Alice Blog

Did you sometimes doubt about your books?

Comment:

I am a sixteen year old girl from Germany and I started to read your Alice books when I was very little. For me it feels like I’ve grown up with Alice. She was always there for me when I had a bad day or felt sad because in this case I just started reading and suddenly felt so much better. I wanna thank you for creating all these great characters that I love so much, and I wanna ask you something.
I think your books are absolutely great- but did you sometimes doubt about them or thought, that a story you’re writing isn’t really good? I’m just asking because I am also trying to write books and I’m trying it for years now, I started writing stories when I was a child and since that it is my dream to become an author just as you are who inspires people and makes them happy. But every time I start writing a story, there are these doubts that it isn’t good enough and nobody will want to read it. I almost never finish a story.
But you wrote so many books and I’m just very interested if you ever fought with problems like that or maybe just have a tip about writing amazing books like the Alice books.
It would mean a lot to me if you answer.

Phyllis replied:

There is much, too much, that I could write about this, and not enough space.  I would recommend that you read two books of mine–How I Came to be a Writer, and The Craft of Writing the Novel.  The first book tells how I began publishing stories, then novels; the second book talks about all the things I think about before and during the writing.  Generally, I begin with a certain situation: an abused dog keeps running away from it’s owner, coming to me, and my parents insist I have to return it.  What do I do?  or  I’m a motherless girl, being raised by my dad and older brother, and I’m looking for a role model.  I’m desperately hoping to be assigned to the homeroom of the most beautiful teacher in school, but I get the one I most don’t want to get instead.  What do I do?   From this point on, I have to feel like an actress on stage:  I have to feel the part of every character in my story, from the most attractive to the villain, if there is one.  And I don’t start writing until I know how I want to begin, what the big climax will be, and how it’s going to end, plus a few of the big scenes or stepping stones along the way.  If you really feel the plot–goose bumpies if it’s scary, tearful if it’s sad–you will probably write in a way that will register with readers and make them keep reading to the end.  If I do feel that the writing is going flat, I stop, back up, read to the point where the writing started getting boring, delete the flat part, and take a break, waiting until I feel like going back to my book, and figuring what I would want to happen if I were the reader, or be afraid is going to happen next,  or would be surprised if it happened next, and then I’m inspired to keep at it.  Best of luck to you!

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Posted on: February 26, 2017

Last Book

Comment:

I read your last book of the Alice series, and it made me cry- because Alice actually grows up- so quickly. Also, all her friends are different- I feel so sorry for them because now I realize that life is actually shorter than you think. Thanks for writing!!

Phyllis replied:

Well,  our own lives last longer than 517 pages.  But I wanted to answer the questions that fans most ask about Alice’s future, and that is the way I see it.    Her friends are all choosing things they want to do in life, the person they most want to be with, so it’s not surprising that they are individuals.  But remember what a preacher said in one of the many weddings?   “Remember that in every groom, there is a little boy; and in every bride, there is a little girl.”  Or something like that.  There is still a lot of real Pamela left in her, the same with Elizabeth and Gwen.   Life is short, that’s certain, but all of us have a chance to make it meaningful  in our own way.

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Posted on: February 25, 2017

A Second Series?

Comment:

Maybe you could make a second series of books about Pamela or Elizabeth’s daughter or son or something like that. That would be so cool. Do you think you could send me an autograph?? That would be awesome, because the Alice series are one of my favorite book series.

 

Phyllis replied:

I really don’t want to start another series about anyone, though I’d never say never.   When you begin a series, you are committed to the next book and the next, and there are so many different kinds of books I’d like to do.  After I do a humorous book I may want to write a mystery…or a novel for adults…or a chapter book for second-graders…or an adventure story.  I did enjoy writing the Shiloh books very much, as well as the series that begins with The Boys Start the War and The Girls Get even.  I can’t send you an autograph unless I know your home address.  Your address will never appear on this page, however.  Readers’ names and addresses are always private with me.

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Posted on: February 9, 2017

I LOVE ALICE

Comment:

I love Alice. Most of the books my sister and I read over and over again. I feel like Alice is a real character.
Can there be a movie like for most of the Alice books????
Pllllleeeeaaasssseee!!!!!!

 

Phyllis replied:

Perhaps you  know that there is one movie out, Alice upside Down, which is based very loosely on “The Agony of  Alice.”  You can see it on DVD.   While I thought that the girl playing Alice was very good, as well as the actress playing Mrs. Plotkin, some of the other actors were so different from the characters in the book that it was hard to identify with them.  People who did not know the Alice books, however, liked it very much.  I have had no word about any other  Alice movies in the making, but it often takes years before movies are made, based on books.  I’m delighted that you and your sister enjoy the series so much.

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Posted on: February 9, 2017

The best thing ever!

Comment:

thank you so much for making alice she is the best thing ever. i am homeschooled and i have a lot of reading with the ciriculum we have. but every morning and night i read two chapters. it would be a dream come true if i got your autograph and got to meet you in person.:]

 

Phyllis replied:

I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series.  I don’t currently have any talks scheduled in the area where I live, but I’d be glad to send my autograph if you give me your address.  It will not be published on this website.

 

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Posted on: February 8, 2017

alice in so funny!

Comment:

I love Alice and think she is so funny sometimes.She was the only thing that kept me going through grade school. My question is how did you get the idea about her?

Phyllis replied:

When I wrote the first book,  “The Agony of Alice,”  (the three prequels came later), I had just intended to write about a motherless girl who is looking for a role model, being raised by her dad and older brother.  But after the book was published, I got so many letters, and reviewers said things like, “Alice’s many fans await her further adventures,” and I said, “Whaaat?”  So I talked with my editor about starting a series, and agreed to do one if I would only be expected to write one book a year (I wanted to be able to write other things) and if Alice could grow a little older in each book.  She agreed.  I figured out that if I wrote about 3 books for every year of Alice’s life, up to the age of 18, it would take about 28 books, and now they are all published, with one final book taking her from 18 to 60.  I’m so glad you like the series.

 

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Posted on: February 5, 2017

Alice and Patrick [spoiler alert]

Comment:

I love Alice more than every other book. I started reading them in German (I’m from Switzerland) and because the second half is only in English, I must read them in English. It was so exciting I couldn’t stop read them. These books helped me for speaking better English and I love this language.
Is the love story between Alice and Patrick real? That they know each other since sixth grade, then Patrick went to Spain and to the Peace Corps and that they met on the airport in Chicago again? Happened this between you and Bill or have you imagined that?

Phyllis replied:

Ummm… Who is Bill?   The Alice books are all from my imagination, though based loosely on a few things that happened to me growing up (the Tarzan story in “The Agony of Alice,” for one.)  I loved hearing that the books helped you learn English better.  Since I have no second language at all, I’m impressed at how well you are doing.  Yes, I’m afraid Germany published only the younger books, before Alice begins to develop sexual feelings, but it certainly has helped dozens and dozens of German readers learn English!

 

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Posted on: February 4, 2017

Alice Is Part of Me

Comment:

I’m 14 now, and last night I reread Now I’ll Tell You Everything for the tenth time. I just have to say how much of an impact Alice has made on my life. I read the Agony of Alice for the first time when I was ten, and I’ve read every single book since then. I know people tell you this all the time, but thank you so much for writing this series. I can relate to Alice in every single way. She’s the perfect role model: always one step ahead of me, going through the same things as me and showing me how to handle them. I don’t always think about it, but the Alice series has really had a big part in how I’ve grown up and thought about life. Even when I graduate high school and can no longer compare my life to hers on a semester-by-semester basis, I’ll always have the last book to refer to throughout my life.

Phyllis replied:

I’m happy that you enjoyed the series so much.  I truly loved writing the books, as much as I’ve written anything else.  When I read back over some of the books now, I see that emotionally I invested a great deal of myself, and perhaps that’s why it was always so gratifying when it was time to write about another semester or another summer.

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Posted on: February 4, 2017

Thank you for writing, and practically saving my life.

Hello! I’m sure you get a lot of messages that start off like this and sound similar to this…but I don’t think that I could live peacefully without writing this to you. You have saved my life, without even knowing it.

When I first started reading the Alice Series, I made a new friend. I had just transferred to a cyber school and I pretty much had no one. I was in a tough place mentally and was self harming and suicidal. But, reading your books make me feel better. And I can honestly say that I’m not sure where I would be without them. (Hopefully that doesn’t sound too crazy.)

Moving on, I ended up having an accident that lead me to the hospital for a spinal injury…the scans revealed a disease that I have that will make me end up in a wheelchair and not having good use of my limbs. Things are already hard, but I am trying to make the best of things while I can.

 

Phyllis replied:

I feel honored that my books have meant so much to you, and wish that I could say something now that would make your life easier.   What I do hope for you is that before things get as difficult as you tell me they might, medical science will have advanced to the place that better treatments and better outcomes will change your future for the better.  Every person on the planet will some day face an illness or physical challenge that medicine cannot overcome, because medicine will always be advancing.  Some people simply face it sooner than others.  That’s why it’s so important to make every day count, and it sounds as though you are living by that philosophy.  Thank you so much for your email!

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Posted on: February 4, 2017

Are the Alice books also printed in Braille?

Comment:
My 15 year old LOVES your Alice series; she did not care for reading much before this series!
I also have a 14 year old who is blind & reads braille. I am curious if you know if the series is printed in braille at any of the online braille bookstores? I would really like to try them with her, its a struggle to get her to read. Thank you!

Phyllis replied:

I feel quite sure that they are.  Last fall I gave a talk at the Maryland Library for the Blind in Baltimore.  I know that many in the audience had read a number of my books in Braille.  Please contact them and they will be able to give you the information you need.

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Posted on: February 1, 2017

 

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