Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Garden Interview with Stella Jayne Phillips

Hello Stella Jayne

Tell us about you and your books.

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

A mixture of both. The first scene in the book and the last appear in my head like short movies, usually while I’m in the shower. They reappear at odd times until I put them on paper. For the series Creekside Dreams, I drew a town map that I add to with each book. The ghost story writes itself all at once as a short story. Then I research Arizona and US history for the time and fit important events in the ghost story, weaving them into the lives of the ghosts. The contemporary romance moves in stops and starts, I outline what I have written as I go after the fact then add new ideas.

Are your characters based on real people?

What my characters feel and the events that affect their lives are based on someone’s truth, mine, a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, a stranger who sat next to me in a hotel lobby and talked about something they experienced.  A scrapbook my mother created with pictures of several generations of her family inspired many of the ghosts. Their personalities are a mixture of my mother and her descriptions of earlier generations.

Have you ever cried while writing a book?

There are scenes in each of my books that touch my heart every time I read them. Tears fell the first time I put the words on paper and the fiftieth time I revised and edited the manuscript. Sometimes the tears are sentimental, sometimes painful and sometimes happy.

How did you come up with the title?

The expression a man’s home is his castle always annoyed me, after all didn’t the castle also belong to his wife and children since it was their home too? What about his parents, they probably had the castle first? The expression comes from English law (1505) “the house of one is to him his castle” which is an admonition from Kings Court to use whatever force was necessary when defending home. Because the main character is female and lives in the hotel she operates, I decided she deserved one better, a palace. As a single female owning her own business in 1917 Victoria not only defended her hotel, she had enough business sense to keep it viable during two wars and a stock market crash. She definitely earned her palace and sweet dreams.

Are you fun to go on vacation with?

Vacations tend to fall into to two types for me. Either I see them as a chance to escape the responsibilities of my real life and write or I’m in search of new places and adventure. When adventure is my goal, I usually travel with my daughter and niece. They’re not always enthusiastic about the adventure part but both enjoy traveling.  In the last few years we’ve taken the train to nowhere at Christmas in Verde Valley, bounced through an ATV adventure in Kauai, parasailed in Maui, zip lined in Oahu, rode in a Cinderella carriage in San Diego, and sailed with a happy hour cruise near Waikiki Beach where we spotted whales.

What is your favorite comfort food?

My daughter found a restaurant that serves the absolute best grilled-cheese sandwich and tomato soup, Crust in Scottsdale.  Add a glass of Moscato and I’m in heaven.

Where can we find you online?

Facebook: @sjphillipsauthor
Twitter: @Stellajaynep
Instagram: @stellajaynephillipsauthor

Download Sweet Dreams at The Palace Hotel on Amazon and other online retailers


CB Clark said...

Great interview, Stella! You sound like quite an adventurer! Best of luck with your writing.

GiniRifkin said...

Hi Stella. Nice learning more about you. I don't think I could keep up with you on vacation! Wishing you much success with your writing.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I love to see as much as I can when I travel, too. I zip-lined last year in SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA. What a blast.