Peggy Blann Phifer is an author, columnist, book reviewer, and author interviewer whose work has appeared on various websites and in writer periodicals, both print and online.
She began penning “fanciful stories” when she was a child, but it wasn’t until after she retired that the story of her heart really started to take shape. In 2004, Peg won Writer of the Year at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. That same year, a website she established and operated was included in the Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”
A former executive assistant, Peg now makes her home in southern Nevada with her husband Jim. She is the mother of three and the grandmother of six.
One of your favorite quotes (by Beverly Sills) speaks basically of never giving up. How has that quote impacted your writing?
It had everything to do with my writing. Through the many years of writing, changing locations and characters, plot, setting . . . submitting, rejection, entering contests to receive hurtful critiques . . . I had that quote in front of me in several spots where I couldn’t miss seeing it. Yes, I might not succeed, but I sure as heck was going to keep trying. And I’ll keep on trying. Getting my first book published is not the end.
For those who might not know the quote I lived by for so many years, here it is: “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you’re doomed if you don’t try.”
But I’ve recently changed my “platform quote” to match my current situation.
“Keep listening for that still small voice if you are weary on life’s road. The Lord will make your heart rejoice if you but let Him take your load.” ~ Hess. (Don’t ask me who Hess is or was. I haven’t a clue.)
What part does faith play in your work?
My faith is my foundation. My anchor. If it weren’t for my faith, my trust in the Lord, I might have given up, despite Beverly Sills.
Let’s talk about your debut novel, To See the Sun (CreateSpace, January 2012). Please tell us about it!
This is the story of my heart. One that God wouldn’t let me give up on, but He sure didn’t make it easy. The back cover begins with this teaser:
Pregnant and widowed hadn’t been part of her “happily ever after” dream. And now, someone was trying to kill her . . .
Now, would that make you want to read it? It started out, oh, some twenty years ago, to be loosely based on my own life and past. But it wasn’t coming together because I eventually realized I had the wrong location and the wrong set of plot circumstances. I am a pantser (seat of the pants writer—I don’t plot in the true sense of the word) so each time I ran into a snag in the flow of the story, I pretty much had to start over. Funny thing is I had to retire from my paying job before the truth dawned on me and I realized what I was doing wrong. After that, things came together more but I still had a lot of work to do. So I started asking those “what if?” questions. “What if . . . a young woman learns she’s pregnant after seven years of infertility only to lose her husband?” “What if . . . she learns his death wasn’t an accident, as originally assumed?” “What if . . . ?” I started putting those answer together and then it was a fun journey.
Now, here’s the rest of that back cover blurb:
Erin Macintyre never expected to be a widow and a new mother in the same year, anymore than she expected mysterious notes, threatening phone calls, and a strange homeless man who seems to know all about her. The thought of raising a child without a father is daunting enough—worse when you have no idea who might want to harm you. Put an old flame into the mix, and her life begins a tailspin into a world she never knew existed.
When P.I. Clay Buchanan stumbles upon Erin at her husband’s gravesite, he’s totally unprepared for her advanced pregnancy. Her venomous reaction at seeing him, however, was predictable. But Clay can’t let her distrust, or his guilt, get in the way—not when he has evidence that proves Erin’s life is in danger.
With few options left, Erin begrudgingly accepts Clay’s help . . . and it just might be her undoing.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I learned that I’ll never be a ‘preach to the choir’ writer. Although written from a Christian worldview, you’ll not find a single “Christianese” word or gratuitous religion. But you will know my faith is there. I guess that’s why I don’t write devotionals. I’ve tried, and failed. It just doesn’t come natural and it sounds stilted and fake . . . false. I’ve always been a non-conformist in most everything. When it comes to writing, I don’t want to be stuck in a one-size-fits-all box. That’s also why I’ll probably never write category romance. To be honest, I really don’t much like reading it either.
My detour was a biggie: an unwanted divorce after twenty-one years of marriage. It totally devastated me. His parents had never liked me. In fact, his mother once threatened to kill me. I had no real friends, not close ones, anyway. My three children were young adults. It was an untenable situation. I hated living there anyway.
So I left the area (northern Wisconsin) and headed for warmer, drier climes. I landed in Las Vegas. (Now that’s a real detour!) And yes, my life dramatically changed. I met the man who would become my husband, even though, at the time, I wanted nothing to do with men . . . period. Of course, this is where I began my real writing journey. Definitely a positive.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
When I post my answer, you may not need to ask why. Hershey’s Special Dark jumbo chocolate bar. I’ll buy just one bar and keep it in my desk drawer, rewarding (or consoling) myself with one square. It lasts quite a long time—with discipline—which is the hard part.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I play piano and sing, though the power of the voice is gone, mostly from lack of use. I mourn that loss. I used to be able to project my voice into a fairly good-sized auditorium without having to use a microphone. I can also play an organ and an accordion, though I haven’t had practice with these in many years.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
A ballad, I think. Or maybe one of Doris Day’s hits. : )
Are you a major or a minor chord?
A Major 6th
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I’d have to say a combination between the girl next door and the little girl trying to walk in high heels.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets.
Oh, I love dogs, too, but never had one since childhood. I was highly allergic and they hadn’t yet developed those hypoallergenic hybrids. Oh, wait. That’s not strictly true. The last dog I had was a Lhasa Apso, who died just before my divorce. We lived on a “hobby farm” and had outdoor dogs . . . a collie, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and a “tank”—something crossed with a yellow lab (not a Golden). I also love cats. At the present time, I have seven cats and . . . one dog. Part Border Collie and something else. He has the BC face and ears and coloring, but his tail curls tightly up over his back like a Pomeranian. So I call him a Borderanian. Ha! His name is Rocky. The cats are named, in age order: Bubba. Missy, Puffins, and Dickens. Lady Bug and JJ. All are Lynx-Point Siamese. Then there’s Tiger, a brown tabby.
Thank you, Peg! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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You can friend Peg on Facebook: Facebook.com/pegphifer, or follow her on Twitter: Twitter.com/pegphifer
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