Shiloh Blog

My Student’s Questions

I am a teacher and I just finished reading Shiloh with my 3-4 grade students. I teach at a small Lutheran school, so my class consists of 5 wonderful children! They are so excited that this site exists. They have some questions for you. If you have time to answer, they would absolutely be thrilled to hear from you!
1. How did you come across the idea of David Howard?

I’m not sure.  I think I wanted to portray a friend from a different economic level, so that readers would know that there are residents in West Virginia who live very comfortable lives, and those like Marty’s family, who have to be very careful with their money.

2. Can you tell us anymore about Judd? Is there are specific reason he loves to hunt?

He makes his living this way, possibly selling the meat or skins to various customers, as well as furnishing food for himself.  There are so many woods and mountains in West  Virginia that hunting season often means a full freezer of food for the family.

3. Do you know if/who the real-life Shiloh was abused by? (Is Judd’s character based off a real person, or was that part your imagination?)

Based entirely on my imagination, since we never did find out who the dog belonged to previously.

4. Did the real-life Shiloh get attacked by a dog?

We don’t know the history of Clover, the real dog.  All I knew when we found her was that she was hungry, dirty, and scared.

5. What did your friends end up naming the real-life Shiloh?


6. What is your favorite book you have written? We would love to read it, too!

Probably Shiloh.  You would love the three books that follow the relationship between Marty, Judd and Shiloh:   Shiloh Season, Saving Shiloh, and A Shiloh Christmas.

My kids want to tell you, “The book was absolutely amazing!”

Thank you for writing to tell me so.   Phyllis

Posted on: March 9, 2018



Does Marty’s dad have a gun


Phyllis replied:

He sometimes went hunting, so I guess he did.  I remember that in one book, the family is eating a rabbit that he shot, and warns the family that they might come across some buckshot.  Some families, especially in rural areas, really depend on hunting to provide some of their food.

Posted on: February 23, 2018

Author study


I am doing an Author Study Project on you. I have read three of your books. THe three books I choose to read were, Shiloh, Shiloh Season, & Saving Shiloh. I have learned that you love animals ,you’re favorite book is Huckleberry finn & that you grew up during the great depression.

I would write more books in the Shiloh series or more animal books. Maybe about Martys life before Shiloh. I was wondering where you get your inspiration? How may kids do you have.  I wanted to thank you for beging such a good author also would you please white back im doing a report on you


I’m afraid there are just too many book ideas in my head that will keep me from writing more Shiloh books.  But you still have “A Shiloh Christmas” to read–that’s the fourth book in the quartet.   I get my inspiration from things that have happened to me, that I read about in the paper, that happen to other people, and just my own imaginings.  I have two sons and four grandchildren.

Posted on: February 15, 2018

Need more Shiloh


I just finished reading the last Shiloh book (Shiloh Christmas) with one of my dyslexic students. I have several that are in the process of reading the series with me. We really need to know will ever write another Shiloh book? They are so inspiring and have convinced my students that reading can be cool!


Phyllis replied:

I don’t plan to write another Shiloh book–just too many other books on my mind.  But if your students like to get immersed in series, why don’t you read to them the first chapter of “The Boys Start the War,” (first book in a 12 book series), followed by “The Girls Get Even.”   In every book, alternate chapters are in the girls’ point of view, then the boys’.   This seems to be a favorite series for 4th and 5th graders.

Posted on: February 13, 2018

Question about Marty and Shiloh


I am a veteran of 28 years in the classroom…mostly with reluctant readers (i.e. dyslexics, learning disabled) and I have NEVER had books that caused my most reluctant boys to want to read more. I say all that to ask you, as an author, would you be okay with someone like me (an aspiring author) writing a book about Marty and Shiloh all grown up. My boys just really want to know things like…does Marty get to become a vet, what happens to Judd, and such. I know you said in one answer that you only had “2 hands and one lifetime” so you were not planning on anymore of the Shiloh series being written. I wait expectantly for your answer!

Phyllis replied:

I am honored that you like the series so much that you want to write a sequel.  But that idea, along with a number of other ideas, is something being considered by the movie producers.  If your boys like series, you might want to start them out by reading aloud to them the first chapter of “The Boys Start the War,” (first of a 12 book series), followed by “The Girls Get Even.”   Pure fun.  Check out these books on my website.


Posted on: February 13, 2018

What gave you the idea of Shiloh?


I was wondering what gave you the idea to write Shiloh, and also I was wondering if you could give me some advise of being a good author.  I love the book Shiloh it is one of my favorites, and I hope you will publish more books for me and my friends to read.
Phyllis replied:
Finding an abused dog in Shiloh, W. Va. is what prompted my writing the book.  To write a good book, you need to have characters that come to life on the page; there needs to be a plot to your story, suspense and conflict.  Stories are best when they come from the heart, possibly something that happened to you, all mixed up with imaginings.
Posted on: January 31, 2018

Attached to Shiloh

I love your books about Shiloh. I didn’t realize how attached you can get to the characters. I am very attached to them. I am a student in 7th grade and in 5th grade we read Shiloh for a book in class and ever since I have been reading the other books. The books are so inspirational and I love how caring Marty is for Shiloh. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this, and enjoy the rest of you day.


I’m glad you’re enjoying them so much.  I would never have written them if I hadn’t come across that real-life little dog in Shiloh, West  Virginia.

Posted on: January 30, 2018



what was the inspiration behind the book “Shiloh”

Phyllis replied:

The fact that I really came across such a dog in the little community of Shiloh, W. Va. and couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Posted on: January 30, 2018

More Shiloh please!!

Shiloh is one of our favorites thus far!! My fourth graders and I just finished your book and we loved it! We have a few questions that we are dying to ask and would be thrilled for a response to if you have time.
1) What was your inspiration to write Shiloh?
2) Why did you choose a beagle?
3) Will there be more Shiloh books on the way?
4) Did you like the changes the director made to the movie? (example…taking out David Howard and inserting Sam, etc..)
5) What kinds of challenges did you face making your main character come to life since he is a boy?
6) About how long did it take you to write Shiloh?

We read your first story ever that was posted on your website and the kids thought it was violent and hilarious! Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Phyllis replied:

While visiting friends in West Virginia, in the little community of Shiloh, I really did come across an abused dog and could not get her (it was female) out of my mind, so that was my inspiration.  I was overjoyed when I learned that these friends eventually adopted her.  She had the colorings of a beagle, though she was really just a mutt, so I made her a beagle in the story.  There are three more books in the  Shiloh quartet:  Shiloh Season, Saving Shiloh, and A Shiloh Christmas, and David Howard appears in the second and third movies, I believe.  I guess the director wanted a more prominent girl in the movie, so made up the character of Sam.  I have no problem bringing boys to life in my books, as I have two boys of my own, now grown men.  I wrote the first draft of Shiloh in six weeks, the fastest I’ve ever written a book, but then of course there was a lot of polishing and revising to do.  I’m glad your class enjoyed it so much.

Posted on: January 30, 2018

What year does it take place?


What year does A Shiloh Christmas take place

Phyllis replied:

Somewhere in the 1980’s


Posted on: January 23, 2018


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