Fairyproof Author Constance Phillips Talks About the Road to Publication

By , Contributor

The blogosphere is teeming with writers, some paid, some not, many of whom find writing to be more than just a pastime — for these folks, it’s a need that must be fulfilled come what may. For many of those writers, publishing a book remains the ultimate achievement, and while the number of writers who ply their craft is very large, the number who have the determination, the perseverance, and the talent to get a book published is relatively small indeed.

One such newly published writer is Constance Phillips, whose first novel, the paranormal romance Fairyproof, will be released on September 4 by Crescent Moon Press. Fairyproof is a tale that combines fairies, humans, family intrigue, and love — what more can a reader ask for? Here’s a little teaser from the publisher:

When Monique finds out her brother, Kieran, is planning her future with the one fairy she wants nothing to do with, she seeks refuge in the human world. Now Kieran fears she will be the next victim in a string of murdered fairies and is determined to bring her home.

Hiding should be a breeze. She can control any human with a flirtatious smile and an attraction spell. Until she meets Daniel Elliot, the only human who’s immune to both.

A year ago, Daniel’s fiancĂ©e disappeared with the engagement ring, an Elliot family heirloom. He’s ready to move forward with his life, but his mother’s obsession with retrieving the ring makes that impossible. Then Monique walks into his office to apply for a job.

Daniel and Monique can’t deny their attraction, but will the reason he’s Fairyproof be too much to overcome?

Phillips has the determination and discipline needed to pack her writing into an already full life. The former music editor at Blogcritics (where she was also a frequent contributor), Phillips lives in Ohio where, in addition to writing, she works side by side with her husband in their hardwood flooring business. Mother to a son and daughter who are now young adults, Phillips is also a very active member of the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club and is also “mom” to four canine family members. On the writing side, she’s also actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA), which has been a source of both moral support and practical advice.

connie_phillips.jpgShe recently took some time out of her whirlwind of activity to chat about the long but fruitful path to publication.

You’re one of the small handful of people I know who have successfully gone from blogging and/or writing for free to publishing a book. How did you get from Point A to Point B apart from the obvious hard work and rejection-resistant ego? What helped you persist?

Rejection-resistant ego? Does that exist? Rejections are hard to take, especially with writing because the stories comes from somewhere deep inside. It isn't so much being able to shake them off, but constantly reminding yourself that "it's not a rejection of me, but this particular story."

From there, I studied my rejections, looked to see if I was getting repeat criticisms and then would adjust. I continued to take writing classes (and still do) and go to conferences to learn and network with industry professionals.

Even when I had "bad moments" and would say I'm going to quit, I knew it was an emotional reaction, and I would get up the next morning and continue to pursue it. I tried to treat it like a job, and worked at it with the same dedication as I would any job.

Aside from that, I give a lot credit to my support group, my friends in Romance Writers of America and especially my local chapter, Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America.

Can you give us a little teaser about what Fairyproof is about? What drew you to this genre to begin with, and how did this particular story develop in your head?

I've always been a fan of the paranormal stuff. For me, reading is an escape, and worlds where the rules are different help put the day-to-day stresses aside. As far as the writing goes, I love building worlds and characters from the ground up. With Fairyproof I was thinking about playing off the typical Fairy trait that humans have an inexplicable attraction to them. I thought, "Well, what if you have a female fairy who is trying to get by on those attributes and she encounters someone who is immune to her spells and beauty?" From there I began laying the building blocks that grew into the novel.

So many people (especially in genre literature, it seems) are simply turning to self-publishing in order to just get their work out to an audience. What made you decide to go the more traditional route of submitting to publishers?

Until I had exhausted all the publishing house options, I wanted to keep pressing forward. There's more involved in self-publishing than just hitting an upload button. There's editing, formatting, layout, cover art, etc. Not all of these responsibilities go away with a publisher. In a lot of cases writers are responsible for promoting the work. But if it were possible, I wanted be able to focus on stories and let the other aspects be coordinated through the publisher. It's sort of like that "it takes a village" quote — there are a lot of steps to making a manuscript a published novel, and I feel blessed that mine had professionals working with me at every step.

Once you finally got your manuscript accepted for publication, what’s the process been like? Harder or easier than you had envisioned? Can you talk a little bit about the work involved in self-promotion?

I've spent a lot of time while working toward publication learning about the industry. Also, knowing other published authors through RWA helped me to know what to expect. My publisher was wonderful about explaining the whole process step-by-step from the get-go, so there were really no surprises.

There was a lot of work involved, but it was so exciting to have finally reached this stage that it didn't feel like work. I've learned and grown so much working with Crescent Moon Press and my editor.

As for self-promotion, I'm right in the thick of that at the moment. Again, it's sort of an exciting time because there are so many options available through social media. And it's not just the ability to deliver a sales pitch, but to really connect with readers.

What's next in terms of the writing? Do you have another book in progress?

A few weeks ago, I sold a second manuscript to Crescent Moon Press, Resurrecting Harry. So, shortly, I will be beginning the editing process on that. I envision both Fairyproof and Resurrecting Harry as the first books in separate series. So, I'm currently writing what would be a follow-up to Fairyproof.

horizontal-line.jpg Interested readers can learn more about Constance Phillips and Fairyproof at her website; you can also follow her on Twitter (@CPhillips) and Facebook.

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Lisa McKay is the executive editor at The Morton Report.

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