Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Phyllis Schieber to Diary of an Eccentric! Phyllis first visited my blog back in January as part of her Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tour for The Sinner’s Guide to Confession. (You can read my review and Phyllis’ guest post here.) This time, she’s stopping by to promote Willing Spirits. (You can read my review here if you haven’t already.)
Welcome, Phyllis! Thanks so much for taking time to answer my questions. What inspired you to write Willing Spirits?
My friendships with the women in my life inspired me. I felt a need to celebrate those relationships and to pay them tribute.
How long did it take to write the book?
I would say about three years with rewrites. I don’t write full-time though I hope to some day.
Do you have a special place where you write?
I like to write in my office at home. It’s very comfortable. We created an office for me in the garage. The office has a separate entrance, and it is filled with books and photos and artwork that I like.
What are your top 5 favorite books?
I think this list changes, but today, I would pick the following:
The Fat Woman’s Joke—Fay Weldon
Madame Bovary-Gustav Flaubert
Dinner at Homesick Restaurant—Anne Tyler
Ordinary Love and Good Will–Jane Smiley
I never read one book at a time. These books are on my nightstand. I’m sure because I checked!
Gwen John, A Life by Susan Roe
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clark
The Beck Diet Solution by Judith S. Beck
The Republic of Love by Carol Shields
Are you working on another book? If so, any hints as to what it’s about?
I am working on another book. I don’t really want to go into too much detail, but it’s very much the same and very much different from what I’ve written before.
With regard to writing, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
I’ve received much good advice from very wise folks, but I always return to Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Maria Rilke. In the first letter, Rilke responds to the young poet’s question about whether or not his work has any merit. Rilke suggests that there is only answer to this question:
“There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple ‘I must,’ then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”
What else is there to say beyond that? Write because you must. It is the only reason to write.
Phyllis, thanks again for stopping by my blog. I wish you much success!
Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate.
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