Krista Phillips writes light-hearted contemporary romance for the Christian market. In 2010, she finaled in the RWA/FHL Touched By Love contest. Sandwich, with a Side of Romance, her fiction debut, released on September 1.
An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Krista also serves as treasurer of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Her popular blog, One Woman’s Dream, details her journey as a writer, a mom, and a follower of Jesus.
Krista lives in the Nashville area with “the man of her dreams” and their four daughters.
You’re a self-proclaimed “numbers person,” who is equally at home behind a calculator and a computer keyboard. What sparked your desire to write fiction?
I’ve always dreamed of writing fiction. After I graduated high school, I knew my strengths were writing and math. I figured I could make an easier income with math, so went that direction. In 2007, while working full-time at my corporate mega-numbers management position, God cleared his throat and said, “It’s time.” I wondered momentarily if God was off His rocker, but three months later, I had a super rough draft of a novel, and I was hooked on writing fiction.
How does your faith play into your writing?
I view the faith in my writing as natural. I try not to overly force religion, but let it flow naturally out of my heart as well as out of my characters. I don’t want to take my Bible and beat it over anyone’s head by any means. I just want people to see Jesus’ light shining through both me and my novels.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
Oh yeah. Many of them.
One of them was my parents moving me to Minnesota (from Indiana) when I was sixteen years old. I was not pleased. I was so despondent that when we bought a “new” fancy computer and connected to the Internet for the first time, I happened upon a Christian chatroom and fell in love. Literally. The people where cool and all, but there was this one guy from North Carolina who would always “cyber” flirt with me. Yeah, I married him a year later and ended up having four kiddos with him and still love my hubby today, thirteen years later! I’d say that was a decent detour.
Then there was Annabelle. Our fourth child was born with a rare Congenital Heart Defect. She had numerous open heart surgeries and ended up having a heart transplant in April 2011. Her story is a long and complicated one, but God has brought so many blessings out of my sweet little girl. Our journey with our last child was nothing what I expected, but she has touched so many lives.
I call it my Sandwich book, because it’s, well, all about sandwiches of course!
Sandwich, IL represents hope for twenty-year-old Maddie Buckner and Kyle, the eleven-year-old brother Maddie wants to spring out of foster care. Then she loses her new job after less than a day. It’s all Reuben-the-Jerk’s fault, and she’s determined to make him right the wrong.
He does so, reluctantly, by giving her a job at his restaurant, The Sandwich Emporium. Then crazy things start happening at the restaurant, and Kyle’s foster parents apply to adopt him. To stop it all, Maddie must learn the art of humbling herself and accepting the help God has arranged, risking her heart to Reuben in the process.
And she’d rather eat a million corned-beef on rye sandwiches than do that.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
That regardless of what the crazy winds of this life bring about, God loves us and wants the best for us. Even though we can’t figure out for the life of us what He’s up to!
I also hope that, perhaps, someone will read it and realize that regardless of their past, Jesus is in the business of redemption. He doesn’t require us to come to Him squeaky-clean. He knows our past, and He wants to take us how we are and make us a new creation in Him.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I came to know Jesus when I was a very little girl. I grew up loving Him. So writing a character like Maddie who went through a lot of pretty awful things before she came to know Jesus was a really big stretch for me. It made me have to reevaluate WHY I believe the things I do, which I think is a really good thing! It helped me dig those roots in even deeper!
As a debut author, what’s the best piece of writing advice you can offer to writers who are just starting out?
HA! Seriously. The writing journey is hard. Let me rephrase that. The PUBLISHING journey is hard. If you are able to quit, then you might want to consider it.
But if it burns in your belly, if your dream is God-breathed and you’re willing to invest yourself for the long-haul, then pull up those bootstraps, start reading those craft books, and dive in head first.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate. Brownies to be specific. Although I try not to do so often, as if I do, I can’t stop. I’m a recovering brownie addict…
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
HA HA HA HA HA.
I sing a MEAN Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus! I’m totally available for music tours and everything.
Seriously, my husband is the musician of the family. He’s a fantastic songwriter and guitar player, if I do say so myself : -)
Me? Not so much.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
Taylor Swift meets Wheels on the Bus, all the way.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Honestly? All of the above. In many ways, I tend to be a strong, lead female and try to be super mom, but my overriding personality is more the girl next door because I, at my heart, am a people pleaser!
But, I have my mysterious side . . . and when I try to wear high heels, I wobble all over the place like I was a two-year-old trying on her momma’s shoes! Yeah, I stick to flats!
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I’m a dog lover too. We had dogs off and on growing up, my favorite being a Beagle named Katie. She had the most hilarious personality. She pressed every boundary we gave her, but she knew the limits. My dad had “his” chair that he did NOT allow Katie to sit on. She’d sit on there but the moment she heard him come home, she’d bolt off that chair and stay clear of it until he left.
A few years ago, my husband and I adopted a little half-beagle and named her Emma. We loved her and she was a sweet dog, but unfortunately, we had to find her a new home after we brought Annabelle home from the hospital. She had a super bad habit of bringing dead animals into the house (a baby bunny, for example) and since Annabelle had a heart transplant and now has a suppressed immune system, we needed to keep our house as clean and germ free as possible, especially while Annabelle is a baby and still crawling and putting all sorts of things in her mouth.
We look forward to the day in a few years when we can welcome another pet into our home!
Thanks, Krista! It’s extra special fun to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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