Author Interview with Carly Phillips

Whitney Sullivan:  You say that you include bits and pieces of your own childhood in your summer HQN release Kiss Me If You Can. Are there any details in particular that you would like to share with your fans?

Carly Phillips: The smell of violets — that was my Grandma Charlotte's Yonkers, NY apartment. Her best friend Sylvia lived downstairs. The description of the dark hallways and the smells, all that same apartment building. Little things like that — brought Kiss Me If You Can very close to home for me and truly made it a joy to write.

WS: Kiss Me If You Can centers around the ownership of an antique ring. Do you have a piece of jewelry that's been in your family for ages? If you could choose to have any family heirloom with a racy history — what would it be?

CP: I have recently lost my Grandma Sylvia to emphysema and although she lived until 93, she truly suffered in the end. I was with her the last day and I ended up with jewelry that belonged to her. I have jewelry from my Grandma Charlotte too. The pieces have sentimental value and mean so much to me. More than if they were expensive items. I wear them often and with pride, and I feel like I have them with me always. I don't know if these items have been in the family for generations, but I'd like to pass them on to my daughters. I'm not sure what kind of racy history I'd want any family heirloom to have! The ring in Kiss Me If You Can was good enough for me!!!

WS: Do you have a character that has stuck with you long after you finished their book?

CP: There are always characters who stay with me. Grandma Charlotte stayed with me after Kiss Me If You Can, again probably because of the family similarities though I can assure readers there are no similar high jinks in my family tree! It's usually the secondary characters who capture my heart. I find it easier to let them go free with their mouths and their emotions!

WS: Speaking of Grandma Charlotte, she is quite the tech-savvy lady. Is there something you hope you'll still be hip with when you are a grandma yourself?

CP: Absolutely! I'm a tech junkie and an Apple junkie! I have a Kindle, an iPad, an iPhone, a Blackberry, a laptop ... I'm almost embarrassed to go on. I keep up with these things the best I can. I love to have the newest models if I can. I waited in line for the first iPhone for hours, even blogged about it! So yes, when I'm up there in years, I still want to be going strong with technology!

WS: What is something you learned in law school that has translated into your writing career?

CP: Perseverance. Sticking with something until it works. That's ultimately how I sold my first book — even years and ten completed manuscripts after starting to write; it's how I've survived this long in the business. Adapting to new situations, markets, etc.

WS: You write on the blog Plot Monkeys with Leslie Kelly, Janelle Denison and Julie Leto. What is something you've learned from blogging with these ladies?

CP: From them I have learned the meaning of true friendship — friendship and caring that transcends someone's successes in writing while another is going through trials and tribulations. We've weathered professional ups and downs, personal ups and downs, and no matter what in the end, the friendships not only have come first but they have come out stronger.

WS: For your new venture with Berkley, you will be creating characters who have deeper emotional life than the lighter romances you wrote with Harlequin. How will these new Carly Phillips characters be similar to your more series romances you wrote under your own name, Karen Drogin?

CP: I would say these books will be more a combination of Karen Drogin and Carly Phillips' Cross My Heart and Sealed with a Kiss — in that they explore deeper character issues and involve less in your face slapstick/humor than my recent books. You will still find lovable characters and humor, just more subtle. I expect readers to take more of a trip to a town and revisit characters in these stories. Serendipity will be more like Yorkshire Falls in The Bachelor, The Playboy and The Heartbreaker too.