Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Harper Impulse Day Two!

Greetings and welcome to Day Two of our week with Harper Impulse! It is my extreme pleasure to introduce the multi-published, uber-talented contemporary author Charlotte Phillips, who graciously submitted to an interview (poor girl) and brought with her a lovely excerpt from her latest release, Your Room or Mine? Sounds FABULOUS! LOL

Charlotte Phillips writes modern, fun, it-could-happen-to-you stories for Harlequin KISS/Mills & Boon Modern Tempted and sexy contemporary stories for HarperImpulse.

She lives in Wiltshire, England, where she squashes her writing in between looking after her family, who have been taught not to notice that she's rubbish at housework. Her stories are fuelled by lots of coffee and years of daydreaming.

Let's get things started by asking a few questions to get everyone better acquainted. First, tell us how your fabulous writing career began!

I’ve always been an avid romance reader – I love the escapism of them, the happy-ever-afterness that lifts your spirits. When I was a student in my early twenties I had a try at writing one of my own but it never came to anything. Life got in the way, as it often does. Writing was a vague dream of mine that I never had time to do anything about until I had my youngest daughter five years ago and suddenly I had some time on my hands. My husband was massively encouraging and I eventually subbed a partial to Mills and Boon. To my amazement an editor contacted me with revisions. That story went through two rounds of revisions and there were hefty rewrites, and then it was rejected. But the editor asked me if I’d like to work on a new story with her, developing my skills. I jumped at the chance and was halfway through a new story when I entered New Voices 2012. I ended up finalling in the top four of that competition and my success really followed that. The following year I sold my first story (Secrets of the Rich & Famous)  to Mills & Boon RIVA and there’s where it all began.

That's an amazing story! How cool! So do you stick to the contemporary romance genre or write across lines?

I am in the Contemporary Romance genre and it fits me very well, but I wouldn’t rule out trying anything different in the future. I’m very open to ideas and I’m learning so much with every new story I write. My long-term goal is to write a single title and I have some ideas for that cooking away in the background.

Yep. LOL Sounds like me. New ideas always percolating. Since we're broaching the topic of contemporary romance, tell us what heat level you prefer to write. And what's the heat level you prefer to read? Are we keeping that bedroom door open or closed?

I read across all heat levels without preference, definitely I think if a story is strong enough it doesn’t need to rely on hot sex for me to enjoy it. I started out writing warm and cosy – my couple would have a bit of a snog and then the hero would slam the bedroom door with his foot and it would cut to breakfast. That kind of level! My first couple of books for Harlequin are pitched at this level. But as I grew in confidence as a writer I wanted to experiment with writing sex scenes to see how a hotter level might work with my overall style. The result was Your Room Or Mine? which is very hot! There are quite a few sex scenes in there and they are pretty detailed.

Sounds like my kind of story!! What about self-publication? Have you ever considered that as an alternative avenue in your career?

I haven’t considered it but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t in the future. I do think it gives you a lot of freedom to manipulate the price point and boost ratings and visibility, but I also think there is such a flood of self-pubbed stuff on the market right now that it can be hard for the reader to be sure they are buying quality editorial, and having the backing of an established publisher is an advantage in that respect. I also think writing is quite an isolating job, and since signing with Harper Impulse in particular I’ve loved having a fantastic group of writers around me, we have a forum for chat which is always busy and there is lots of information sharing and support.

Nothing in the world is better than having a group of supportive writing peers watching your back. That's for sure. So what can we expect in the future. Do you have any projects in the works right now?

I’ve just submitted the second book in the Do Not Disturb trilogy for Harper Impulse. These are three standalone stories but they are linked by the same backdrop, an exclusive boutique hotel in London. Room Service (working title) follows the story of Matt Stanton, a playboy American pro tennis player for whom image is everything and Layla Jones, the Guest Services Agent at the hotel whose job is to meet his every demand. Matt is lying low in London in the wake of a press scandal and Layla, for her own reasons, loathes all things celebrity.

That sounds outstanding. Love the premise. What about your personal reading preferences? What’s on your nightstand (or downloaded onto your Kindle) right now?

Far too many things, some of which will sit there for months while the to-read list keeps growing. At the moment I’m reading Call For The Dead by John le Carre, partly because I find it hard to read romance when I’m writing, it can make me crash my head on the desk in despair that I’ll never be as good as that! And also because I like thrillers and spy stories, and my fifteen year old son had just finished it and handed it down.

LOL! I know the feeling, my friend. Who is your favorite author and why?

I have a lot of favourite authors but I would have to say Stephen King as I’ve read so much of his work. I especially love his earlier stuff, I think his characters are terrific and he is a master of childhood nostalgic storytelling. I recently read his ‘Full Dark, No Stars’, a collection of four stories all of which were superb.

Really? I have that on my nightstand right now...or somewhere in the teetering pile of books in my bedroom. I'll have to move it closer to the top of the stack! Let's talk a little about your home life. Does your husband read your work? And, if so, what’s his reaction?

My husband doesn’t read my work as such, but he’s very good for bouncing ideas around if I’m struggling with something. I did ask his advice when I started writing hotter sex scenes, but he was bemused by the kind of language used (no harsh descriptive words etc. and the inclusion of emotion) and his suggestions were all a bit too FHM/Loaded!

LOL! I asked my husband about that once...and only once. Ahem. Enough said? Give me the five top words your best friends would use to describe you.

Can’t say no to anyone. (I really need to learn how to do this. I always have far too much on and end up angsting that nothing gets done well!)

Those are a great five! LOL Any pets?

I have a dachshund called Dave who is great company when I’m at home writing. There is a lovely office with desk upstairs in our house which I’m supposed to be sharing with my husband, but it never gets used because Dave (who isn’t allowed upstairs) sits on the bottom step and howls if I go upstairs for any length of time. My writing space is now the kitchen table while he snoozes in the corner!

That's hilarious! I have a German Shorthair who prefers to sleep standing with her head in my lap while I write. Works out great until she falls over, poor thing.

Charlotte it has been my great honor to have you here today to share with us all the wonderful facets of your life! And now...for the moment we've all been waiting for...I give you Your Room or Mine?


1 cheating ex, 3 bottles of white wine, an emergency pep talk from the girls… and this seemed like a good idea at the time:
Izzy Shaw’s Getting-Over-Him Action List
1. eBay his entire collection of football memorabilia and spend all profits on treating myself to fabulous new wardrobe.
2. Turn plans for ‘Loved-Up Mini-Break’ at exclusive boutique hotel into a weekend of spa pampering, me-time and shopping at Harvey Nicks.

3. Don’t get even, get even better. Have one night stand with drop-dead gorgeous stranger – Mr. Tall, Dark & Handsome in the hotel lobby is just what I need!
Your room or mine? Go on Izzy…

You had a one-night-stand?’  Shauna stared at Izzy, incredulous. ‘You?’

Izzy took a defensive sip of her coffee because she still couldn’t quite believe her own behaviour, and glanced around the café to make sure no one had heard.

‘It WAS on the ‘Get-over-Him List,’ she pointed out, keeping her voice low and hoping Shauna and Suzy might do the same. ‘You suggested it. Right there at number nine, right after eat your own body-weight in ice-cream, blow some cash on a new wardrobe and get plastered on white wine.’ She paused. ‘All of which I did.’ Shauna was shaking her head.

‘It wasn’t a real suggestion. I’d had a couple of drinks. It was just one of those things that come up when you brainstorm. I never for one second thought you’d actually DO that one. If I did, I would have told you about all the caveats that come with it.’

Oh for Pete’s sake.


‘Exactly.’ Suzy, veteran reader of womens’ magazines, leaned in as if about to impart a great secret. ‘There are rules you need to follow if you’re going to do something as reckless as have a one-night-stand.’

‘Go on.’

She flapped a hand at Izzy, the other clapped to her forehead.

‘Don’t rush me, don’t rush me, I’m trying to remember. OK, first and foremost, you don’t pick anyone you’re likely to encounter in daily life. Far too complicated. No bosses, no brother’s-bestmates, no colleagues…'

‘That’s fine then,’ Izzy said with a note of triumph. ‘Box ticked.’

Suzy nodded approvingly.

‘There’s more. You make it clear from the outset there won’t be anything further than this one night.

Izzy took a sip of her coffee and nodded.

‘Ground rules. I did all of that. I’m not a complete idiot.’

‘Safe sex?’ Shauna said and Izzy inhaled a mouthful of coffee.

‘Of course,’ she managed, trying not to cough.

‘And you can give him no way of finding you afterwards. No phone number swapping.’

‘Even if you want it to be more?’ Izzy asked with sudden interest. Not, of course, that she did.'

‘Especially if you want it to be more. They never look that good the next morning you know. You go to sleep thinking you’re with an Adonis and then you wake up and he looks like a troll.'

Whatever Izzy was uncertain of regarding the previous night, she was sure about one thing.

‘He wasn’t a troll,’ she said. She could hardly think of him without her stomach melting.

‘Trust me, he was. They always are. The magic never extends past the next morning,’ Shauna insisted. ‘Best to bail out of these things while it’s all going well.’ She sat back in her chair and folded her arms authoritatively. ‘Basically, what it all comes down to is one thing: A one-night-stand can only ever be a success if it’s anonymous. Meddle with that and it can only end badly.’

~ * ~
Find the lovely Charlotte Phillips here on the web:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

And here's where you can find Your Room or Mine?AMAZON US / AMAZON UK / GOOGLE PLAY / BARNES & NOBLE



Carmel said...

Another great interview. Brilliant to get an insight into another authors world. I can identify with so much that Charlotte shares (in particular the housework issue!) Love the extract of Your Room or Mine. I'm off to buy it now!

AJ Nuest said...

Thank you, Carmel! Fabulous to see you!! Still waking up here. Need...more...coffee...

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I am late, as usual. I've been spending too much time in my writing cave. Love, love, loved the excerpt. Wishing you the best of luck in your writing career.