Saturday, February 4, 2012

Author Interview With Peggy Blann Phifer

Peggy is an author of the fantastic new suspense-romance, To See the Sun, released January 6, 2012. Please join me in congratulating her on crafting a masterpiece.  

Peggy is an author and columnist, book reviewer and author interviewer whose work has appeared on various websites and writer periodicals, both in print and online. She is also an avid reader and loves to escape by diving between the covers of a good book. Peg enjoys handcrafts of all kinds and her home shows off some of her work. However, she uses most of her crafts as gifts for friends and family. Check out her website at and you’ll agree with me she has crafted an elegant website! I, another child of the King, love the purple. 

Peggy is a retired executive assistant and lives in southern Nevada with her husband Jim.

Welcome to “Reflections of God’s Glory,” Peggy. 

Thank you for the invitation, Sue. I’m so glad to be here.

How long have you been writing? 

Probably ever since I could hold a crayon. I loved scribbling little bits of this and that. But I started seriously thinking of writing as more than dabbling around 1980, I guess. I started pursuing publication, entering contests, etc in the mid-90’s.

Is there a particular time when you knew you were a writer? 

No, not specifically. But when I began what is now To See the Sun I felt alive and eager to put fingers to keyboard and watch the words flow. Maybe that’s when I first knew. And later, when the temptation to quit emerged, God said, very distinctly, “No.” Then, He said “Wait.”

Would you describe your writing career high and low points? 

The high is, naturally, being able to hold this gorgeous book in my hands, thumb through the pages, read my own words. There’s not a feeling like it. Lows? Getting contest entries back with low marks from the judges. Some really hurt, and I put them away for months before taking them out again. The sharp pain was gone and I could review them a bit more objectively and saw the value in what they had to say. None of them were wrong. Imagine that!

What inspired you to write To See the Sun? 

The final version and this title were a result of my day job way back when. I did a lot of phone work through the various positions I held. (I hate telephones!) When I’d make a call and identify myself: “Hi, this is Peggy in Las Vegas,” almost without exception their comeback would be “Hey, Peg, win any money lately?” I’d usually come back with “I don’t gamble” or simply “No,” and get on with business. But one day I guess I snapped. Tired of the assumption that Vegas was ALL about gambling, that all we ever did was gamble, I got a little sarcastic. “Hey, y’know, Vegas is a city just like any other beyond ‘The Strip.’ We go to church, our kids actually go to school. I live in a 1,310 square-foot house, not a Penthouse, with a small yard and a few cats.” And other variations, depending on how I felt. Sarcastic, yeah. But, well . . .  

So I decided to change the focus of my WIP (Work in Progress) and set it in Las Vegas, thinking maybe, just maybe, I could show another aspect of my adopted hometown beyond the Three G’s: gambling, glamour and glitz.

It’s the first in the Desert Sun Series. Have you started your next book? What is its title? 

Yes, To Hear the Wind is Book 2, and it’s about 1/3 written in very rough draft. If you’ve read To See the Sun, Book 2 is Magie’s story. (Magie is Erin’s best friend and a major secondary character. If there is such a thing.) 

God willing, Book 3, To Taste the Rain, will be Larke’s story. (Larke is Erin’s older sister and the only remaining member of her family.) 

I’m playing around with a fourth book, but not sure about it yet. Three may be enough. Besides, I have a historical romantic suspense waiting for my attention. It, by the way, is about half-written.

What book have you read lately you couldn’t put down? 

Oh, my. Just one? Most recently, that would be Wolfsbane, Book 3 in the Discarded Heroes, by Ronie Kendig. Before that, Mine is the Night, by Liz Curtis Higgs. You see, my reading taste is all over the place.

Yes, Peggy. I can relate. Would you tell me what it means for you to be a writer? 

Sleepless nights, a continually messy desk, lots of coffee, fighting my infernal internal editor . . . No, seriously, I love writing. I love being a writer, and now, officially an author. It’s exciting, frustrating, rewarding, frustrating . . .

I am glad I'm not alone with all the feelings you described. Is there a verse that keeps you focused on your calling as a writer? 

Yes, the verse that comforts and encourages me is Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Do you have a favorite quote? 

Yes. “Keep listening for that still small voice if you are weary on life’s road; the Lord will make your heart rejoice if you will let him take your load.” –Hess

Would you describe a day in your writing life? 

Boringly ordinary. My waking hours are regulated by one bossy cat and a dog that needs to be let out. I think the dog and cat are in cahoots. Bubba (the cat, who sleeps on my pillow) starts waking me up with whisker tickles, and if that doesn’t work, I get claws in my neck and head. That usually works. 

Breakfast is haphazard. With no true schedule, our meals are—whenever we’re hungry. After letting said dog out, getting him and the cats fed, I’ll get my favorite coffee mug and head to the computer to read my Jesus Calling and posting a daily Scripture Promise on my blog. Check e-mail, Tweet for a while, see what my Facebook friends are up to, and then get to the writing.  

Distractions and interruptions are normal. I’ve given up trying to flash a “Do Not Disturb” sign. Cats don’t read, and hubby thinks it doesn’t apply to him. But if not him, who? We’re the only two humans around. I have to laugh. If he knows I’m writing, he stands outside the doorway and speaks to me, opening with “I hate to bother you—” but he doesn’t come into the room. Just stands (safely!) out of reach. LOL 

Afternoon I walk the dog, eat if there’s anything handy, then back to the writing, Twitter, FB, etc. 

At bedtime, I read. That’s my time.

Peggy, your day sounds so much like mine, I think you wrote about me, except I don't have a cat--just a dog, a sweet, white fluffy one. Would you tell me what advice you would give a newbie writer? 

The stock answer normally is “Write what you know.” My response is write from your heart. Don’t try to fit your writing to ‘the market’ because by the time you’ve completed your manuscript and seek publication, ‘the market’ will have changed and you’re left with an unmarketable story. So, again, write from your heart, then find the market.

Thank you. And what advice would you give a seasoned but discouraged writer? 

Don’t give up. Tenacity is critical. If you feel God has led you to this adventure, and it is that, then press on. I’m a stubborn person and just as stubborn about my writing. Hang in there.

Thank you, Peggy, for taking time for this interview. I know your words encourage and inspire writers. We appreciate you. 

Peggy is celebrating her success by giving away a copy of To See the Sun here at “Reflections of God’s Glory.” We will draw a name from those who leave a comment. Thank you for sharing the excitement with us.


Beth Reinke said...

So much fun to get a peek into your life, Peg. I'm chuckling about your husband standing in the doorway, "not" wanting to bother you. LOL

Blessings on your writing of the rest of the series!

Sue, thank you for posting this wonderful interview.

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Thanks, Beth. Yeah, he just does not "get" this writing thing. Too funny.

Sue, thank you so much for inviting me to be on your blog.

Pat Rowland said...

I just submitted a coment that disappeared so you may get this twice since I don't know what happened. I loved the interview and getting to know more about our friend, Peg. I am currently reading her new book and loving it. I am already anxious for books 2 and 3. Thanks, Peg and Sue.

Diane H. Pitts said...

I am so glad you now realize a long-time dream! You have a series simmering on the back burner just ready to boil!

Diane H. Pitts

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Hey, Pat and Diane! Thanks for reading the interview and posting comments.

Pat, glad you're enjoying the book. That really fills my day.

Beth Cantrell said...

Pat, your interview with Sue has given me encouragement. I have questioned my ability to write, but you said to write it anyway and follow the leading of my heart. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so gald Sue did an interview with you, Peg. I enjoyed reading about your life.

You are an example to those of us who have delayed working on their writing until they've heard God's whisper to continue on with it. I'm so happy God has blessed you with this gift and you have been able to get your debut novel, To See the Sun, published. I have read it and am anxious to read books 2 and 3 ... and hope there will be a 4th. Hmmmm ... maybe a continuation of Erin's life following her and Mac's life utnil he leaves the nest. :-)


Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Thank you, Marsha. And I'm so glad you liked the book!

Melissa said...

Love your genuine answers. I'd really love to read your book. Enter me in the drawing. ; )

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

Thanks, Melissa. And good luck :)
I just remembered something. We, as Christians, don't believe in "luck", so some time ago an old friend found a way to use the word anyway.
K=(the) King

Works for me! ::grin::

Sue Tornai said...

Peggy, I love your version of LUCK! You are right. It is our faith that gets us through each day--not luck.

Z said...

Wonderful interview, ladies. Such a unique set of questions and it really made for a great conversation.

Jean Ann Williams said...

What a great interview ladies!

I just love the photo of you holding your book, Peg. I see gladness in your eyes.

Your advice to write from your heart is spot on right.

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

There's a glimmer of tears there, too, Jean. :)