Your Questions Answered

to walk the sky path


I am reading “sky path”: I am wondering how you came to possess such sympathy for the seminole experience: did you study this culture? Did you visit the everglades and experience firsthand? A very enjoyable read. Thank you!

Phyllis replied:

As I wrote that book some time ago, it’s hard to remember all that prompted it, but I remember reading that the Seminoles remained the unconquered American Indian tribe by retreating farther into the Everglades, and so we let them be, as we should have.  Yes, I did go to the Everglades and do some research, but mostly I was captivated by a long article in the National Geographic about modern  life in the Seminoles, and I had an expert read my manuscript and make a few corrections.  How true that book is to current conditions among the Seminoles, I really don’t know.

Posted on: December 13, 2016

Crazy Love


I am your fellow writer and long time fan. I recently dug up and re-read Crazy Love and wanted to let you know I found it as powerful and moving as I did the first time I read it many years ago. With more years under my own belt, I can appreciate even more the sensitivity and self-awareness you brought to that book. I especially appreciated the part where you wrote your in-laws detailed letters including your analysis of the origins of Ted’s problems, expecting to receive heartfelt apologies. Been there! Done that! Wow, it takes a lifetime to figure out how people actually behave, doesn’t it?

I also found it interesting how you suffered a certain PTSD after the experience, how honest you were in pointing out that just because you’d finally extricated yourself from the situation didn’t mean your own brain hadn’t been affected. I’m currently in a similar situation, and it’s reassuring to be reminded that eventually healing will occur.

The other book of yours that I will never forget may have been called A String of Chances? Where the baby dies of crib death, making the protagonist question everything she’s been told about religion? One of the most memorable of all the many young adult books I encountered as I was writing my own.

One thing that amazes me is how a book, within its pages, remains fresh to the reader as they experience it for the first time or again after the passage of time. You’ve been so prolific, Phyllis, I’m sure this must bring you great satisfaction.

I’m so glad you found a good husband and went on to have such a brilliant career after all you went through in your early marriage. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person!

Phyllis replied:

What a lovely letter, and thank you so much.  I’m terribly sorry to hear that you are going through a similar experience.  Some of those events send chills through me even now.  Yes, “A String of Chances” was just as you remembered.  I had read a newspaper article about a non-religious young couple who had made their home in a small mountain community, and lost their precious baby to crib death.  It affected me so that I felt I had to “live it” with them, and much of what I put in the book about the baby’s burial was the way it really happened.  And somehow that memorial service they held for it so offended a parent that he petitioned the school board to remove the book from the library. They refused, so he signed the book out and never returned it.  Of course, I sent them another copy.  Best of luck to you in your current situation.  My guess is that somehow you will find it useful in your writing, painful as that may be, but also rewarding in the emotional release.

Posted on: December 1, 2016



Have you been to Rome or York, England before? I’m doing a report on Shadows on the Wall and do you have any connections between yourself and the book?
Thanks!! 🙂

Phyllis replied:

Yes, I’ve been to both.  Absolutely loved York–the wall, Micklegate Bar, even a caravan of gypsies  (travelers) in the countryside, using the bushes to spread their wet laundry.  Both places were captivating.


Posted on: November 14, 2016

Snazzy new site!


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

The Fear Place


The Fear Place is one of the best books for older children I’ve read about coping with fear. While telling a good story filled with suspense, you illustrate how to cope so well: You show how to maintain perspective in the face of fear, and how keeping the mind busy and focusing on the here and now prevents fear from creating more fear. How did you came up with the idea for this book?  I’d be interested in whatever story lies behind it.

Phyllis replied:

Yes indeed, there’s a story behind it.  I’ve always been afraid of heights, but tried hard not to pass this fear along to our two sons.  When they were in their twenties, we went to the Rockies for a hiking vacation with friends, and I was terrified when Jeff and Mike announced that they, and some others, were getting up at three the next morning to climb Longs Peak.  I knew that the only way I could get through the day was to start writing a new book.  And, of course, it was about two boys in the Rocky Mountains.  Somehow it was easier worrying about four boys, not two.

Posted on: October 28, 2016

Love the “Boys Versus Girls” books even more…!


I love the Alice series but think I love the “Boys Versus Girls” books even more.  Can’t you write more of these books, and more Alice books too?  I love them so much.

Phyllis replied:

Oh, if only I had two heads and four hands and there were 500 days to each year!  I know, I had a wonderful time writing those books, beginning with “The Boys Start the War” and “The Girls  Get Even.”  And writing the Caroline scenes–and possibly the Peter scenes– were the most fun of all.  She is such a drama queen, and he’s so gullible.   If you like odd characters, though, and some humor in your adventure, I think you really would like my “Cat Pack” books, beginning with “The Grand Escape.”   Try the first one in the quartet and see.


Posted on: October 19, 2016

Do you Skype with students?

Do you Skype with local students? Thank you.

Phyllis replied:

I really wish I had time for that, but I don’t.  I’m sorry.

Posted on: October 1, 2016

The witch herself


Dear Phyllis, I’m so grateful to your skills and hard work. I’m a Danish woman and Got to know your books when I started the witch herself in 4 grade. Oh how I loved them. I loved your illustration and could easily imagine the setting and the to girls frustration about never being trusted in the question about mrs Tuggle. I know it’s a children story and I know it’s from Way back. I just seems to remember already at the time when I Real them the first time, I could easily see an adapted screenplay. Could you ever consider to let filmmakers with respect for your illustrations and storytelling put it on the Big screen?

Phyllis replied:

Oh, I would love that too.  But several people have inquired about the possibility of making movies of those six books, and the problem is, as I understand it, that the rights to the first book, Witch’s Sister, have changed hands many times, and negotiations with the current owner fell through.  I don’t know what the status of those rights is today, but we could not go ahead with movies of the other five books, because we would be using the same setting, the same characters, as the first book.  But it’s wonderful to know that readers are still loving those six books:  Witch’s Sister, Witch Water, The Witch Herself, The Witch’s Eye, Witch Weed, and The Witch Returns.  I love scary things, and just writing those books scared me half to death.

Posted on: October 1, 2016

Movie of The Boys Start the War


Has a movie of The Boys Start the War been made? I really enjoyed the book and thought the movie would be fun to watch.

Phyllis replied:

No, it hasn’t.  I wish those twelve books were movies, too–perhaps a TV series.  So much happens, and it would be a lot of fun.  But I’m not the one who decides these things.  Maybe someday….  I’m so glad you enjoy it.  If you didn’t realize there were more books in the series, check my website.

Posted on: August 27, 2016

Shiloh Movies

Did you know you can buy or rent Shiloh movies?

Available at:

Netflix  Amazon

and other stores!

Posted on: July 3, 2016


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