Today, I have the honor of spotlighting one of my favorite authors and dearest friends. I can proudly say that I knew this beautiful woman before she published her first book. She has so much talent and she’s so talented in so many ways. Having her in your life is a true blessing. Without further ado, our author this week is:
A special message from R.K. Phillips:
Hi everyone! I am RK Phillips. First let me thank Nicole for allowing me to be spotlighted on her blog and thank you for taking the time to read it. I am going to share a little about me, how I got into writing and self publishing, and some about my stories.
When people are asked how I got into writing, it kind of depends on what they mean exactly. I think it really started in high school English class when we were being taught different types of poetry and then having to write it ourselves. From there on and for many years that is what I wrote and it was a way of expressing myself. However, in the early 2000s a few of my friends and I started writing together more like role playing stories. We each had our own characters and would weave stories together. I won’t date myself and tell you where we wrote these stories. I will say though that one day I am hoping to give two of those characters their own book.
Fast forward a bit and I am in college in my late 20s. While I am taking my accounting courses I decide to sign up for a creative writing class as an elective. One class turned into three and had me thinking about things. It was because of those classes I even had the beginning building blocks for what I would need later. However, it wasn’t for another almost five years that I would even think about writing a book. However, I did get involved in another role play writing group where I met some great people that I now call friends.
I am going to pause here to say, if there is something you want to do or try because it interests you (and it is legal) then do it. Life is scary and there are so many unknowns, but sometimes what you find on the other side is worth it. If you don’t want to do it alone at first, find someone to do it with you.
This is how it was with my writing along with many other things in my life. No one ever told me, you should write a book, you would be great at it. I was told in my writing class I was great at writing details. I had people question certain things and others defend what I wrote. But, I didn’t have a cheerleader telling me I should do this.
Take chances and embrace who you are. Why am I talking about this when this is supposed to be an author spotlight? Because ultimately that is how I came about writing my first novel. I won’t go into details, but really what it came down to is a couple of things. One, I wanted to prove to myself that I could write a full novel beginning to end. Up until then I only had written poetry and short stories. Second, I wanted a character that was a nerdy math girl. At the time I wanted a character that was a little more like me. I love math and feel there is nothing wrong with that. Since I couldn’t get it from anyone else, I decided to write the story.
This is how Peyton was born. Originally I played with the idea of giving her a few different professions, but ultimately when I started writing, she became a professor of mathematics. From the beginning I fell in love with her and her story. I decided that if I was going to finally get my nerdy math girl story I was going to play it up. She was born on March 14th which is Pi day. Her nickname became Pi. I even ended up releasing the novel, The Complications of Pi, on March 14th. While writing this book, a lot of things happened and changed in my life. I will save you from the details, but this book was a bit of light hearted release and love I had during all of that. I would do writing sprints with a friend in the evenings after work because at the time, I didn’t have cable or internet, so I just focused on writing and getting my apartment organized. We would set up a time for 20-30 minutes, write and then text each other with how many words we had written. Then, and still now, she is a much faster writer than I am. However, it helped to push both of us to continue to make progress on what we were working on.
I remember when I finished the first draft of The Complications of Pi. I felt so happy and excited that I had done it. I had completed my first novel. Still to this day, I think I was prouder and more elated in that moment than even when it went live. It took me less than a year to write the first draft, but still just over another year to publish it (partly because by the time it was good to go, I had decided to wait until 03/14 to publish it).
I was a fish out of water when it came to what was next. However, I had many friends that encouraged and walked me through the steps. I did revisions on the book, had it edited, and worked with a fabulous cover artist, Anya Kelleye, that gave me what I wanted. All this time and money was spent and it was all ready to go to be published. Still I warred with myself on if I really wanted to publish it. It wasn’t a book that was like anything else out there that I had seen. Not only did it feature my clumsy, math loving Peyton, but it was what people now call a sapphic romance. When I set out writing this book, there weren’t as many books like this out there because I looked for them. In just a few short years you can find them all over the place. There were authors that wrote these types and I read them, but they were harder to find and you had to weed through lots of bad stuff to find them.
Thus, I debated on putting this out there. Finally I decided that if one or two that were not close friends of mine bought and enjoyed the book, it would be worth it. So, I went ahead and published the book. I had a small release party online and embraced my nerd side with this book. I would love to say it was an overnight sensation, but let’s be real, it wasn’t going to be. However, I did have more than just the two people who bought and read my book. I was so happy and surprised. That book was supposed to be a stand alone book and that is it. But, several people asked me when I was going to write the next one. That I needed to give Damien (Peyton’s brother) his story. One day I hope I get that chance. However, I moved on to two other projects that I had in my mind.
I was writing two different novels at the same time and making progress on them both. I thought I could finish one by a certain time, but I hit a huge writing block and didn’t make progress on either. Finally, I wanted to hit a specific timeline goal and focused all my attention on what is now Nature’s Strike. This story came about from a dream I had when I was a teenager and over the years I thought about it and changed it into an idea for a series until eventually it became what it is now. Again, here I was trying to take on something new and different for me. Why I couldn’t just write the same kind of book I just published I have no idea. I like a variety of types of books and so my writing interests follow that path. This time, I was out to write a book that combined romance, action and adventure, and some light fantasy elements. Nature’s Strike introduced you to Riley and her family who are your everyday people working at jobs they like in a smaller community and living their lives happily. Then on the other side you get to meet Declan and his team that are out saving people from evil people intent on causing ruination. However, they are all blessed/cursed because they each wield something Mother Nature. Not just your water, earth, fire, air; but rather, lightning, thunder, tornadoes, fire (yes), fog, hurricanes, etc… The question becomes how do these two types of people meet and can they exist together?
This time, I had new challenges. Could I finish another novel or was the first an exception? Would people be interested in this one like the first one? The answer is yes I could write a second novel and the verdict is still out on the second question. This book was released last June.
However, during this process I found a group of authors and we started up a zoom writing sprinting group. We originally did it for Nanowrimo in 2021 and it was for one month. However, at the end of it, we all realized it was helping us and we still continue the group to this day. It has helped me to get words in when I don’t feel like writing. I wouldn’t have completed as much as I have if it wasn’t for them. Also, over the last two years, I have written six short stories that appeared in different anthologies. Some of these will become novels and some I will publish on their own.
I am currently working on completing my third novel that is actually kind of a spin off of Complications of Pi. I decided to create a YA/NA series that features the fictional college that Peyton teaches out. While the main stories will be about students that are attending the college, Peyton will be making cameo appearances in some of these stories. I have one short story that will become a full length novel already that was in a Christmas anthology. The novel I am writing now was supposed to be a short story for a different one, but due to a few things it is now its own novel and I am hoping to release it this summer. It is titled Love Under the Stars so keep an eye out for it.
I still need to go back to finish Dream Escape that I started a few years ago. We all need our encouragement and motivation. So, if you think about it and you know someone is trying to work on something, take an interest in what they are doing or just tell them to keep it up. A few nice words can go a long way I have found with myself.
I want to send a quick shout out of thank you to my friends who will help me with character names and titles with stories because I appreciate it. How I go about that sometimes is a whole other thing and this is already so long in length.
Thank you again to Nicole for allowing me to take up so much space on her blog. Please check out my books and if you want to reach me you can find me on FaceBook or email me at my author email address.
Note: Some books listed are no longer available for sale as an ebook. Some authors may have physical copies, but that’s not guaranteed.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about RK Phillips. She’s an incredible woman and an amazing friend. I’m glad to know her.