Interview with Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Susan E. Phillips met her husband at a blind date and after two years of marriage they decided to start a real family and got two sons. She started writing by accident: her best friend and SEP decided one day - just of fun - two write a book together. After some months they worked out a system. With only half the manuscript completed, they got the phone number of an editor at Dell Publishing. This woman, asked them some questions about their book, and then agreed to see it, even though it wasn't finished. Three weeks later they got an offer from Dell Publishing. It took them another year to finish the book, which was published in 1983 as "The Copeland Bride", under the pseudonym Justine Cole. This was the only book SEP wrote together with her friend. Today her friend has a very exciting job and SEP writes her books alone. Her first book as Susan Elizabeth Phillips was "Risen Glory". The rest is history...

Angela: What is a perfect romance book for you like? Who are your favorite authors and what kinds of literature do you enjoy?

SEP: I love books about relationships. Except for Janet Evanovitch, I'm not much of a suspense readers. I love the romance authors that we all love—Kristin Hannah, Jill Barnett, Maggie Osborne, so many others. I also enjoy non-depressing literary fiction.

Angela: Your book are well-known all over the world, they are bestsellers and you have also won many awards for your work. "Dream A Little Dream" has been also voted as "Best Book 1999" and as "Best Contemporary Romance 1999" in Germany, "Kiss An Angel" was the runner-up. Are all your awards important for you or is there an award that made you par-ticularly proud?

SEP: Awards aren't nearly as important to me as the wonderful comments I hear from readers. I like to think that my books make a difference in a person's day!

Angela: How do you achieve those wonderful combination of lovely heroes, humor and heartbreaking situations? Is this in your mind before writing the story or do you develop it "by accident", as you go along?

SEP: My stories develop as I go along.

Angela: Children seem to be very important in your books. You describe them very well with all their problems and their way of thinking. Why are children so important for you?

SEP: I just enjoy writing about them, maybe because I love being a mother to our two sons.

Angela: A circus as a setting for a romance is very untypical but you chose it for "Kiss An Angel". Are you fascinated by circus? Did you had problems writing about such a special setting as a cir-cus indeed is?

SEP: I enjoyed writing this book so much because I hadn't done anything like this before.

Angela: All your heroes and heroines are very true-to-life persons, especially in "Dream A Little Dream" where the hero and the heroine helped each other in fighting against their inner de-mons. "Dream A Little Dream" was indeed darker than your other books. Did you plan to write a darker and not so humorous story than your others from the beginning?

SEP: I've always written books that were more serious such as “Honey Moon, Hot Shot”, as well as fun-nier books. I just try to be true to my characters.

Angela: "Dream A Little Dream" is the sequel of "Nobody's Baby But Mine". When you wrote "No-body's Baby But Mine" did you already have the sequel in mind or was that a result of read-ers' reactions to the previous book?

SEP: I began thinking about “Dream A Little Dream” as I was writing “Nobody’s Baby But Mine” be-cause I wanted to know more about the televangelists widow.

Angela: In "Kiss An Angel" you played with paranormal phenomenons by describing the connection between Daisy and the tiger Sinjun. Would you like to write a paranormal romance one day?

SEP: No. Not interested.

Angela: Or are you interested in changing genre? If yes, what kind of genre would you prefer?

SEP: No. I love what I'm doing. I love writing about relationships.

Angela: Do you have a favorite hero or heroine among you books? Do you keep them in mind after finishing a book?

SEP: No favorites but I think about all of them a lot. They're my friends!

Angela: I heard once that authors have the story they work on like a movie in their mind. Can you confirm this?

SEP: For me, yes, it's true.

Angela: Do you know if there are plans to make a movie from one of your books?

SEP: I'm not very interested in having a movie made from any of my books. Hollywood messes them up too badly.

Angela: Do you often attend book signings? I heard that they are not very frequented by readers and that many authors don't like to make book signings. Did you made that bad experience, too?

SEP: I love doing book signings, but they take up a lot of time. Since I'm a slow writer anyway, I try to limit them. But I do enjoy getting to talk with readers.

Angela: How do you handle family and writing? Is it difficult or do they support you?

SEP: I've been doing it a lot of years and they're very used to it. They definitely support me.

Angela: Could you tell us more about your future plans in writing? What books will come?

SEP: My next book is called “This Heart Of Mine” and tells the story (finally!) of Kevin Tucker from “Nobody’s Baby But Mine” and Molly Somerville from “It Had To Be You”. It'll be my first hard-back.

One thing I'd like to add is how happy I am to have so many readers in Germany. It really means a lot to me to know that my books and characters have more than "American appeal."

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