my book there, yeah. That was pretty cool.

I think so, too and remember that thrill. Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I've always had this crazy imagination. I see some little tidbit and my brain just conjures up the craziest story it can to match it. So, most of my stories come from a tiny idea that I sit down and embellish. Sandwich, with a Side of Romance was actually birthed in the car with my eldest daughter. I thought it'd be fun to show her how the process worked. She picked a character and named her Maddie, and decided this girl should be a hairstylist. I then told her something really bad had to happen to her at the beginning of the book to start things off right.

Thus, you have Maddie getting fired for a bad hair job... and the customer, of course, is our hero!

I also use things I'm passionate about and incorporate them into my story. Maddie graduated from the foster care system, which is a big problem in our country. Everyone wants babies... but the older ones have a much more difficult time finding their forever family. My husband and I were foster parents for a short time a few years back, and seeing kids desperate for the love of a family just broke my heart, and I wanted to incorporate that in one of my books.

What an amazing talent, I’d say and look, it works for you! Wonderful. What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I write serious humor. Forgive the pun, but I like to sandwich the deep meat of the story in a fun, slightly sarcastic voice. My stories touch hard issues and feature characters with very real issues that don't have pat answers. In fact, many times I think the answer becomes the fact that sometimes we have to accept that there is no easy answer.

This does sound unique and do believe you’ve hit on a truth here. Finish this question. What or whom has influenced you in your writing journey?
The "whom" answer is so long, I don't even know where to start! I'll name just a few though. My mom, for one, has always been my #1 cheerleader and believed in me even when I severely doubted myself. My first critique group had a HUGE influence on me as well. They took a fledgling author who knew nothing about writing well and taught her the basic rules of the road, which I know had to be painful for them! I was QUEEN of adverbs and had no clue that POV meant more than writing in 3rd person. I also got connected with a fantastic local writers group, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, who all took me under their wing and encouraged me. In fact, that is where I met the woman who would later be the editor who acquired my first book! And I can't forget my Writer's Alley friends. We started a writer's blog for fun, but quickly became much more than just writer's who blog together. We became prayer warriors for each other, confidants, cheerleaders when good news came, and shoulders to cry on when it was not-so-pleasant. I love those ladies more than I could ever express!

I’d say my Mom, also a writer, had an influence on me, too, but one I didn’t realize until she was gone. As Moms ourselves, let us remember their influence-as we may be influencing future writers also. You certainly found gold in your friends and groups. Wonderful. Any parting words?
It was so much fun to join you all here! I LOVE connecting with readers and other writers, so drop me a line or connect on Facebook! ( I know that every moment is precious, and really appreciate your taking the time to stop by and read a little about my journey and my book! Know that I pray for YOU, my readers, that God would bless your journey and guide your paths.

Love and prayers!

Thanks for sharing with us, Krista. I wish you the very best with your writing career and your precious family.

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