I had the pleasure of interviewing Phyllis Humphrey this week, author of the newly released romance novel, Cold April.
Phyllis A. Humphrey is the author of eight other romance novels, a non-fiction book published by John Wiley & Sons, several short stories and many articles that have appeared in national magazines. Humphrey’s long-time interest in the Titanic has a basis in family history; her grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from England on board the New York, the ship that almost collided with the Titanic on the first day of its tragic voyage. When not writing, Phyllis sings and acts in local theatrical productions. She has raised four children and currently lives with her husband in Southern California.
Hello and welcome, Phyllis! Tell us a little about yourself.
I've wanted to write ever since I was a little girl, but Life sometimes has a way of interfering. My first short story was published in 1975 and my first novel in 1985. But I didn't sell another book until 1995. Those ten years were spent (besides raising children) in reading books and magazines on writing, attending classes and workshops and joining critique groups wherever I lived. I'm a person who paid her dues and Persistence is my motto.
I see from your website you typically write romance or romantic suspense. What other genre(s) do you write?
One of my first book sales was actually a non-fiction book about investment clubs called WALL STREET ON $20 A MONTH. John Wiley published it and after that I sold many articles to magazines, such as MS, FACT, SAVVY, INDIANAPOLIS and others. Concentrating since then on fiction, I also write straight mystery and cozy mystery, and COLD APRIL is my second historical romance.
Your novel, COLD APRIL, was just released by Camel Press. The cover is stunning! What is this story about? Where can readers find it?
COLD APRIL is a historical romance set on board the Titanic. The information about the ship striking an iceberg and sinking on its maiden voyage in April 1912, is well-known, but some readers may not be aware that there is a commemorative cruise planned in April 2012, to mark the 100th anniversary of that fateful trip. The book will be available through my website, Amazon, and many other venues, as it will be an e-book as well as trade paperback and, later, perhaps, a hard cover.
What kind of research did you do to capture the authenticity a Titanic love story would require?
I've had a lifelong interest in the Titanic even before I learned that my grandfather, John Ashworth, emigrated to the U.S. on the New York. A few years later, the New York almost collided with the Titanic leaving Southhampton that morning. As a writer, the thought of the largest ship in the world sinking on its maiden voyage fascinated me, as a story that no one would believe if it weren't true. I have many books about the Titanic, several since the remains were found in 1985. I've also seen all the films and documentaries about it and also visited a replica of the ship. The things I learned tumbled about in my head until I decided to write a romance novel (having sold eight by that time) and - unlike James Cameron - let my hero and heroine survive.
Please list any previous or upcoming books so that readers who enjoy COLD APRIL can find them.
By coincidence, a contemporary romance novel, SOUTHERN STAR, which I wrote with a friend some years ago, is being published by Avalon Books t his same month. Avalon publishes in hard cover and sells mainly to libraries, but that book too, will be available through Amazon or my website. Two other romances, FREE FALL (Cambridge Books) and ROMAN HOLIDAY (Wild Rose Press) were published in 2009.
Before you go, where can readers/writers find you?
My website is http://www.phyllishumphrey.com/ and I'm in the process of setting up a Facebook page. I plan to post Titanic lore on my blog and hope that other blogs will want to spread this story about one of the most tragic (yet preventable) events of the 20th century.
Thanks so much to Phyllis for stopping by. Please check out Cold April here.