Alice Blog

More movies?

Comment:
Your Alice books are my favorites and I’ve read most of
them two or three times. I want more than practically anything for there to be
more movies; would you like that?

Phyllis replied:

It would be great if there were more Alice movies, but I’m not in charge of that.  “Alice Upside Down” is the only one they’ve done so far, based very loosely on “The Agony of Alice.”

 

Posted on: December 1, 2016

Something Important about Adult Life

Comment:

I have so much to say about the  Alice books.  They have had such a monumental impact on my life.  I realize that I’ve learned something really important about adult life from Alice in the final book:  Her life and decisions are her own.  She doesn’t share every detail of her life with Gwen, Pam, and Liz–or even Abbey and Val, or even Patrick!–anymore.   They’re all still close to her, and she keeps them updated on her life, but when they’re together she doesn’t feel she needs to do a play-by-play of her life since the last time they talked.  They can get together and just be present.  Alice doesn’t feel the need to run her life by anyone anymore, and that’s an idea that gives me hope, anticipation, and assurance for my own future.

Phyllis replied:

Yes, that’s an interesting observation.  As teens, one of the big pleasures of life is sharing every detail of a date with our friends.  “He said…then I said…and he said…and I said….”  It’s a way we confirm our sisterhood.  And part of that–the sisterhood part–follows us into marriage and parenthood, and this is necessary and good to have friends we can share with–but we also begin to  learn to respect boundaries.  Would your husband or boyfriend, for example, be comfortable knowing that you told your friends what he did or said on a certain occasion?  Is your best friend trusting that you won’t tell something she told you in confidence?  Are you telling a neighbor something embarrassing that happened to your child that would embarrass him if he knew?  Can you be comfortable with your own decisions=–wise or foolish–that you make about your choices in life?  It’s all part of the journey….

 

Posted on: November 19, 2016

My Own Insecurities

Comment:

Because of the love that Patrick, Alice’s lifelong friends, and Alice’s family have for her, I am able to stop lingering insecurities of “how could anyone ever love someone so pragmatic; so prone to obsessing over little things; so fond of and attached to home, family and the familiar?  Because I recognize that someone like Alice would be deserving of love, acceptance, and belonging, I believe that I am worthy of love, acceptance and belonging.  Thank you.

Phyllis replied:

A wise woman once said to me, when she is counseling young women wondering if they are beautiful enough, smart enough, interesting enough to attract a guy, “look around you!”  Observe other couples, especially married couples, and you will see–yes, some beautiful women with handsome men.   But you will also see perfectly plain women with a great looking guy; fantastic women with unremarkable men.  You’ll see a man who is wonderful and talkative at parties with a quiet woman who enjoys staying in the background, or a gorgeous woman married to a perfectly dull guy.  Most often love comes down to what person makes you feel comfortable being yourself; what person makes you feel wanted and cherished, just as you are, and men need this just as much as women.

 

Posted on: November 3, 2016

Snazzy new site!

Comment:

Love the website redesign, it’t really sharp!

Phyllis replied:

I love it too.  And I can answer emails without having to go through a third party to post them.

Posted on: November 3, 2016

Living Wild and Crazy

Comment:

The beauty of your books is that you tell the honest truth of a normal girl living her normal life.  Basically, it seems to me that “you live young while you’re young, live old while you’re old.”  Youth is the only chance you have to live out your wild and crazy adventures, not because of finances or  not being tied down.  It’s because your priorities and values change as you get older.  You no longer look for life to be an ever-changing crazy adventure, you look for “simple but good.”  That’s a beautiful thing.  But all change is tinted with the sadness of leaving something behind.

Phyllis replied:

Hmmm.  Yes and no to the idea of change.  Yes, when you’re growing up, every year you’re in a different class at school, different teachers, learning new things.  You expect change.  If you get a job or go to college, you may work different hours, live in new cities, constantly meet new people.  But you can actually get tired of change; change can get “old.”  You may get tired of living alone; of meeting friends each night at the usual bar scene; may get tired of serial dating—of living out of a suitcase with so much travel.  And people who have raised families and put their kids through college may be ready for living a little crazy for awhile–traveling to places they’d always wanted to go, starting a new business, moving to a new location.  The secret, I think, is not to expect always to be “happy,” because “happiness” is reserved for big things–awards or birth of a child, or falling in love or meeting an old friend.  What you hope for is contentment.  Nobody can feel extreme emotion all the time, so reserve “happiness” for the really special things that happen and “contentment” for your day-to-day life.  And yes, change is often tinted with sadness–leaving something behind–but it’s hard to go around “sad” all the time too.

Posted on: October 28, 2016

Who was Alice?

Comment:

I’ve been dreading the end of the Alice series for a very long time.  The fear was that once I finished the books, Alice’s story would become stagnant–her story would become stuck in the past rather than feeling like Alice is right there with me in every step of my life.  Now that I’ve reached the end of the series, I’m thrilled that my fear didn’t come true.  Alice lived a full and complete life, and thanks to you, I have a full record of it.   Are the Alice books autobiographical for you in any way?  How did you feel saying goodbye to Alice?

Phyllis replied:

I was both sad and relieved when the last book was done.  No one can guarantee how long she’ll live, and I SO wanted to complete the series (and write a zillion more books that are in my head).  At the same time, I enjoyed writing the series so much.  Whenever it was time to do another Alice book, it was like vacation to me, settling down with a family I felt I knew so well.  And how I loved writing those discussions between Alice and Lester!  I guess I’d have to say that the books were autobiographical in the sense that I could feel absolutely every emotion Alice was experiencing, whether the same situation had happened to me or not.  I was so into her, into her head, that I could feel what she was going to do or say next.  So it was great being 18 again, or 24, or 36.  Even 60, with a whole new career before her.

 

Posted on: October 26, 2016

Made a major contribution to who I am

Comment:

I’m from Vienna, and started reading the Alice book series back in primary school due to a girl in my class doing a book presentation on one of the books.  I kept reading them passionately until there were not any more available translated in German.  I have been wanting to let you know how much I love your books for a very long time now and I truly hope this email reaches you.  Your books mean so much to me and I would go as far as saying that they have majorly contributed to who I am today.  I feel as if I have learned so unbelievably much about life by reading them. Recently, I have found out that there are some more books in the series which just have not been translated into German and I am now in the  process of reading them all.  I am at the age of 20 now and studying sociology abroad, and still every time I read more I am in awe of the life lessons it keeps teaching me.  Even though the time has changed a lot since you have written the books–one could think they take place in 2016.  thank  you from the bottom of my heart for writing the Alice book series. they will always be my favourite books, no matter how old I am.  P.S.  for Christmas I will give one of the books to my young cousin, and I am sure she will be just as hooked on them as I am myself.

Phyllis replied:

Thank you so much for your email.  I have left out bits and pieces that might identify you to friends, even though there’s nothing you might want to hide.  (I always omit or change identifying items from an email).  It’s really sad that Germany stopped publishing the Alice books about the time she enters puberty, but so many Germans speak and read English now that some of them say they enjoy the books more in English than in the German translations.  You’ll find a complete list of all the Alice book titles on my website, www.phyllisnaylor.com

 

Posted on: October 26, 2016

Courage

Comment:

Alice has made my do stuff that i would never do before. When i found out about these books i can never put it down.
i love u Alice

Phyllis replied:

Hmmm.  I’m going to assume it’s all positive stuff, like standing up for a girl that the popular crowd is cutting down, taking a speech class and reciting in front of the class, listening to a viewpoint that is radically different from your own….  I  hope you enjoy all 28 of them–Alice from 8 to 60!

Posted on: October 19, 2016

About You as a Teen

Comment:
Do your Alice books follow questions you had as a teen or are they things you have observed that other youth are curious about at various ages?
Phyllis replied:
Both.  Almost all of the things that happen in Alice books are things or topics that I had questions about, or was curious about.  But I also adapted topics that were brought up in letters from readers.  The real trajectory of the stories, however, were formed in  advance after much thought about the plot, the theme, and where I was headed with the entire series.  I had notebooks crammed with ideas and newspaper clippings and references.  A wonderful time, really.
Posted on: October 1, 2016

What Questions Do You Ask Yourself When Starting a YA book?

Comment:

I know you’ve said you often start writing a new book by asking a question.  What questions prompt some of your young adult novels?

Phyllis replied:

“How does a boy go on keeping  his dad’s mental illness a secret?”  (The Keeper)

“Should a girl risk her own life  to try to save her dad in a blizzard?”  (Blizzard’s Wake)

“What does a teenage boy have to do to escape from a strange lost-in-time  community?”   (Sang Spell)

“How does a boy triumph over his bullies?”  (Going Where It’s  Dark)

“How does a girl adjust from being part of a couple to being single again?”  (Alice Alone)

 

 

Posted on: September 30, 2016

 

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