BJ Phillips


AJ:  It is my pleasure to interview my fellow Desert Palm Press author, BJ Phillips. We just spent a few days together at the GCLS Con in Virginia where we had the pleasure of meeting for the first time.

It was wonderful finally meeting in person after having corresponded for such a long time. Like meeting an old friend you hadn’t actually met. We had a great time. I’ve been a fan of yours since Sunset Island came out, and have loved every one of your books. I’m honored to do this interview with you.

AJ:  Yes, I remember talking to you way back when you couldn’t type due to your broken “wing”. It was great fun hanging at the GCLS Con a few weeks ago. We could talk about that all day, but let’s get your interview underway with some warm up questions.

Would you rather see into the future or change the past?

I’d rather be able to see into the future. The past is already done and anything that I changed would only change who I am now. I’d rather see into the future and see humans go to other planets, cure diseases, and hopefully achieve more peace in the world. Yes, I’m an optimist.

AJ: Glass half full then! Would you rather be gossiped about or never spoken of?

I guess I’d rather be gossiped about. If they’re talking about me, at least they’re not bothering someone else who can’t take it.

AJ: Would you prefer to socialize with a group, or privately with just one friend.

I prefer the one on one, or my partner and I with another couple socializing. I’m good with a group as well, but it’s harder to carry on any kind of real conversation with a larger group.

AJ: Would you rather own a microscope or a telescope?

I’ve owned both at one time or another, but I have to admit I used my telescope more. I loved looking up at the moon or the planets. Fascinating.

AJ: BJ has just released her first book, Hurricane Season. Tell us about your book.

Hurricane Season is set in Southwest Florida, where I grew up. It’s about a lesbian romance author who gets kicked in the teeth by love and tries to swear off entanglements. When the woman of her dreams literally falls into her arms at the local grocery store, her fears almost cost her the love of her life.

Cover: Michelle Brodeur, Graphic Designer

AJ:  The setting is almost another character in the book. Why did you choose this setting?

I grew up mostly in Florida and have always considered myself a Floridian.  That’s why I moved back here when I could. The weather is something everyone here talks about. The summer heat and humidity and hurricanes were just a way of life. The hurricanes all have names and in a way they have been characters in my life story. People here referred to events in their lives as “the year Hurricane Wilma hit,” for instance. It was only natural to have one in the story. I didn’t originally name the book Hurricane Season, but halfway through it, I knew that was the perfect name. 

AJ:  If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

Oh goodness…I’ve no idea. I hate to say this, but I haven’t been much into movies for a while. Okay, other than animated ones, like Ice Age, Hoodwinked, or Shrek. Now you know my secret.

AJ:  If you could be a character from one of your books who would you be and why?

I would want to be a mixture of Shawn and Carrie. I like Shawn’s life mostly because she’s a successful writer. Plus, she gets to drive around in the red Jeep I’ve always wanted. I am actually a bit more like Carrie, except that she’s more steady and sweet and she can cook better than I can.

Which of your characters would you be? You have a lot to choose from!

AJ: LOL…yes I do. Hmm…definitely NOT Bernie Maxwell. I love Lindy, who doesn’t?

If you were to write a book about yourself what would you name it?

Oh wow…let me think about that one. Maybe Coast to Coast to Coast. I’ve lived in Indiana, Kentucky, Florida (most of my growing up was here), Pennsylvania, and California. Now I’m back home in Florida to stay. I’ve also driven from coast to coast. In 2014 I packed up and drove by myself from Northern California to Southwest Florida.

AJ:  You graduated from the GCLS Writing Academy. Tell us about that experience and how it influenced your writing.

The Writing Academy was my first big investment in my writing self.  It gave me a lot more confidence that what I was writing was worth someone else taking their time to read. Does that make sense?

AJ: Yes. Something I think most writers crave, to eliminate those self-doubts.

The goal was to have a manuscript in condition to send out to a publisher by the time we graduated. We started out with the basics—grammar and manuscript preparation—then moved on to things like tension and characters and so forth, along with exposing us to several different genres and having roundtable discussions with some legendary lesbian fiction authors.

My instructors were great at giving constructive feedback. They didn’t just say “good job” but told us why something was good or was working well and where it needed improvement or wasn’t working as well as it should. When you have someone like Linda Kay Silva giving you that feedback, you get it in the face, right where you need it, but not in a way that you want to go hide in a hole forever and not write another word. I also had the good fortune to take classes from Sandra Moran, who wrote on one of my papers something to the effect of “this was very good but I know you can do better” and she was right. I was mentored for several weeks at the end of the Academy by none other than Georgia Beers, who I was so afraid of disappointing, but apparently didn’t, since I graduated.

Some of what they teach you is about having the mindset of an author. Thinking like a professional. It worked. Of the twelve writers (including me) in the class of 2015, most are now also published authors—some several times over, like C.D. Cain and Jody Klaire. We all cheered each other on for that year, and continue to be colleagues today. As I told someone in July at the conference, I started that class as a woman who writes. I finished that class as an author. By then, I knew I could do it. It also helped that you kept telling me that I could do it, too!

AJ:  I have to admit I was envious of your getting Georgia Beers as a mentor. She’s the only author I’ve ever written a fan letter to! If you could spend the day with anyone in the world who would it be and why?

I’ve always wished I could’ve spent some time with Carl Sagan. I know that sounds nerdy, but I was a huge fan and he seemed like he would’ve been fascinating to talk to. Actually, I would have loved to put Carl Sagan and Sandra Moran at a table, plied them with whatever they wanted to keep them there and just listened to them talk. I once told Sandra that and she thought it was a great idea, too.

AJ: If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be? (can't ask for more wishes) :>

Okay, aside from world peace, a million dollars and all that. I’d have to say that I wish we could bring Sandra Moran back and have her never get cancer. I’d love to see what her brilliant mind was going to come up with next.

I’d love to have a vacation home closer to my best friends in New Jersey so we could spend more time together.

AJ: Ditto that!

I’d love to be able to make my body about twenty years younger, but not have to go back to actually being in my 40’s, going through the hot flashes again, and having to work at a 9-5 job to pay the bills.  I do like being retired, with working optional. I can quit writing any time I want…sure I can.

AJ: Are you good at multi tasking or do you prefer to concentrate on one thing at a time?

I’m not bad at multi-tasking, but I prefer to zone-in on one thing. Are you a multi-tasker?

AJ: I am the queen of multitasking! I always have several projects I’m juggling. When I write though, it’s always just one book at a time.


I’ve always wondered where you write. Do you have your laptop in your lap in the recliner or on the sofa or do you sit at your desk and work?

AJ:  Here are a couple of pictures to answer that question. Mostly I write on the recliner, sometimes with cat, sometimes without! Although, I enjoy writing on the sun porch as well. 

writing 2

What about you?

I’m one of those sit at my laptop at my desk people. The desk is usually my desk in our office at home, but has been a TV tray and a chair in the corner of a bedroom, the kitchen table, or the porch table when the weather is nice.

AJ:  Is there another author you would like to meet in person?

If you’d asked me this before the GCLS conference, I’d have said yes. The answer would have been you. But other than you, I’ve gotten to meet so many wonderful authors at GCLS conferences that I can’t think of anyone else.

Is there an author you’ve always wanted to meet in person but haven’t?

AJ: Beside you? (grin) Like you, I met so many at GCLS. (LOL, I got to meet Georgia Beers!)

What's your favorite thing about writing?

Oh goodness, the feeling you get when you get it right. When the words just flow and you read them back later and they still work just as well.

AJ: And your least favorite?

Hmm… trying to think of something I’m not fond of connected to writing. Actually, I once almost lost several days of work (several thousand words) when my computer malfunctioned. My son-in-law finally helped me find my manuscript in some obscure place where my computer arbitrarily decided to save it. I now save my work in three places every day, including a separate drive that I can unplug from my computer if I want to.

AJ: List three words that best describe you!

Optimist. Content. Hopelessly Romantic (see, I ran those two together!).

AJ: Very clever…LOL, should we add slick to the list? What do you consider to be your finest accomplishment?

My daughter, Darlene. She has turned out to be a wonderful mom herself and a beautiful, intelligent, successful woman. I can’t take all the credit since she has done so much of it herself, but I gave her a solid foundation and she built on it.

AJ:  When I selected that question, I bet myself that would be your response. I love being right.

What about you, AJ, what would you say you are most proud of accomplishing?

AJ: Hmm…tough question. I guess it would be having a wonderful relationship and finding a great partner to share my life with. She really is my better half.

How has being an author changed you as a person?

It’s made me much more confident. My biggest fear in life has been failure. I was always an overachiever, doing much more than I had to just so I wouldn’t fail. The one thing I hadn’t faced down was my fear of failure as a writer. I faced it down by taking the Writing Academy and graduating. It helped me overcome that fear, preparing me to be an author. Of course, having the first publisher I sent my manuscript to accept it, well, that didn’t hurt either!

AJ: What has been your favorite scene to write so far?

I had the most fun writing the scene in Hurricane Season where Shawn and AJ are camping. A spider drops out of the trees on Shawn’s head and AJ goes after it. I wrote part of that scene originally as an assignment during the Writing Academy, which was to write something showcasing one of your character’s biggest fears.

You’ve got a lot more scenes to choose from. What would be your favorite?

AJ: Um…I so enjoyed the interaction between Ren and Lindy in Sunset Island. Although there was a scene in Anything Your Heart Desires between Stacy and her mother where she is explaining Jo living with her that was fun. I’d almost forgotten writing it, and it made me laugh out loud when I reread it. But my favorite and most challenging had to be where Dana and Nic finally move forward with their relationship.

BJ, are you working on another book? When can we expect to see it?

I am. It’s sort of a sequel to Hurricane Season, tentatively titled Snowbird Season. I promised Kelly (Shawn’s friend in Hurricane Season) that if she stood back and let Shawn and Carrie get together (she knew that was the right thing to do) I’d see about letting her get the girl in the next one. She did, and now I’m working on Kelly’s story. She’s cooperating quite well so far, and I’m hoping to have it finished in the next few months. With editing and all I’m guessing it won’t be out till early next year. I do have an excellent editor, though, who’s good at cracking the whip. It could be out sooner!

So…When can we expect another AJ Adaire book? It’s been awhile and your fans (me included) are looking forward to another one of your great stories!

AJ: I’ve been so busy with my move and my knee surgery. Those excuses are getting pretty old now, so I guess I have to get myself in gear. Hopefully soon…

This has been fun, BJ. Thank you for the interview.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. You’re not only my favorite author but one of my favorite people on the planet. I hope we don’t have to wait several more years to see each other in person again.

AJ: Me too. For those of you interested in reading BJ’s book, or contacting her, here is what you need.

My book can be found on Amazon 

It's also available at Barnes and Noble 

and Bella Books 

Here's my website:

my FB page as BJ:

 (I have an author page as well as Betty page) 

And of course there's my DPP connection: and look for me under authors. 

And my twitter account:

© JEN 2014