CLG: I took a trip through your website, http://www.carlyphillips.com, and I noticed that you have written a lot of books. How long have you been writing?
Carly: I’ve been writing for about thirteen years now. I started when my first daughter was born. I wrote ten completed manuscripts, revised over and over, and they were rejected over and over for about seven years until I received “The Call”. A long process but there’s a definite learning curve and a lesson to be learned from each rejection.
CLG: I read your CINDERELLA MOMENT article. Great story. That took some determination to contact your publicist and create the basket and send your book to Kelly Ripa. Do you think this creative spirit to market and promote one’s self is a necessity for authors today?
Carly: Thank you! I believe that everyone who writes a book has talent. There is a degree of luck involved in how far you go in this business, but there is also a degree of “make your own luck”. You need to be in the right place at the right time (for example, I needed to be watching television that particular morning when Kelly joked about a book club), but you also need to go after what you want. Think outside the box. Don’t wait for luck or fate to shine on you. Go out there and try to make your own. There’ll be many failures but as I said above, every one you can learn from. Without a doubt, the first thing to do is write the book, but you should also be aware of the business, how it works, the people within it, and what you can do to promote yourself. There are ways of starting small that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and you can build your career over time.
CLG: What are you three guilty pleasures?
Carly: Soap Operas (ABC), shopping, and surfing the internet.
CLG: There is the rule (and I have NO idea who began it) that says writers should write EVERY DAY. Do you follow this rule? Do you have a writing schedule? Do you think “serious” writers should have schedules? (LOL-TRIFECTA question here!)
Carly: Hahaha! I guess I don’t follow the rules. The fact is, you finish a book faster when you write every day. You become part of the characters and it is easier to write when you write every day. If you’re a stay at home mom with a life, a husband, friends, kids, dog etc., you just can not always write every day. At least I can’t. I do have a schedule in that I have a deadline, and I know at what point I need to buckle down and turn out 25 pages a week in order to finish the book on time. I am not a writer who pours out tons of pages a day and I can’t make excuses for it. I’m doing what I can do! Serious writers can’t NOT write. When they write, how they choose to write, how much they write, is up to them. I really believe nobody has the right to tell someone what makes them a “real” writer.
CLG: What is the one thing that makes you feel the most feminine, and why?
Carly: Makeup and a good hair day. Sorry that’s two things but they really do go together! 😉
CLG: What new work are you writing now?
Carly: I’m trying to finish up HOT NUMBER, the last in the “the Hot Zone” series about three sports publicist sisters and their sexy heroes, which is due out next year. June 2006 I believe. Then I move on to a brand new story for the next hardcover also out next summer. Tentatively, that’s titled Cross My Heart. But I’m also gearing up for two brand new books this August 2005: Hot Number and Summer Lovin’. My publisher HQN is doing a fantastic “Win a Makeover in L.A.” promotion with a Hollywood cosmetics company! Details will be on my website soon!
CLG: There is always an almost painfully sexy man one of your stories. What makes a man sexy to you?
Carly: A man needs to be real. I like to infuse my heroes with a reality that makes them a man you can relate to, even if he is sexy and larger than life. In my experience, the past is what defines people, so most of my heroes are defined by their past, be it something like coping with Dyslexia (Hot Stuff) or having a sister who ran away (Summer Lovin’) or being the youngest child who was orphaned at a young age and raised by a bachelor uncle (Hot Number). Most of all, my hero has to be drop dead sexy and when he looks at the heroine, there’s no one else who interests him ever again.
CLG: If you had three pieces of advice for the aspiring-to-be PUBLISHED author, what would they be?
Carly: 1) Write and write often. Hone your skills. 2) Finish a book, revise and send out, then move on to the next one. Don’t spend a lifetime revising that one book. It’s the rare author who publishes her first novel. 3) Join RWA and learn the business and do it before you have unrealistic expectations or alienate an editor! You can visit the “For Writers” section on my website for more articles and advice!