Alice FAQ

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    In what order do I read the Alice Books?

    Click here to find out the order of the Alice Books and Phyllis’ other series!

    Is it still okay to read the books out of order?

    Well, nobody’s going to chop off your head or anything! The books are best if read in the right order because Alice gets a little older in each one, but each book can be read and enjoyed at whatever point you decide to read it.

    How many Alice books are you planning on writing?

    I plan to write 28 books in all, and there will be 3 books for every year of Alice’s life up to age 18. And in the final book, Alice goes from 18 to 60. The whole book isn’t about Alice at 60.

    Will you use my name in one of your books?

    Sorry, but I never use names of people I know. It gets in the way of the plot.

    Will Alice and Patrick ever get back together? Will Lester ever marry? Will Alice and Pamela and Elizabeth stay friends?

    Now you know that I’m not going to tell you what happens in future books. It would ruin the suspense for everyone.

    Did all the things that happen to Alice in her books happen to you when you were her age?

    Not all, but some. Remember that Tarzan scene in The Agony of Alice?

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    How can I get the Alice poster?

    If you would like one–free, of course–just email me at with your full name and address and we’ll send the poster. Your name and address will not appear on this website. The poster comes to you by snail mail, not email.

    Can I write you from other countries or just from the USA?

    I get letters from Italy, Ireland, England, South Africa, Canada, France, Australia–it doesn’t matter. I put most of the ones I receive by email on the Alice website, and will be glad to include a letter from you.

    Will you sign my Alice book?

    Do not send a book in the mail. I think a better way is to just send me a book plate–it’s a stick-on label that you can put in a book. You can buy them in bookstores, or just send me a large blank label of any kind. Tell me who the book is for, and I’ll autograph it and send it back. Then you can just stick it in the book you want.

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    When are your new Alice books coming out?

    A new Alice book comes out each May.

    What are the Alice prequels?

    These are three books that take place when Alice was much younger. These will take Alice through 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, so that she’s ready to start 6th grade in The Agony of Alice, the first book in the regular series.

    Why do we have to wait a whole year for a new Alice book to come out? If you’ve already written the one that comes out next year, why can’t it come out now?

    Because it takes a whole year for a manuscript to go through the publishing process. After I write it, my husband reads it and makes suggestions. Then I read it to my critique group and they make suggestions too. After that it goes to the editor, who asks for more revisions. Then it goes to the copyeditor for checking, the art department, the marketing department, the printer, the binder, the salesmen, the reviewers, etc. etc.

    But why can’t you start a new Alice book as soon as you finish one, and write more than one a year?

    Because I like to write other kinds of books too–novels for adults, picture books for little kids, suspense novels, mysteries, serious family fiction, fantasy–and I never do the same kind of book twice in a row. I try to do something entirely different in between books so that when I come back to an Alice book, my writing will be fresh.

    How long is it before a new Alice book appears in paperback? I can’t afford a hardcover edition?

    It almost always takes a year–sometimes longer–for a new book to appear in paperback. Publishers naturally want to sell as many hardcover copies as they can before they print it in paperback.

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    Where do you get your ideas?

    From memories of things that happened to me and my friends and the way I felt about them when I was Alice’s age. Also from things I observe happening around me, or things that people tell me about.

    I would love to be your pen-pal. If I write you every week, will you write back?

    I really wish I could write regularly to everyone who has asked. I just can’t. There is always a book deadline hanging over me, and you KNOW how much you want me to write another Alice book. Although my secretary answers the letters that come by regular mail, she sometimes saves a few that she feels I should answer personally. I do try to reply, if only a sentence or two, to every email that comes to me on the Alice website.

    Can you give me a good writing tip?

    Think about the time you were most sad or angry or scared or embarrassed. Write down a few lines about it, then change it a little–the way it began, the way it ended. Pretend it happened to someone else. Turn it over to your imagination and, most of all, have fun!

    I want to be a writer. If I send you a story I have written, will you give me some suggestions?

    I’m sorry, but I get far too many requests to be able to do that.

    What’s it like being an author?

    Extremely busy. I put in about ten hours of work every day.

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    What is the Boys-Versus-Girls series about? Is it like Alice?

    No, those books are not like the Alice books. The Boys-Versus-Girls books are about a family of boys in a West Virginia town trying to drive out a family of girls by tricks and teasing. Except the girls are good at playing tricks too, and both families have a marvelous time trying to outdo each other. Start with “The Boys Start the War.” Boys and girls like them equally, and they’re best for readers in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.

    Can you recommend any of your other books? I’m 13.

    If you’re a gal, try Night Cry, A String of Chances, Send No Blessings, and Ice. If you’re a guy, try The Fear Place, The Year of the Gopher, Being Danny’s Dog, Danny’s Desert Rats, Walker’s Crossing,The Solomon System and The Keeper. Both guys and girls would enjoy Jade Green: a ghost story; Sang Spell, the three books of my York Trilogy: Shadows on the Wall, Faces in the Water, Footprints at the Window, Blizzard’s Wake, and Cricket Man.

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    I wrote to you last week and I don’t see my letter in “Fan Mail.”

    I don’t print all the letters. Some of them ask questions that have been asked dozens of times, in which case I usually email an answer to you instead of putting it on the screen.

    Do you do book signings and readings?

    Yes, and when I have one scheduled, I’ll post it on the home page of the Alice website in my “Note from Phyllis.” Please don’t keep asking me when I will appear in your state. Each “Note from Phyllis” stays up on the website for two weeks, and if you check it weekly, you will know in advance when or if I’m coming to your town. Mostly I speak at large conferences of teachers and librarians, but I try to add bookstore signings and school visits to my schedule when I can.

    How can I get you to come to my school?

    Requests must come from a teacher or librarian, and should be addressed to Author Appearances Coordinator, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

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    Are you going to make a movie or TV series out of the Alice books?

    There is already an Alice movie out on DVD, Alice Upside Down, based loosely on The Agony of Alice.

    Could I audition for a part of one of the characters? I’d make a good Alice (or Pamela or Elizabeth).

    If I hear that a movie or series is being made and they are auditioning for the parts, I’ll post it on the website.

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    My bookstore doesn’t have your most recent Alice book and neither does my library. How can I get a copy?

    Ask your bookstore if the book is on order. If not, ask them to special order a copy for you. You will find that online bookstores often get a book to you faster than a local bookstore. If you want to borrow a copy, not buy one, and your library doesn’t carry the Alice book that you want, ask them to order a copy for you on inter-library loan.

    I can’t find your new book anywhere. If I give you my address, will you send me a copy?

    I can’t do that either. I only get twenty free copies myself, and I have a hundred and forty-four relatives. Does that answer your question?

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