Rose Phillips, a good friend and great writer, recently published her first novel, CUTTING TO THE CHASE.
How do you fix something you didn't break? Lizzy certainly doesn't have the answer. All she knows is that she needs to survive senior year, then get as far away from her dysfunctional family as possible. In the meantime, when she can't take the pressure, she eases it with the sharp edge of a razor blade. But, she's been cutting deeper and her thoughts are growing darker. Until she meets Michael. With him she finds relief. Now, maybe—just maybe—she can make it.
It was a great read and I found it really got into the mind of a teenager struggling with some grown up issues.Well, on to the interview.
When I first met you, you wrote historical fiction. How did you get from there to writing contemporary YA?
When I was focused on historical fiction, I was working in education. It was a wonderful distraction, so different from my job. I wore many hats as an educator including literacy consultant for at-risk adolescents and principal. While I’ve left that career behind, I guess it didn’t leave me. The kids I worked with, their stories, their raw honesty are part of the fabric of who I am. One day, Lizzy started talking to me. Just in snippets at first.
It was the fall of 2015, and I decided to take a break from historical fiction and fully participate in NaNoWriMo without worrying about research. So it made perfect sense to explore Lizzy’s story. She was hurting, and I wanted to find out why. Cutting to the Chase poured out in less than a month, surpassing the required word count for NaNo. While it underwent many revisions, including a full rewrite of POV, the story has essentially remained the same.
Once you signed with your publisher, was there any part of the publishing process that surprised you?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised that my opinion has been considered. I have read so many horror stories—from incompatible editors to disastrous covers—that I was fully prepared for frustration. But I was assigned a terrific editor and my input was considered for the cover and included a preview of it for approval. Working with the EvernightTeen team has been all positive.
Do you have a favorite character that you’ve written? That someone else has written?
I’m still a little in love with my main character, Brandan “Raven” Murray, in my historical fiction Raven’s Path. Since I feel I have again grown as a writer, I want to comb back through that manuscript and, no doubt, tighten it up. I’m looking forward to spending time with him again.
Do you have a book you love but are embarrassed to admit you enjoy?
I can’t think of any.
I know you have two dogs you love very much; can you tell us about them?
Ginger and Spice are little Lhasa Apso sisters. They’re now ten years old. Lhasas, historically, were raised to be Tibetan guard dogs inside the palace (Chows were outside). So, instinctively, they are calm quiet dogs, always nearby, listening. They will bark up a storm when someone arrives but stop as soon as they recognize the person. They do everything together. So much so that we call them the two-head beast because we’re convinced they don’t know they are two separate animals. They bring plenty of laughter and pure joy into our lives.
It’s a tie between blue and purple.
Anything without meat but with lots of cheese. I mean LOTS of cheese.
What are your hobbies, past and present? I know you used to sing and act….
Performing has always been a part of my life. My husband and I met doing musical theatre. A group of us founded our own theatre company, which ran for over 20 years. We wrote our shows, a mix of song and dance and comedy. Lots of comedy. All profit for these cabaret style shows went to charity. It was a wonderful way to contribute to our community and scratch our collective creative itch at the same time. For a few years, I also sang in a trio with my husband. That was good fun.
Two years ago (this July), we gave our lives a good shake and moved to Vancouver Island. While my husband is enjoying participating in a choir, I haven’t found a performance niche yet. I must admit, I haven’t looked too hard. So far, the writing seems to be feeding that side of my brain. And gardening. I’m loving the novelty of gardening.
Where can we find you online?
Oh, in far too many places these days! This two-persona approach to an online presence is keeping me hopping!
I’ve just started a series of interviews with YA authors. Do drop by and check out the fun I’m having playing with formatting. It makes for a great distraction from writing. ;0)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosephillipsya (@rosephillipsya )
Twitter: https://twitter.com/roserambles1 @roserambles1
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Rose a bit, I know you'll enjoy her book!