The road to being published is not an easy one. Somehow there is the thought of you write a book, query it, and it's published. The reality is much different. It's fraught with many rejections, perfecting your writing, and finding a story that excites both you and publishers.
Christina tells us a bit about her road.
Thank you, Sia, for inviting me to Over Coffee today!
I was very excited to read the other day that a possibly habitable planet has been found orbiting a nearby star. Well, nearby in astronomical terms – twenty light years or roughly 190 trillion kilometers away from Earth. So I don’t think we’ll be visiting any time soon!
The scientists had been observing the red dwarf star Gilese 581 for eleven years before they discovered this planet in the system, which they’ve called Gilese 581g. With a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, and having studied in detail a couple of thousand stars, I can only imagine the excitement when a planet was discovered with the capability of having water on its surface – a prerequisite for life as we know it.
Two other planets had already been discovered in this system – one too near the sun so it was too hot to sustain life and one so far away it was way too cold. Gilese 581g is just the right distance away from its sun – in the so-called Goldilocks Zone.
Eleven years. That got me thinking. It was eleven years ago that, after immigrating to Australia from the UK, I decided to get serious about my writing. I started off without a clue about the craft, my efforts boomeranging into deep space (aka the slush pile and form rejections). After a few years I graduated to personal rejections on my work and then onto revisions. The black hole receded. I was finally entering a solar system!
But like so many solar systems in this breathtaking galaxy, just because it looks right and feels right doesn’t necessarily mean it is right. My efforts at writing contemporary romance hovered in the cold zone. My paranormal romances caught the attention of several agents, but ultimately none led to representation. I like to think of these as incinerating in the too hot Zone!
Eventually, after nine years, I sold two erotic novelettes to a small e-press. I had written them as an experiment to stretch my writing muscles, but it was as if a mini-supernova illuminated my muse. I discovered I loved writing the darker, erotic stories. I would write a full length erotic romance with the aim of hooking an agent!
Vampires, demons and bad-ass angels were hot. I would write an erotic paranormal romance. And into my imagination stormed a Roman warrior searching for his Druid princess lover.
Uh, what? No, that would never fall into the Goldilocks Zone! But it was no good. My hero, Maximus, refused to leave. And within five minutes I didn’t want him to leave, because who on earth was this Roman Centurion and why would a princess – a Druid and, as such, one of Rome’s bitterest enemies – have fallen in love with him?
It took me nine months to write FORBIDDEN, my debut ancient historical romance and a genre I hadn’t written about since high school. There was an honorable warrior, a brave princess and an insane villain, and threaded throughout a fantasy element involving vindictive gods and goddesses.
I loved writing this book. I knew it was a long-shot because of its unusual time period – AD 50 – its protagonists – a Druid princess and Roman Centurion – and even its setting – ancient Wales.
But within a month of first querying agents, I was offered representation. And while I know signing with your dream agent and discovering a possibly habitable planet are hardly comparable, I’m not convinced the scientists who found Gilese 581g could have been much more excited than I was the night I realized I had finally found my very own Goldilocks Zone :-)
- What about you? Have you had an idea storm into your imagination and not want to leave?
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He was a master of seduction - but no match for the magical allure of the woman he wanted most...
Carys knew from the moment she first spied on Maximus in his naked barbarian glory that he was a dangerous Roman centurion - his taut, battle-scarred flesh marking him as a fearless warrior. But her desire for him was as undeniable as it was illicit.
Charged by his emperor to eliminate a clan of powerful Druids in Britain, Maximus never expects his mission to be thwarted by the clan's ethereal princess, Carys, his daring voyeur. Falling under her spell, he doesn't realize her true heritage - until he captures her heart as well as her body.
As Carys's loyalties are twisted, and freedom is no longer her single-minded obsession, an avenging former lover threatens to crush Maximus's people into oblivion. Now Carys and Maximus must overcome the devastation of war and face the ultimate sacrifice if their forbidden love is to survive. EXCERPT
"Set in the time of the Roman Empire, Phillips' wonderful story of the romance between a Roman soldier and a Celt is more than entertaining"
Romantic Times Review, 4 Stars
Christina Phillips has always loved writing, and while her efforts in eighth grade usually involved space ships, time travel and unfortunate endings, as soon as she discovered romance novels a whole new world opened up. She now writes ancient historical romances about strong heroines and gorgeous warrior heroes who, no matter how torturous the journey, are guaranteed their happily-ever-after. Christina was born in the United Kingdom, but now lives in sunny Western Australia with her real-life hero and their three children.
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