Today's guest blogger is multi-published author Phyllis Campbell. Thanks for being my final blogger for the month, Phyllis.
When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published? How many stories did you finish before you were published?
I started writing when my youngest daughter was in kindergarten, so that would have been 1993. For the first four, maybe five years I wrote for fun. I let a few of my neighbors and co-workers read my stories, and they liked them. This encouraged me to start learning more about the art of writing so that maybe one day I would get published. That’s when I joined critique groups and began my learning process. In 2003 I received my first publishing contract, which was a thrill. By this time I had 22 stories started. Most were finished, but needed major revisions. And now in 2008, I have added 25 more.
What influenced you to write?
Believe it or not, it was watching a bad movie. The movie was pretty good at first. A love story, of course. Had a suspenseful plot along with the love story…but it had a terrible ending!! No Happily Ever After. Made me so mad that I wasted my time getting involved with this story then to have the hero and heroine not end up together. UGH! So that night I went to bed and had a dream. I usually dream like I’m watching a movie, so when I woke up, I realized it had the makings of a romance. I grabbed a notebook, and pencil, curled up on the couch and started to write. That’s all it took and I was hooked!! Of course it helped that up to this point I was an avid reader of romance anyway.
What inspired you to write romance?
I was always the shy girl in school. No, don’t laugh, I was. I didn’t get the boyfriends I wanted. Even now I don’t think I really got my Happily Ever After. But back when I was fresh out of school, I was in love with love. I began by writing skits for my church and community. They were comedies, of course, but they always had a love story in it. After I was married was when I started reading romance novels. I loved that feel good moment at the end when I reached the Happily Ever After…the Ahhhh moment is what I call it. I guess I’m still in love with love.
What genre or sub-genre do you write? Why did you choose this genre?
I love historicals!! I can’t get enough of them. I think the reason I love this genre is because the very first romance book I read was A Rose In Winter by Kathleen E Woodiwiss. I was caught up in the mystery and especially the forbidden romance. After that I read all of her books, then moved on to Judith McNaught. I love to read about the Rogue… Gads, those men are sexy!
Tell us about your other works, books, stories, etc.
Well…I do have quite a few published, not only historicals, but contemporaries. Here is my list:
The Man Hunt (Contemporary coming soon to The Wild Rose Press)
Danger In Her Arms (Romantic Suspense with The Wild Rose Press)
Her Knight Of Seduction (Victorian with The Wild Rose Press)
Always, My Love (Victorian with Champagne Books)
Vows Of Deception (Victorian with Champagne Books)
Holding Out For A Hero (Western Historical with Champagne Books)
Queen Of Hearts (Western Historical with Vintage Publishing)
Ten Ways To Melt A Man’s Heart (Romantic Comedy with Champagne Books)
Crazy Cupid (Time-Travel / Contemporary in Valentine’s Day Anthology with Champagne Books)
It Must Have Been The Mistletoe (Contemporary in Christmas Anthology with Champagne Books)
Snow Angel (contemporary short story coming soon with Love Stories Magazine)
What are you working on now?
I just barely finished a Regency titled, The Sweetest Temptation. In a time when everything hinges on the rules of polite society, a man and woman find themselves fighting secret desires. Newly-orphaned Judith Faraday is thrown off kilter by her uninvited attraction to her guardian's son. Spending time with the handsome rogue surpasses the boundary of impropriety, but perhaps no harm will come from the bargain she makes with him to discover what has become of her secret fiancé. Trey Worthington foolishly agrees to help his mother prepare Miss Faraday for her coming out ball, while knowing all along she has her heart set on another. But he can’t explain the sudden possessiveness he feels when men come to court her. Haunted by mistakes from the past, Trey will do anything not to fall in love with Judith, yet passion turns into more. Can a tortured man find happiness? Or will his past come back to end it all?
Another story I’m working on is my first historical paranormal titled Night Secrets. Morgan Thornton has not been human for two years when a witch cursed him. Labeled East Wing Ghost by his family to hide the truth, he seeks to find a way to lift the curse and free himself, and at the same time he’s torn between warning the curious Miss Forester of the dangers lurking in the manor she’s visiting and keeping her in his arms.
How do you write? Are you a panster or a plotter? Is it your characters or your plot that influences you the most?
I’m totally a panster. I really don’t want to know how the story is going to end. I want to be surprised along with my readers. Heehee But lately, I’ve been doing more plotting than I’ve ever done before, and this is quite exciting, too. Go figure. My characters are usually what influences me the most, but because of their goals, motivations, and the conflict, the story becomes exciting.
What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? I mean, I’ve gotten a plot idea from a song I heard, from brainstorming with a classmate. What unusual thing caused you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’
The very first story I ever plotted is my romantic comedy – Ten Ways To Melt A Man’s Heart. It was the end of November or beginning of December. I was in the middle of planning / organizing a Christmas dinner for my church, so I didn’t have time to think of a story. One day while I was at work, I read an article on the Internet. Can’t remember if it was on Yahoo or MSN. The article’s title was about making a man ‘swoon’. At first I rolled my eyes and didn’t even read it, but off and on during the day I kept seeing that header, so finally I read it. All of a sudden a story popped into my head. It was a funny story and I couldn’t wait to write it – but not now. So the next day at work during the slow part of the day I started naming my characters. By that evening, my characters wanted to be written, but I didn’t have time. The more I thought about my story, the more it came together until I HAD to plot it. Before my Christmas dinner, I write one chapter, and that seemed to calm my characters until after the dinner a week later. But once that was over, I was writing my story. It was so fun. In some scenes I laughed so hard I cried.
Tell us some of the things interviewers are saying about your story or stories.
I’ve been very thrilled with my reviews. Back when my romantic comedy was reviewed, the reviewer labeled me “QUEEN OF SEXUAL TENSION”. I laughed over this one, but was proud to wear the crown. After that, other reviewers picked up on it and continued to give me the title with all my books. Gotta love that. Another thing they say is how I keep them turning the pages. They enjoy how I can pull the reader in and keep them spellbound until the last page. Some reviewers call my stories ‘masterpieces’. They have also enjoyed the suspense I add to my stories even if it’s just a little. Oh, and I can’t forget the humor. They love my humor, too.
What advice would you give aspiring writers today?
Do not give up! Learn as much as you can that will help you be a better writer. Don’t let rejection letters keep you down, but brush yourself off and try again. Never say quit!
How do you like your fans to contact you?