I thought I’d introduce you to two people I’ve spent a LOT of time with the past few years.

The hero and heroine in Sandwich, with a Side of Romance.

I met them in 2009. They have been down-right irritating at times, but then again, I’ve been mean to them as well, so I guess it’s a two-way street. (We authors have to be mean to our characters… otherwise our books would be super boring!)

(the pictures are what I used to help me when writing my characters… like many authors, I comb the Internet for the “perfect” picture for my characters. And it’s easy and fun to use celebrities!) 

My “view” of Maddie


I had such a fun time getting to know Maddie! She has this massive dose of spunk and isn’t afraid to call ’em like she sees ’em. She grew up in Chicago and has had a super rough background, to say the very least.

Six months prior to the story beginning, she came to know Jesus. It totally rocked her world, but she still carries around a load of baggage from her old life, even though she’s determined to leave it behind.

For one thing, she’s pledged to never get married, and even a step further, to never rely on a guy ever again. In her mind, all men are scum of the earth. Except, of course, her little brother who currently lives in a foster home. It’s her dream to get custody of him so she can actually have a family again.

Her mother died when she was a tween, and her dad… well.. see note about all men being scum. He is no exception.

She’s moved to Sandwich, IL to get a new start, but she arrives with hardly anything to her name except a past-its-prime vehicle and the promise of a job at a salon.

Which she gets fired from on her first day of work.

Enter Reuben-the-Jerk…

Reuben… pre-botched haircut…


Convention tells a writer that a hero needs to be wonderful and swoon-worthy from the get-go, making women readers drool and look at their husbands and be like, “Why can’t you be more like him?”

Okay, I’m slightly kidding. And women readers, give your hubby some slack, okay? Repeat after me: They aren’t real!

My writing, however, doesn’t always follow convention.

Reuben being one prime example. He’s far far from perfect. But my author-heart loves him anyway. He can be moody and grumbly when things aren’t going his way. He’s consumed with his business, a total workaholic.  And honestly? He can just be a big jerk sometimes.

But he can also be super cute when he wants to be too. He’s so obsessed about his image that you just want to pat his adorable cheek and say, “No worries, love, you’d be handsome no matter what!”

He also is a fabulous protector of Maddie. And we all how hot THAT is in a guy!

Oh, and did I mention he’s almost-kinda-sorta engaged?? 

The fun thing is… Reuben has known Jesus all his life. He was all but born with a Bible in his hand. Yet at times, Maddie acts like more the Christian than He does. Obviously this is something he needs to work on…

No worries. Your ever helpful author is here to throw obstacles and stuff in his way to give him a nice kick in the pants.

Just doin’ my job…


What about you? Are you a “born-and-bread” Christian or a later-in-life one? Or maybe you’re still trying to figure out if this Christian thing is for you or just for losers like… me? That’s okay to admit too:-) I don’t bite those who don’t share my faith… well, not TOO hard anyway, HA!

Me? I’ve never known a time when I didn’t “love” Jesus. In fact, I don’t really remember “becoming” a Christian, except at a moment as a preteen that I tired of “making sure” I wouldn’t go to hell by asking Jesus into my heart every. single. day. so I wrote down the date and decided that from then on, I’d KNOW Jesus was my savior.



  1. I just started your book this weekend and I love it!!!! You write with such a light hearted, fun spin on it all. Brilliant, girl!

  2. I was born in the Church and was baptized when I was 12. So I'm a lifer 🙂

    I can't wait to read this book!


    1. Yeah fellow lifer!! Thanks, colletta!

  3. Can't wait to read your book either. Also, I love the picture you "borrowed" for Reuben. One of my favorite actors from one of my favorite shows! 🙂

    1. HA! I'd found him a LONG time ago after googling celebrity hair styles trying to find a suitable Reuben. I didn't even know who it was until I sent it to my celebrity guru author friend, Kaye Dacus, and found out!

      Yeah, I don't get around much, HA HA HA!

  4. Ohhhhhhh…..can't wait for my book!


  5. Can't wait for the book. I am a later in life Christian, I became a Christian at the end of my freshman year of high school. Becoming a Christian as a teenage; now as a College student and a woman in my mid twenties I have a heart for teens.

    1. That is a fabulous story, Carissa!!!! And how wonderful that is God using you to minister to teens!

  6. Grew up in church. Grew up knowing the Gospel and the power of prayer. Did not accept Christ as MY personal savior until I was 15. So, not sure which category I fall into. Excited to read Maddie and Reuben's story!

    1. Hmmmmm… I guess that makes you late-blooming lifer, ha ha ha! For the record, I was 13 when I "sealed the deal" with Jesus. 🙂

  7. I am a later in life christian. I got saved in my late 20's. A time when I had to reach up to touch rock bottom. So thankful that Jesus is there no matter where we are in life. Love how you portray your characters as imperfect, since the only perfect one is Jesus. That even as a born again Christian, we all have areas in our life that the Holy Spirit has to work on. We don't always "act" the way people think a Christian should. Not an excuse, but I believe it shows forgiveness from our Lord. Even though we aren't perfect, He still loves us and continues to deal with us. We are the clay and he's the potter. :)))

    1. AMEN! Jesus is the only perfect one… although we can sure try *grin* We're always a work in progress:-)

  8. I am one of those that was born into a church family, has gone to the same church since i was 10 days old but didn't accept God till 9 but am working towards reaccepting since I have strayed away…HORRENDOUSLY STRAYED AWAY. I am one of those people that has a hard time telling the devil to go away and stay away. Even though I've been strong in my faith as best as I can so far, I'm scared that when I leave for college in just a couple weeks that I will be that one girl that gets pregnant after a one night stand with some strange guy cuz she went to a party and didn't want to say no to the "cool" people.

    As for your book, I read the first chapter preview and now I'm waiting to read the rest. My curiosity has been spiked and now I anxiously wait to see the full version

    1. Cool people are totally overrated!!!!


      Thank you for sharing your struggle. That is a HUGE first step to admit. I think it's the people who go off all cocky and full of themselves, thinking they'd NEVER be the ones to give in, that many times are blindsided.

      Going into this new section of life fully aware of the challenges you'll face is a fabulous step! You know what's ahead, and can prepare and "arm up" for it.

      My daughter is starting middle school this year. Much different than college, I understand, but we had a talk the other day about the years she was coming into, and how they weren't going to be easy. She was like, "huh?" because she's been fairly sheltered by "good" kids, but I wanted to make sure she was aware that the road into adulthood isn't paved in easy decisions.

      My challenge to her this year was to start EVERY day in God's word. Not even at night, but every single morning. Even if it's just a quick verse in the Proverbs. Being grounded in God's word and seeking Him every morning before you even start your day will help you stay strong and build a foundation of JESUS that the Devil has NO stronghold over.

      The devil can huff and puff and try to blow your house down, but he will NOT succeed if you're built on Jesus.

      To pull a cliche from my teenage years… ya gotta tell the Devil to "talk to the hand"… 🙂

      Know that *I* will be praying for you this year and if you ever need anything or someone to pray for you about something specific, shoot me an email!! krista at krista phillips dot com.

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