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Phyllis Scheiber Stops By For a Visit

Today I'd like to tell you a litle about a wonderful author, Phyllis Scheiber, and her book Willing Spirits. Phyllis is also offering those who comment a chance to win a copy of this book. Please see the end of the post for details-and do stop back tomorrow when I will be posting a review of Willing Spirits.

Phyllis Tells Us About Herself:

The first great irony of my life was that I was born in a Catholic hospital. My parents, survivors of the Holocaust, had settled in the South Bronx among other new immigrants. My mother was apparently so nervous she barely slept the entire time she was in the hospital, fearing her fair-skinned, blue-eyed newborn would be switched with another baby. When my paternal grandfather, an observant Jew, came to see his newest granddaughter in the hospital, he was so uncertain of how to behave around the kindly nuns that he tipped his yarmulke to them each time one passed. It was in this haze of paranoia and neuroses, as well as black humor, that the makings of a writer were initiated.

In the mid-fifties, my family moved to Washington Heights, an enclave for German Jews, known as “Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson.” The area offered scenic views of the Hudson River and the Palisades, as well as access to Fort Tryon Park and the mysteries of the Cloisters. I graduated from George Washington High School. Among its famous graduates was Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State (my grandmother played cards with his mother at the YMWHA on Nagle Avenue).

I graduated from high school at sixteen, went on to Bronx Community College, transferred to and graduated from Herbert H. Lehman College with a B.A. in English and a New York State license to teach English. I earned my M.A. in Literature from New York University and later my M.S. as a developmental specialist from Yeshiva University. I have worked as a high school English teacher, a special education teacher, and as a learning disabilties specialist in several college programs.

Reading was the first line of defense against anything I did not want to do. “I’m reading,” was an excuse my parents never challenged. Education was paramount in our home. There were weekly trips to the library, and the greatly anticipated Friday afternoon story hour. Everything about words seemed interesting and important.. I could make sense of the world if I put it on paper. I could even make the world better; people could become smarter and more attractive, and I could make people laugh and cry at will. Writng was powerful. I thought in stories, answered questions in my head and added, “she said” at the end of a sentence. I still do.

My first novel, Strictly Personal, for young adults, was published by Fawcett-Juniper. Willing Spirits was published by William Morrow. My most recent novel, The Sinner’s Guide to Confession, was released by Berkley Putnam on July 1, 2008. In March 2008, Berkley Putnam will issue the first paperback publication of Willing Spirits. I live in Westchester County, New York where I work privately with students, teaching writing. I am currently working on a new novel.

About Willing Spirits:

Phyllis Schieber’s graceful debut novel is the story of two friends leading lives most women will find familiar. As Jane Hoffman and Gwen Baker attempt to understand their roles as daughters, wives, mothers and lovers, they depend on their friendship to cushion their disenchantment and to celebrate their triumphs.

Jane Hoffman, a schoolteacher in her forties, is forced to confront her reasons for remaining in an unhappy marriage when she finds her husband, Arnold, has been unfaithful. His indiscretion hurls Jane into a new life that is alternately terrifying and gratifying. Her love for her daughter Caroline is also tested when an unforeseen event forces Jane to prove that a mother’s love has no boundaries. As Jane negotiates her own murky logic for making the choices she has, she comes to see herself as far more able than she had ever thought.

Gwen Baker, also a teacher and in her forties, survives a rigid Southern upbringing only to marry an egotistical and cruel professor who later abandons her, leaving her to raise their sons, Matt and Ethan, alone. And while she occasionally takes a lover, nothing really satisfies her. It is Jane who ultimately coaxes Gwen out of her isolation. Together they discover that the conflicting and binding roles women assume be endured without other women. Even after Gwen meets Daniel, a colleague’s husband, and finds love, it is Jane who offers the spiritual solace that only another woman can.

Willing Spirits is no ordinary love story. It is a sensual and understanding story about the struggle to heal from failed maternal relationships, the passionate love women feel for their children, the lure of sexual desire and attachment to men who consistently disappoint, and the bond women share that makes it all tolerable. Suffused with humor and tenderness, Willing Spirits is a celebration of love in all its guises—between man and woman, between parent and child, and above all, between women.


For full details about Phyllis Schieber’s virtual tour, visit her tour home page - http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/01/willing-spirits-by-phyllis-schieber.html

Order Your Copy here –
Penguin Publishers : http://us.penguingroup.com/Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/cjkdk8

You can visit Phyllis Schieber at http://www.phyllisschieber.blogspot.com/

Win A Free Book from Phyllis Schieber – Free books will be awarded during the tour.Each comment on any of the blogs in the tour will offer a chance to win a free copy of Willing Spirits or Sinner’s Guide to Confession

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unwriter said...

This looks like a fascinating book. Anything that deals favorably with friendship in these troubled times is worth reading. Being a teacher, having teachers as main characters makes sense.

Helen Ginger said...

The book sounds great and I love the cover - it's one that would compel me to pick it up in the bookstore.

And I love the story of your birth. I can visualize the hospital scene.

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview, Joyce, and congrats on the new blog.

Joyce Anthony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyce Anthony said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone :-) Lacresha-glad to see you back active!

Phyllis Schieber said...

Good morning, everyone! I'm a little slow today, so I apologize. Thank you Joyce for hosting me.
unwriter: As a teacher, I love books about teachers. And as a friend, well, I love books about friends. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Helen Ginger: The cover is gorgeous, isn't it? The story of my birth is a real hoot. My poor mother. She just passed in December. She was so sweet.
Lacresha: I'm so glad you liked the interview. Please get back to me and let me know what you thought of WILLING SPIRITS.

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