SANDWICH – Krista Phillips’ newborn daughter was in need of a heart transplant and Phillips was in need of an outlet.
For the 357 days her daughter had spent in the hospital since birth, Phillips shared her thoughts, worries and unwavering faith in God on her blog One Woman’s Dream, which slowly but surely gained hundreds of followers.
After her now 2-year-old daughter recovered from the surgeries, Phillips realized how much she enjoyed writing. Having read Christian romance novels since she was a little girl, Phillips decided to jump into the genre with her debut novel “Sandwich, With a Side of Romance.”
The Sandwich native, who now lives just outside Nashville, Tenn., revisits her childhood home through the novel, recalling old city staples such as A&J Automotive, which her uncle owned.
“I tapped into a lot of the memories I still have of Sandwich,” Phillips said. “I remember my grandma Johnson introduced me to Christian romance and I would sit down and read straight through. I’m a romantic at heart and love Jesus.”
The story centers on Maddie Buckner and her 11-year-old brother Kyle who view Sandwich as their way out of foster care. But Maddie loses her new job after less than a day and must learn to trust that God has a plan and knows the beginning and the end.
Phillips said the story evolved as she wrote it and she just focused on letting God guide the words. She said she did not want to “hit people over the head with the Bible,” but wanted to stir their faith and sprinkle in some humor.
“Nothing is worth doing unless it’s for Jesus,” she said. “But I think God thinks humor can be a real good medicine and if I can give people a good smile and a good laugh, I will have done my job.”
Writing is quickly becoming Phillips’ job, who said she needed a “pinch me” moment when she was told Abingdon Press agreed to publish her novel. Since then she has joined the American Christian Writers Association, received glowing reviews from The Library Journal and has even participated in her first book signing.
She has already started work on a three-part series for her next novel adventure.
“In 2007, I wrote my first book and realized how bad it was,” Phillips said with a laugh. “Then I learned how to write a book correctly.”
While she lives in Tennessee, Phillips said Sandwich still holds a special place in her heart. She has fond memories of visiting her grandparents and extended family members year after year after she moved when she was 5, but she said she only has time to make it back once in a great while with four children and a busy schedule.
But she is not counting out visiting Sandwich through the world of literature once again.
“I’m not counting it out of the cards,” she said.