Joanne Phillips lives in rural Shropshire with her husband and young daughter. She’s the author of romantic comedies Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively series of mysteries. Can’t Live Without was an Amazon top 20 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Before becoming a writer, Joanne had jobs as diverse as hairdresser, air hostess and librarian, but now divides her time between writing and finding creative ways to avoid housework. She’s a fan of super-dark chocolate, iced coffee and Masterchef. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing at www.writersjourney.co.uk
Your novel is called 'Cupids Way' please could you tell me about it?
A cute Victorian terrace – Cupid’s Way – is under threat from developers, and Evie Stone is on a mission to save it. Only trouble is, she hadn’t banked on falling for Michael Andrews – CEO of Dynamite Construction, the developer behind the plan to demolish the street ...
Are any of the characters in 'Cupids Way' anything like you?
Evie has elements of me in her - the desire to rescue people, the passion about issues that matter to you deeply. Mostly, though, the characters are made up of many elements, both from my imagination and inevitably from people I've met over the years.
They say the journey to being published is one of the hardest an author can take, please can you describe the journey that you went on?
It was hard, until I saw the light and went indie. Mind you, being indie isn't exactly easy either! I finished my first novel, Can't Live Without, back in 2006, and in 2008 had some interest from an agent. This didn't pan out, but I had other things to think about (I had my daughter in 2008), but in 2011 I got a Kindle for Christmas and I had been following the new self-publishing movement with interest. I've always been an independent kind of person, and when I realised that I didn't actually need permission to publish it was like a light bulb going on. I published chapters of my book on my new blog, and the response was amazing. In May 2012 I uploaded my first book to Amazon and my publishing career was born.
Writers put so much time and energy into their characters and I have been told in the past that a writer carries their characters around with them.
So my question is if you could go out for a day with any one of your characters: who would it be, what would you do and why did you pick this particular character?
If I was single I'd go out with Michael Andrews because he is gorgeous ;) I love him because he's strong and determined - if a little stubborn at times - but he is also very human and open and very, very sexy. My second choice would be Edie, the octogenarian from The Family Trap. She never married, but worked at Bletchley Park cracking codes during the war and I bet she has loads of interesting stories to tell.
If you were told that you could live any day without repercussions for your actions, what would you do and why?
I would go and frighten the life out of bullies in schools, making sure they were so terrified they never picked on anyone again. I know that if my daughter is ever bullied I would do this anyway, no matter what the repercussions. These days parents are scared to be adults in situations like this, but I know when I was in school, and being picked on for (amongst other things) having a stammer and coming from a broken home, I would have given anything for some scary person to come along and give the bullies a taste of their own medicine.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
America - anywhere in America. I love the country from afar, and one day I will just get on a plane and go there!
If you could choose one book that you think everyone should read, what would it be and why?
I don't think I could choose a book that would be right for everyone - I'd say everyone should read at least one book that affects them deeply, but this would be different for different people. That said, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway is a brilliant book for instilling an ethos that can really help when times get tough.
If there was one saying that could sum up your life to date, what would it be?
You make your own luck :)
Please share with us, one random fact about yourself or your book?
The title 'Cupid's Way' came out of a brainstorming session for a previous book, The Family Trap.
What can we expect next, any future books in the pipeline?
Tons of books! This year will see the release of my new romantic comedy, You Are Here, and the next in the Flora Lively series. Busy, busy, busy.
What or who in life inspires you?
I've no idea, really - there is just this drive to keep going. I find people who carve out their own path inspirational, and recently I've been inspired by Hugh Howey's indie journey. (And I met him at London Book Fair and he is super-lovely.)
What is your all time favourite book?
My all time favourite book is A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler. It's the perfect book, in my humble opinion.