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Interview with Phyllis Marie Campbell
May 12, 2008

Hi Phyllis,
I’m delighted to get a chance to interview such a prolific author. You started being published 2004 and already have 15 published books? Wow, I’m impressed. And a little bird told me you have another one under contract. I really want to know more as I’m sure our readers do to. If you don’t mind, we’ll get right to my questions.
 
You write sensual romance but in several sub genres – can you tell us what genre interests you the most and why? Give us the titles and a sentence or two about a couple and tell us what sub-genre they fall under.
 
I do write in several different genres. Historical has always been my favorite, though. I think it stems back to when I first started reading romance. Kathleen E Woodiwiss was the very first romance author I read. Judith McNaught was second. I devoured their historical romances. It was great to enter a world I’d never been, and not think of anything but the wonderful characters. Here are two stories of mine, both historical, but a different sub genre because the first one is a Victorian, and the second is a historical western.
 
Her Knight Of Seduction - Megan will do anything not to marry the drunken lord selected for her. Instead, she mistakenly traps the man who put her family in financial ruins.
 
Holding Out For A Hero -  The Wild West has bandits, rattlers, and cactus galore…Texas has Jesse and Summer, the town’s newest and most hard-headed heroes.
 
 
I really admire writers who can do a good historical. I love history but, the research, the attention to detail and all that while you try to concentrate on characters and plot…How do you do it? Why do you choose to write historical? 
 
I think I choose to write historical because it is a challenge. I don’t have a major in history. Shoot, I didn’t even like studying it when I was in high school. But reading a romance set in England in the 1800’s is very fascinating to me. I want to read about those rogues who love to seduce the proper women…and win. I love the way they lived (at least what I read in romance books), and it puts me in another world that carries me away into pure bliss. I study enough about the time period to get me through the story. I’m not giving a history lesson in my books, but I do try to make the reader feel like they’re there by the way my characters talk, dress, and act. And descriptions are very necessary for a historical, too.
 
 
What do you add, in your opinion, to your sizzling romance that gives it the power to win awards?
 
Oh heavens! I have no clue! I write what’s in my heart, what my critique partners have pounded into my head, and what excites me. I love to tease, though. I try to bring out the emotions in all my characters. I want my readers so involved in my story it’s like seeing it in a movie. At least that’s the way I see it in my head when I write.
 
 
You also have participated in two anthologies so far Mistletoe Magic – I loved that one and Stupid Cupid which I did not read yet. What are the benefits of doing anthologies — so many authors participate in them, what is the attraction for the writer?
 
There are great benefits of being in an anthology. For one, I learned how to squish my writing into 25,000 words or less which I never thought I could do because I yack too much. Hahaha And secondly, one of the other author’s reader might pick up the book and like what Phyllis Campbell writes, too. It’s a great way to get noticed when you’re just starting out in the business.
 
 
Several reviewers have dubbed you the “Queen of Sexual Tension” how do you feel about that title? How do you create this type of tension? I know that is probably a full length course – but is there a short version or formula that would help other authors reach that level. I’m sure readers would like to know how you do it, too.
 
I totally loved being called “Queen Of Sexual Tension”. I’m still smiling over that. The reason I was dubbed this title is because I love to tease. I had one reviewer tell me that she wanted to strangle her computer while she read my story. Apparently, my characters weren’t doing what she thought they should be. <snickers> I love to have the reader sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting for the first kiss, or the main characters’ first love scene. And just when the reader thinks they’re going to get it…I pull it away and make them wait a few more chapters. Heehee I use the writing rule “action / reaction” when I’m writing these scenes. With every heated glance, every tingling touch from my hero or heroine, they are reacting. As a reader, you will know exactly what they are feeling and thinking. You know the quick beat of her heart, or the heat rushing through his body that makes his blood boil. But then I end the scene and make you wait for more. Heehee 
 
You have written several articles that are also available on your website – they are very well written. Do you enjoy writing non-fiction? Do you plan to write any books that detail How to Write A Steamy Romance? Or something similar – ?
 
Goodness no! I never thought I’d be able to write non-fiction. The only reason I wrote those articles was because I served as President of my RWA Chapter for two years and I had to come up with something to write about for our monthly newsletter. I struggled to think of a subject every month (which is why I’m not a good blogger, either), but once I decided on a subject, I was finished with the article in a half hour. But writing non-fiction doesn’t excite me. Not yet.
 
You have been the RWA (Romance Writer’s of America) Chapter president for your Utah Chapter for 2 years—what have you learned from doing this? Would you recommend others try to pick up the gauntlet and why or why not?
 
I would definitely recommend serving anyway you can in your RWA Chapter or writing club. I was able to help put conferences together, and I rubbed elbow with big name authors, agents and editors. It was a wonderful experience that I’ll always cherish. I also got the opportunity to attend RWA Nationals in Dallas Texas last year (2007), and what an exciting experience I had! I got to know the ladies in my chapter better, and I grew very close to some who served with me. I definitely think everyone should try volunteering their time for things like this at least once.
 
 
What is the best part about writing for you? What is the worst?
 
The best part is writing sexual tension…the build up to the sex scenes. I don’t mind writing sex scenes either, but I do love the build up before. The worst part is the ending. I have spent several months getting to know these characters and loving them and sharing their life through my story. I don’t want to see it end. Saying good-bye is very hard.
 
Do you start with character or plot? And How do you develop your characters or do they just develop through their role in the story itself?
 
I’ve done both character and plot. Mostly it’s plot, though, then I figure out how I want my heroine to act and then how my hero can act that conflicts with the heroine. Must have conflict, you know! But really, it all depends on the story. If I write a certain story and a secondary character screams at me to write them, then I work a plot around that character. Usually if I have the right plot, the characters develop perfectly.
 
 
Do you have a favorite author or mentor who’s work you buy just because their name is on the cover? I do that with Patricia Cornwell (I write mystery) even though her later books aren’t quite as good as her first ones.
 
Lately, I don’t do a lot of reading unless it’s for research. I work full time and I really try to write full time, but since I babysit my grandson when my daughter works nights, that’s not all the time possible. However, years ago when I had a lot of time to read, my favorites were Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught, LaVryle Spencer, Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown, Lisa Kleypas, and Nicole Jordan.
 
 
Along with the question above – do you think that sometimes being a New York published author puts too much pressure on the author to write faster, put out more books then they can reasonably expect to produce quality wise?
 
Oh, how I’d love to experience that! I only know a few NY published authors – which is where I want to be some day. But if I could quit my full time job and stay home and write for a living, I could easily put out five books a year. Easily! I think if the author is up for it, then go for it! I don’t know if the publisher pressures the authors or not, but darn, I’d sure like to experience it at least once.
 
 
I see you have four different publishers that must make promotion very time consuming and challenging. Who are those publishers and are they genre specific or why did you choose them?
 
Oh yes! It is very challenging and time consuming. I try to do my promoting in the morning / early afternoon while I’m at work. Sometimes it’s boring at work and so I can get on my email and do this. When I get home from work after 5:00, I want to devote my time to writing when I can, and to my family. My publishers are: The Wild Rose Press, Champagne Books, and Vintage Publishing. I chose these publishers because of their reputations. I also loved their covers, which is another reason I go with a particular company. Vintage Publishing is the only publisher that’s genre specific, and they only do historicals—anything Vintage.
 
 
Is there anything you would like to tell us about Phyllis Marie Campbell that I haven’t asked you about? Where can readers find out more about you, your books and where can they buy them?
 
Hmmm…I think you’ve covered all the bases. I update my website regularly, so please check in from time to time to see what’s new. www.phyllismariecampbell.com   Or you can join my newsletter http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PhyllisCampbell/  
I’m also on a few blogs with other authors –
And let’s not forget these places, too –
I love for readers to email me with comments or suggestions – phylliscampbell84302@yahoo.com
 
 
Thank you so much for taking time from your busy writing career to answer our questions. I am looking forward to reading more of your work. Many Sales to you and Write like the wind.
 
Thanks Billie!
 
Interviewed by: Billie A. Williams at Manic Readers



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