After a successful fifteen year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers.
She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories.
Ms. Phillips lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom.
In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Ms. Phillips at CarlyPhillips.
TRI: Thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule to be here. Do you remember how we met? I think of it as very special. I got up early one morning to check twitter and saw you had tweeted about needing a small carrier for your dog. I was in awe that you would tweet to ask someone’s advice. I mean the Carly Phillips, famous author of over 15 years of romance books, needs to know where to get a small carrier for her dog. I had two yorkies, at the time, so I knew what you were looking for. I quickly when on the web and found you one and tweeted it back. Not believing for one moment that you would respond to me because I was so sure you would have had millions of responses. But, to my surprise you did and very graciously thankful for my response. Since then we have been tweeting back and forth, especially when I discovered you were an All my Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital fan. The rest is history…a nice one…Who does not love an author with your amazing history of wonderful love stories, who takes the time to respond to a reader or a newbie, like myself?
CP: I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t remember but I am so glad you reminded me! Thank you! I love social media because I love interacting with readers and other writers, people who love the same soap operas I do (you know I’m a soap junkie). I’m so touched that you remember meeting me online!
TRI: I will never forget. So tell me what got you started in writing? I read you were a lawyer but an unhappy one.
CP: Well yes but there’s a misconception that I left law to write. I left law because it made me emotionally unstable and insane. OK slight exaggeration but truly it was way too much for me. And so I left law, we moved out of NYC, we decided to start a family … and I began reading again. I fell in love with Romance and decided I had to try to write one. Seven years, ten manuscripts and too many rejections to count, later, I sold my first book. That was 1999.
TRI: As a temp I worked at a law firm and recalled it to be very intense. So, I understand totally. Was there an author, when you started out writing that you wished at the time you could be like, i.e., successful in their writing careers?
CP: Yes! In larger scope, LaVyrle Spencer and Catherine Coulter. As I found Romance and Harlequin, I wanted to be like the Harlequin Temptation authors who had a solid career of 2-3 books a year with the line of books. I met my best friends when I ultimately sold to Temptation, Janelle Denison, Leslie Kelly and Julie Leto. All originallyTemptation writers.
TRI: Who has influenced you a lot in your writing career? Is this person your favorite author, if not who is your favorite author?
CP: Oh wow. I can’t say there is one person. I have been so fortunate and lucky to cross paths with so many talented people who have had an impact on my career. I can say, former Harlequin editor, Brenda Chin, who bought my first book and believed in me long before that, absolutely set me on the right path.
TRI: I know marriage is not easy and no I have not been married before, but I just know relationships take time and a lot of patience, I believe I read somewhere you are on your 24 years together. With that said, and being one of the Queens’ of Romance fiction how does that make you feel?
CP: OMG I’m a Queen of Romance fiction? THANK YOU! That’s so very humbling! J I feel so lucky to be in a happy, stable relationship with my best friend. We met in college and no matter the ups and downs, through solid communication and respect, we’re still together 25 years later.
TRI: That is amazing and sadly rare, but I do feel that in relationships, communication and respect is key. Before your interview I did some research and found you are very open with your readers. I liked that about you. As a long time reader of romance, I love authors who are so open and relate to their readers―down to earth. Why is it important for you to do that?
CP: Thank you! I’m just me. I’ve always just been me … even when my books took off. When my girls were younger, I kept their pictures out of my “sharing” but the rest? I’m pretty much an open book. Now my daughters are 23 and 18 … so I can share even more. That said it’s a careful sharing. I still protect my immediate universe and home life.
TRI: You have two daughters. How do they feel about their mom being famous and a fabulous romance author? Are any of them interested in the writing bug? What advice would you offer to them if they were?
CP: Luckily (or unluckily) this is all they know, mom as a romance author, so they’re used to it! Now that they’re older they come to conferences, the older one acts as my assistant at signings. It’s great. It really is. The oldest is a reader and may have the writing bug. Not the youngest. And that’s fine. I want them to follow their own path! But if they want this path, the advice I’d give is this: nothing happens without hard work and a lot of paying your dues.
TRI: I think that is an awesome experience for them. How has the industry changed for you? I understand you’ve self-publish some of your stories. Do you prefer self-publishing from traditional publishing? Why?
CP: The honest truth is that as good as my publishers have always been to me, I looked at the raw numbers and knew I had to make a change. I needed to be able to control covers, price, length, and even more of content. I can do that with self publishing and I absolutely love it―all of it. Even the constant work because it really is a 24/7 job. As much as all writers think about writing ALL. THE. TIME … when you add self- publishing, you’re building your own world/mini-empire. You need to hire professionals to handle things the publisher used to do without you thinking about it. I used to think it would be overwhelming. I never knew I’d take to it and love it.
TRI: That is great. It gives me hope, because sometimes I think it is overwhelming. What advice would you offer a newbie author?
CP: You only get ONE first impression so make it a good one. Just because you finished the first book you ever wrote doesn’t mean you should self-publish it. Maybe it’s a learning experience. My first 10 books were learning experiences. Granted I didn’t have the self publishing option back then but I know it wouldn’t have been smart to self-publish those early books.
TRI: Good advice. I see your Dare to Hold story from the Dare to Love Series is coming out in a couple of weeks. I read the excerpt and can’t wait to get my hands on it. I had the pleasure of meeting Nora Roberts and got to ask her what keeps her going. Her face lit up and she simply said, “I love the work.” She actually put me to shame. But she is right you got to love it, breath it, live it. Just as readers we love it, breathe it and live it. That is what keeps us coming back. What keeps you going?
CP: I have to quote Nora. I love the work. All of it. The writing, the promoting, the planning. All of it. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d still write. J
TRI: I feel the same way about the lottery. I see you are attending the Readers for Life Literacy Signing in New York in July. Is this a dear to your heart topic?
CP: Literacy is a very important topic … and I have been signing there since I first published. I love meeting readers at the different venues every summer. It’s always so much fun and the money goes to a fabulous cause.
TRI: Awesome! Last but not least, about your furbabies … I think it is great that you integrate them into your website. I love the way they answer questions on your behalf. Do you ever include them in your stories?
CP: Oh yay! I get to talk about my doggies! I used to include stories with animals. Not so much anymore … but my entire life revolves around my dogs. Their schedule is my schedule and they don’t let me forget it. I have a soft coated wheaten terrier girl named Bailey and a Havanese boy named Brady.
TRI: Yep, I totally understand. I still have a yorkie. She is going to be 15 next month. And I just rescued a beagle mix and she is as big as a horse, well almost. It was a shock, being used to small dogs. But she is a sweet heart. What is ahead for Carly Phillips the author?
CP: More writing! More Dare to Love series stories. Each book in the series stands alone but it’s fun to read in order too. Up next is Dare to Hold (Scott & Meg) 4/14/15. I’m currently writing Dare to Rock (Avery & Grey) 8/4/15. After that, I’ll be finishing up the legitimate and NY Dare siblings. Then I have three “illegitimate” Dare siblings to write if I feel reader reaction to the stories is still strong and they want them. I recently had an idea to keep the Dare stories going beyond that … but I can’t tell. I haven’t even told those closest to me yet! So we’ll see. I love, love, love what I am writing. If I weren’t writing the Dares, I’d still be writing sizzling hot contemporary series.
TRI: Sounds like a lot of work ahead of you. So, with that said, I want to thank you so much for allowing me to talk with you. I wish you success in your endeavors and I will let you know what I think of Dare to Hold after I’ve read it. My best…
CP: Thank you so much for asking to interview me. It’s been fun! I hope you love Scott and Meg in Dare to Hold!
TRI: From what I’ve read, I am pretty sure I am going to love it…