Writer Interviews: Phyllis Bourne

Posted by on October 16, 2012

I’m thrilled to have Phyllis Bourne on my blog for so many reasons: she’s my friend, she’s a super talented writer, she’s a former journalist (a newspaper crime reporter — can you say soulmates?), she’s stylish, sweet, has a darling Southern accent, and has some killer dimples. I love Phyllis and know you will too. Here she is in her own words:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

Facebook, Twitter and e-mail are impossible for me to resist, so the first thing I do when I sit down to write is turn on a software program called Freedom (www.macfreedom.com). It blocks access to the internet for a set amount of time and eliminates temptation.

My workday begins at 8:30 am and ends around 3ish. I write in 30-minute blocks – 30-minutes on, 20 off. During that half hour, I consider myself banished to ‘writer’s island’. I don’t allow myself to get up from my chair or keyboard for anything. LOL! Writer’s island is also fully stocked with my favorite snacks.

Under deadline, my schedule shifts to 45-minutes on, 15-minutes off.

2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. However, my characters sometimes get themselves into situations that stump me. A long walk or moving my writing operation from my office to the kitchen table or Starbucks usually helps get them and my story back on track.

3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

I’m a craft-book junkie! However, the three I refer to most often are:

Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver

Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archtypes by Sue Viders, Tami Cowden and Caro LaFever

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

And I’ve recently added a new favorite to my list:

Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell

4. Who do you read for fun?

Romance novels! Whether I’m reading or writing – I can’t get enough of them. E-readers have made my romance novel habit worse, and I’m usually reading a few at a time.

5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

In college, I was a broadcast journalism major hoping to become a television anchor. A professor pulled me aside one day and urged me to consider newspapers instead. His exact words – “because you can write!”

It was what Oprah calls an “aha moment” for me, and I’ve been writing ever since.

I went on to become a crime reporter for the Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel and later the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Get the best writing chair you can afford. Put the same time and effort into selecting one as you would a new car. Both your back and your behind will thank you.

7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

Good instincts, which I believe are developed through reading, reading, reading. Critique groups and beta readers are great. However, I think your own gut is the best indicator if your WIP is on track.

8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?

Pizza and black coffee!

One evening, I was frantic trying to meet a book deadline. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d ate, slept – or even showered. If you’re a published author you’ve been there. If you’re not published yet, you will be.

Anyhoo, my husband surprised me with a piping hot Papa John’s pizza and a cup of Starbucks coffee. The man has given me flowers, jewelry and Godiva chocolates, but I’ll always consider the deadline meal his most romantic gesture ever.

9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?

My favorite book is Joan Brady’s, GOD ON A HARLEY. I re-read it at least twice a year. It’s about a woman who learns how to love herself.

Favorite movie? THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA! Meryl Streep is so deliciously mean. While I wouldn’t want her for a boss, I’d love to have her wardrobe from the movie.

10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

When Freedom isn’t blocking my internet access, I can be found online at Twitter: @phyllisbourne and on Facebook.com/phyllisbournebooks

Thanks for having me, Kristi!

Phyllis Bourne began her writing career as a newspaper crime reporter. After years of cops and criminal drama she left reporting to write about life’s sweeter side.

Phyllis’ books have received several accolades including a RT Book Reviews nomination for Best Multicultural romance. She lives in Nashville, TN where she is currently writing her next happy ending.


PS Y’all (as Phyllis would say) can pick up her latest book online here! or at your local bookstore!

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4 Responses to Writer Interviews: Phyllis Bourne

  1. Lynn Emery

    Great interview! I learned some fun fact about you, Phyllis 🙂 How the heck did I miss that you were a crime reporter? Congrats on those wonderful books!

  2. Phyllis Bourne

    Katrina – I figured out the chair thing after the dh switched my hard one for his cushy leather executive chair. It felt so nice, I could have fell asleep in it.

    Reon – I wouldn’t be able to get a thing done without Freedom. It’s kinda sad I need an internet babysitter. LOL! But I do.

  3. Reon

    Thanks for the tip about the Freedom software thingy! Definitely think I can use something like that. 🙂

  4. Katrina Spencer

    Kristi, what a great interview! Phyllis, you are so right about the writing chair! I’m using a wood chair with no cushions and can tell the difference, I think I’ll splurge and get a nice chair. I REALLY like you’re writing schedule, 30 min on, 20 min off…it’s genius! You are a great writer and can’t wait to read your next book!