Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Christina Phillips is in the Taverna!!

My good internet buddy Christina Phillips is here today - yay!!!

Christina's debut novel,
Forbidden, was released this past week by Berkley Heat. She had a rip roaring success with her Forbidden blog party (remember the one I mentioned & was a part of just last week?).

Christina at the Cocktail Party
at the RWAus conference 2010
I finally met Christina in person this August at the Romance of Australia conference after forming a friendship online via different groups. Christina was also here last year as part of Eleni-fest, and it's great to have her back again.

So without further ado, here's Christina......*applause*

Hi Eleni! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!

Congratulations on the release of your first novel, Forbidden from Berkley Heat!!! I’m squeeing for you – how are you feeling?

Thank you, Eleni!! Before Forbidden was officially released, I thought I'd be a complete nervous wreck on The Day. But as it turned out, I was so exhausted I didn't have any energy left over for nerves! Also, I'd decided a while back to just try and enjoy the process without getting too worked up over things I have no control over and it's working (although my long suffering CPs would probably raise an eyebrow at that confession!!) So, my very long-winded answer to your question is I'm feeling very happy, slightly stunned and every now and then I stop what I'm doing and think, OMG, my book is really out there!!!

How did Forbidden come about? 

Despite my love of historical romances (I cut my teeth on Victoria Holt when I was ten) and the fact I wrote several gory historical stories for English assignments while at school, it never occurred to me to actually write one with the aim of publication until very recently. I had just had two erotic novelettes published with The Wild Rose Press, and was wondering what I should tackle next.

I have no idea why, but one night in the middle of doing admin on the computer, this hot Roman centurion fell into my mind, and he was single-minded in his determination to find his druid princess. Riveted by this unexpected diversion i waited to see what happened, and was rewarded when the High Druid came on the scene creating an intriguing aura of menace. And that was it! The images faded, leaving me with about a million questions. So there was no help for it but to find out who these people were!

What is the attraction of this time period? 

I love the myths, intrigues and cultures of ancient historical times but I have to say I don't think I picked this era to write about - it definitely picked me with that glimpse into Maximus and Carys's lives. Having said that I absolutely loved writing about the first century, mainly because it gave me the freedom to explore a little known culture - the druids - against the backdrop of massive change to their world. There was so much inherent conflict I had a ball :-)

How do you tackle world building?
 Before I started Forbidden I read up about the hierarchy in the Roman Legions so I had a very basic understanding of the career path a patrician was expected to follow. I also researched the Celtic gods and goddesses and immersed myself in that belief culture to better understand the world of my druids. Apart from that the world unfolded in a very organic manner, as if I was there living it and seeing it through my characters' eyes. One thing I found challenging was trying to find out what was indigenous to England at the time. A lot of animals, plants and foodstuff that I'd taken for granted had been there forever were, in fact, either imported by the Romans themselves (so might not have been immediately familiar to my heroine and her people) or later than the first century AD - some didn't arrive until Medieval times.

What would be your ultimate research trip? ;)) 

Hahaha! Yes, I wonder :-) Well I will have to say a leisurely tour of the ancient historical sites in Europe is high on my list!!!

The cover art of both your Berkley covers are fantastic – did you have any input into how it would look? 

The covers are amazing! I've been very lucky. My editor asked for my input on both covers, and came back to me several times during the process for more specific details. My vision for both covers was this - I wanted there to be no doubt about when the books were set, so I was very keen for the heroes to be dressed appropriately. I also wanted both hero and heroine on the covers and for them to evoke an overall feel for the book itself. With Forbidden this was the waterfall and Carys's sacred glade, and for Captive there's this incredible sense of foreboding and dark secrets. Plus, I just about fell off my chair when I saw the fabulous font on Captive!!

What are you working on now? And what’s in the near future for Christina Phillips? 

Right now I'm working on some revisions for Captive, and after that I'm expecting some revisions from my agent on a different project.

Your Forbidden blog party was amazing and well attended. Congratulations. Have you any tips for blog parties? 

Thank you! The party was awesome and I want to thank my wonderful guests for their generosity and time, and to all the visitors who stopped by and made it all such a fabulous success. I wanted to do something special to launch my debut with Berkley and decided a party was the way to go. My two CPs, Amanda Ashby and Sara Hantz, held blog parties for their debut YA releases and I thought it looked a lot of fun :-)

As for any tips, to help spread the word about the party I made a Youtube trailer highlighting Forbidden, the party and my lovely guests. I then held a contest for people to post details about the party and/or the Youtube on their sites to go into a draw to win a signed copy of Forbidden. I also mentioned it on Twitter, Facbook and my newsletter. I made sure to introduce each guest and post links to their website, and respond to every comment left on every post. I also posted updates inbetween my guests and of course there were a LOT of hot warriors to keep entertained during the week!! It was a lot of work, more than I'd anticipated, but I really enjoyed it and I hope everyone who popped by enjoyed themselves too. It certainly brought a lot more traffic to my blog and, I hope, more attention to my books than I might have generated otherwise.

It's always such a pleasure having you here Christina. Thanks for joining me.

Christina is kindly giving away a copy of Forbidden. Thanks Christina!! Just make a comment below to be in the running. 

The comments will be open until the end of Saturday 18th September (Australian CST).

comments for giveaway now closed.

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