Your Questions Answered

School Project

Comment:

Hello I’m doing a school project in English about you and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for it in an email?

 

Phyllis replied:

Yes, but please limit your questions to five, since answering emails takes up a large part of my day, and I’m so eager to get back to a book I’m writing.  This website, www.phyllisnaylor.com answers most of the questions readers want to know.  If you can’t find your answer here, then email me at Phyllis_naylor@comcast.net

Posted on: April 27, 2017

Write a review on “How I came to be a writer”

Comment:

The students in my class are being challenged to write a review about your book, “How I came to be a writer”. Is there an address we can send the reviews to?

 

Phyllis replied:

Hmmm.  I could give you my address, but what am I supposed to do with them?  Is this a contest?  Writers are generally not given an opportunity to respond to reviewers, since how you feel about a book is your own personal business.  I may love it, or think it’s unfair, but it’s still your own opinion, and that’s what counts.

Posted on: April 27, 2017

How Do You Get an Editor?

Comment:

I’m a new fan, and I was introduced to you by your autobiography, How I Came to be a Writer. I was so inspired by it, that I wanted to tell you what I thought about it. I also have a few questions too.
First off, It’s a great book, and I took a lot of great advice from it. Your writing process is similar to mine, except you use a chair with binders. I instead use a desk full of post-it notes. But when I have an idea, “It’s like a rock in my shoe. I just can’t wait to get it out.” I’m still only in the 5th grade, but I love to write. I wrote an autobiography myself too. But now I have some questions.
1. Your first story was about a mother chopping her child’s head off. Why did you take this violent approach on your books at such a young age?
2. How do you get an editor?
3. You write based on “What if this happened” ideas. How do you think of things and get ideas in this fashion.
Thank you for reading through this message. I enjoy you’re writing, and your style.

Phyllis replied:

It’s nice to hear from another writer.  First of all, that story about a mother chopping off her child’s head was an old story from a fairy tale book my parents read to us–along with much better stuff by Mark Twain and other authors.  Somehow that story must really have affected me, because the one I “made up” for my kindergarten teacher was obviously plagiarism!  As far as getting an editor, you need a book publisher first, if it’s a book manuscript, or a magazine that publishes short stories.  There was a much larger market for short stories when I began selling what I wrote than there is now.  If I were you, I would enter your work in every contest you can think of.  When you get to middle school and high school, try to join the school newspaper staff.  For story ideas, I suggest that you think of the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you, or the saddest, or funniest, or that made you most angry or happy, and write a short paragraph about it.  Then rewrite it making it happen to a fictional character.  Perhaps change the beginning, or the ending.  Add things, subtract things…in other words turn your story over to your imagination.  You are starting with something very personal, with feeling, and giving it wings.

Posted on: April 12, 2017

The Witch Series…continued?

Comment:

I loved reading the first 3 Witch books as a child. Imagine my excitement when a few years ago I discovered there were 3 more books in the series! I bought them all and they were as good as I remembered.  I’ve often thought it would be a great series to revisit. Perhaps a few more books with Lynn and Mouse as adults?I’d love for the story to continue – have you ever considered that?

 

Phyllis replied:

Oh, my goodness!  Lynn and Mouse as adults?  I don’t know….they’re more vulnerable at the age they are, so I wouldn’t try that.  I have too many other books I want to write, but it was a blast writing those six.  Scared me half to death just thinking all that stuff up.  The two scariest parts for me were the girls in Mouse’s bedroom alone at night, and suddenly all these cats and crows are scratching at the windows trying to get in.  And then…the scene in the cellar, with Mrs. Tuggle coming for them, and at the last minute they draw the circle around them on the floor….  I have goosebumps right now, just thinking about it.  I’m so glad you enjoyed those books.

Posted on: March 14, 2017

Can I have your autograph?

Comment:

Can I have your autograph?

Phyllis replied:

Yes, if you send me your home address, complete with your full name and zip code.  Your name and address will not appear here, however.

Posted on: March 3, 2017

School presentations/Visits

comments:

We have a Young Author’s Conference here in May. We like to have an Author’s presentation for our students. It is preferred to have an author that connects with our 100% free lunch population.
Do you come to schools?

Phyllis replied:

I have no idea where your school is located.  Yes, I connect well to students who are on a  free-lunch basis, but I have to save most my time now for my writing.  There are just so many books in my head, waiting to be written.  I do still speak at conferences and once in a great while, I’ll make a school visit.

Posted on: March 3, 2017

Could You Write About This?

Comment:

Could you make a book on a girl who’s parents get separated?? Because I think other people should know about what it feels like. I love your Alice books.

 

Phyllis replied:

I did.  In the  Alice series, Pamela’s parents separate, and a number of the books deal partly with Pamela’s feelings about it.  Alice on Board is a good example.  I also wrote a book, The Solomon System, about two brothers whose parents are separating, the anger and sorrow the brothers feel, and how they deal with it.  I’m so happy you like the Alice books

Posted on: February 25, 2017

FaceTime???? OBOS

Comment:

Hi! My elementary students, staff, and families are loving Marty and Shiloh as we share the text through One Book One School. Any chance we could FaceTime with you? Thanks for even considering my request. Signed, A Hopeful Reading Teacher

Phyllis replied:

I love hearing that your school is using Shiloh for your One-Book-One-School selection.  I truly wish I had time to meet all the requests.  I do occasionally agree to have a 15 minute Q/A with a class after they have read the book, if your school can set up a speaker phone in your classroom.

Posted on: February 23, 2017

I Want to Become Writer

Comment

I want to become an author just like you and write children’s books when I am older. Would you say this is a great career or does have some pros and cons? 2) Why do you think people gave you so many rejections? I personally would say you wouldn’t deserve any! 3) I LOVE to read! Are there any books you would recommend? 😉 Love, a Shiloh addict

Phyllis replied:

Like all careers, this has pros and cons:  it is a very competitive field.  When I first began submitting manuscripts, you could send it right to an editor.  Now, most publishers insist that manuscripts come to them through an agent.  Also, I wrote short stories for church magazines for 15 years before I ever attempted to write a novel, and I learned a great deal this way.  Yes, I  received over 10,000 rejection slips, but this was a time that I could send out multiple copies of a single story, and because Baptists didn’t read Methodist publications, and Methodists didn’t read Catholic story papers, church editors didn’t mind.  So a single story may have received eleven rejections, and nine acceptances.  I was able to support myself in this way.  So many of my friends are writers, it’s hard to recommend any one book over the others.  I loved Katherine Paterson’s the Great Gilly Hopkins. Also Jerry Spinelli’s Wringer.  And Gary Paulson’s Hatchet.  If you liked Shiloh, make sure you read the other three books in that series.  You might also enjoy Faith, Hope and Ivy June; Jade Green; The Boys Start the War, and the 28 books of my Alice series.  As to  your own writing, write from the heart.  Try taking events from your own life that affected  you emotionally and use these as starting places.  Turn them over to your imagination and see where they take you.  And don’t give up!

Posted on: February 2, 2017

Teenage Love Troubles

Teen Love Problems

Comment:

I know you are quite the woman of wisdom and so I really need your insight. I am currently sixteen and a half years old, I have a boyfriend, whom I’ve been with for about 8 months, but I have been crushing on him since the 5th grade. I became best friends with him about a year and half ago. And at this time, he was crazy about this girl, and she played with his feelings like a baby plays with a rattle. She had three boyfriends (not all at once) and kept them from him, but continued to lead him on. I was friends with her before this, but she lied to me and lost all of my trust. And at one point, something really awful happened and she hurt him too. I was there for him and she didn’t care how much she hurt him. And he knows that I strongly dislike her and that I really don’t trust her. He has talked to her in the past (while we have been dating) and he kept it from me for a while. His reasoning was because he knew how much I didn’t like her and that he thought it would upset me to talk about her. We’ve gotten in a few arguments over this. And the most recent one was the worst. He told me that he thinks of her everyday. That really hurt. He told me that he worded it wrong and that what he meant was that he didn’t like ending on bad terms with her and shutting her out of his life. Well, she doesn’t want to be his friend. She has pushed away all of her friends because all she wants is to be with her boyfriend. She actually quit her job to spend more time with him. He seemed to blame me for them ending on bad terms. I had texted her politely asked her not to talk to him because it upsets him and makes me feel insecure and uncomfortable because I know how much she meant to him and I sometimes feel like I can’t live up to those expectations. I just want him to be over her, even if he says he is, I just don’t know. I want to trust him on that but I feel so fragile. I found out that next semester, he will for sure have a class with her (I was told by one of my friends). And I want to mention something to him but I feel like he’ll get mad at me for bringing it up. What should I do? His says he understands, but I feel like he still just thinks of her and it makes me feel insignificant, which I have told him. Any advice on how to approach him on this sore subject?

 

Phyllis replied:

I doubt there are many people, male or female, who haven’t at some time suspected that the person they are with might like someone else better.  You’ve analyzed it correctly–that the thought that he is still thinking about her a lot makes you feel insecure and uncomfortable because you’re not sure you can measure up.  Do you really think that if he promised you he’d quit thinking about her, it would stop the thoughts from coming?  You really can’t ask or expect someone to quit liking another person just because you’re uncomfortable–that’s on you to deal with.  But I can tell you for sure that bringing up the subject again and again makes him think about her all the more.  Here are two things for you to think about:  Realize that there are obviously some things he likes about you or he wouldn’t be spending time with you at all.  And second, if you were not so dependent on his affection–if you could devote more time to other activities or people and talk about other things–you would be more attractive to him.  Dating for most teens is a roller-coaster affair, but the more confidence you can have in yourself, the less dependent you will be on this or any other boyfriend.

Posted on: January 31, 2017

 

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