Monday, December 13, 2010

Writer Wednesday: Phillipa Ashley

~ * ~ Winter Holiday Edition ~ * ~


Phillipa Ashley

Many thanks to Kristin for asking me to tell you about My Writing Journey.

I actually took a very winding route to being a writer. You could say that I meandered along the byways for 40 years before suddenly jumping onto the freeway in a rocket-powered car!

You see, I never wanted, hoped or dreamed of becoming a novelist until 2005. Although I’ve always loved books and studied English Literature at university, the thought of writing a novel never entered my head. I thought that kind of thing was for geniuses like Jane Austen. I didn’t realise that ordinary people like me could do it too.

After university, I did become a writer, but of the non-fiction variety, working in advertising and in journalism. And so it continued until one night in November 2004…

Everything changed when I watched a BBC TV miniseries called North & South. This Victorian drama focused on the passionate romance between two strong characters, John Thornton and Margaret Hale.

It had a dramatic effect on me too. I was so transfixed that suddenly, I decided to write a modern fanfic based on the TV series. I posted my story anonymously on an internet fansite and to my amazement, lots of people wanted to read it.

By a strange quirk of fate, I’d stumbled through the magic door into the world of romantic fiction and I’ve never looked back since.

A year later, I’d written my first full-length novel – the book which eventually became Dating Mr. December.

Dating Mr. December focuses on the lives of a mountain rescue team. We have a holiday home in the Lake District of England, in fact there’s a base a few minutes’ walk away. The local team had just raised money for a new HQ and that set me thinking of how they might have raised the money – in my fictional world at least! I wanted to explore what might happen if a slick city girl entered that world with an outrageous proposal…

A year later, I’d sent the manuscript to a London literary agent and she sold it to a UK publisher. Then, a US TV producer saw it on Amazon and decided to make a movie out of it. Called 12 men of Christmas, the film my book inspired is currently airing on Lifetime.

Now Sourcebooks are bringing all four of my novels to the USA and I hope the most exciting part of the journey is still to come…

Phillipa Ashley studied English Language and Literature at Oxford before becoming a freelance copywriter and journalist. DATING MR. DECEMBER (called DECENT EXPOSURE in the UK) was the basis of last year’s Lifetime TV Movie “The 12 Men of Christmas.” She lives with her husband and daughter in Staffordshire, UK. For more information, please visit , follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

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Thank you Phillipa for being my Writer Wednesday guest this week. I have seen the Lifetime movie, The Twelve Men of December with Kristin Chenoweth and loved it, so I'm looking forward to reading the book that it was based on, Dating Mr. December. Congratulations to you on your successes and with your future writing.

Also, thanks to all who took time out of your busy day to stop by. Hope the holiday season brings you happiness and good health.

Kristin *<( :o)


  1. I have a similar story to yours (except that I'm older) ~ not only did I never think of writing poetry, I didn't even think I liked it until January 2010 at age 58. As Kristin knows, twitter changed all of that. It's lovely to see that you acted upon your sudden desire instead of just dreaming about it. Good luck with your future books. Happy Holidays to you both.

  2. Hi there. My earlier posy didn't seem to work. Thnaks for having me on the blog!

    Poetry Passion - so glad that you've strated writing too.