Today I am thrilled to have Phyllis Clark Nichols with me. After reading Return of the Song, I spent some time on her website and had lots of fun getting to know her. I don’t want to duplicate things she shared there, so be sure to go visit her site after reading the interview here. Not only does she have a wonderful first name, she seems like such a fun person!
To avoid confusion, I’ll refer to myself as [me] and Phyllis Clark Nichols as [Phyllis]. I hope this helps you, because I’m confused already!
[me] Phyllis, I am sooo glad to have read your book and to have this opportunity to get to know you better. Visiting your website and reading more about you, I feel like we could be great friends! We seem to have similar personalities, though I am not musically talented like you are. 🙂
[Phyllis] I’m so glad you feel we could be friends, and I imagine you have many talents that I don’t have. I just think music was in my genes.
[me] Yep, we are one body, many members.
I can see that, like me, you are a rule follower. That said, what is the most unusual (strangest? funniest?) thing you have done in the name of research?
[Phyllis] Most of my research involves reading, but two things come to mind. My research for RETURN OF THE SONG meant hours of reading about and watching videos about musical savants. They are some of God’s most fascinating people, and the doctors who are studying them are learning so much about the human brain. It was extremely important to me to depict my character who is a musical savant with authenticity and accuracy. Since most of my research always led me to Dr. Darold Treffert, who is the world’s authority on savant syndrome, I decided one morning just to email him and inquire as to his interest or willingness to read my manuscript. Honestly, I never expected to hear from him, but in less than a half an hour, he responded. I’m so pleased that not only did he read the manuscript, he endorsed the book. And then there was the time when I was writing CHRISTMAS AT GREY SAGE and I was learning about Native American foods. I cooked a different recipe of Indian Fry Bread every day for two weeks until I had perfected it and gained two pounds. That recipe is in the book, and it has become a family favorite.
[me] Yum! I think I need to find that recipe in my copy.
What places have you visited as research for your books, and which were your favorites?
[Phyllis] Santa Fe, New Mexico is the setting for CHRISTMAS AT GREY SAGE. It’s one of our favorite places – the mountains, the art galleries, and the food. Of course, I grew up in Georgia which is the setting for most of the Rockwater Suite Series, and Georgia is home. Although I’ve lived in Texas for over thirty years, I still can’t get that Georgia clay off my feet. But I did venture out of Georgia with other settings for this series. For years, we did short-term missions in the Guatemalan Highlands, and a good portion of the third book is set there. This past summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Budapest and Vienna which will the setting for the fourth book in this same series as we learn the backstory of one of the major characters. And I have a fascination with West Virginia, which is where SILENT DAYS, HOLY NIGHT is set.
[me] Those are some lovely places. It is great you’ve been able to travel to so many of them.
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you go?
[Phyllis] No question, I’d go to Alaska. I’ve been there several times in search of the Northern Lights, and I haven’t seen them yet. But I think I could settle in for the winter and write away. But I must tell you, my writing place at home is my happiest place.
[me] I would love to go to Alaska, but have never even entertained the thought of going in the winter!
Which person would you most want to be able to interview? (living or dead) What is one question you would ask them?
[Phyllis] I have always been intrigued by Moses. Just think about his life experiences and his personal experience with God – to hear God’s voice and to see Him work in such miraculous ways. Moses might be a bit perturbed with my childish inquisition, but I’d really like to hear him tell of the time God told him to throw down his staff, and it became a snake. God then told Moses to pick up the snake but its tail, and it became a staff again.
[me] That would be fascinating to hear!
What is your favorite music genre? Favorite song?
[Phyllis] This is the tough one. I was trained as a classical musician, and if I’m just playing the piano for myself, that’s where I go. However, I served as a church musician for forty years, and I do cherish the music of the church. I think I teethed on a hymnal. I’m sorry that I can’t tell you my favorite song because I have so many, but for me, the most glorious piece of music ever written is the Brahms Requiem. It is a glorious wedding of Biblical text, the human voice, and the orchestra. I get goosebumps just thinking of it.
[me] Thank you again for taking the time to visit with me and my readers. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you more.
Readers, in case you didn’t run to buy her book after reading my review of it in September (and what were you thinking if you didn’t!), here is the information again, along with links so you can purchase it. Be sure to visit Phyllis’ website as well and learn even more about this fascinating lady!
Return of the Song
Series: The Rockwater Suite #1
Published by Gilead Publishing
Publication Date September 18, 2018
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Georgia, Kentucky Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34, 35-60
Written for: Adults
When Caroline lost her love, she lost the music too.
Caroline Carlyle’s hopes and dreams were crushed when her fiancé died six weeks before their wedding. For years, she wrestled with aching loss and shattered faith, struggling to find the inspiration that once came so easily. Abandoning her half-finished piano compositions, Caroline traded her old ambitions for the comfort and familiarity of life as the town’s piano teacher.
But Caroline’s life turns upside-down when a mysterious stranger enters her life, bringing courage and fresh purpose. Inspired by her new acquaintance, Caroline embarks on a quest to track down the beloved rare piano she played as a child. Her search leads her to Rockwater, the Kentucky estate of a wealthy gentleman, where Caroline finds her heart may be composing a surprising new song.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Phyllis is giving away a lovely prize package to 1 US winner. They will receive:
- a print copy of Christmas at Grey Sage
- a print copy of Return of the Song
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
Giveaway will begin at midnight November 12, 2018 and last through 11:59pm November 19, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond ora new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!