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Our Guest is: Phyllis Edgerly Ring!

Linda feels like she has always known Phyllis Edgerly Ring. But she met her when Phyllis published The Munich Girl, and that was only November 2015! Phyllis is a poet by nature, and likes to write about "broad-spectrum humanity"—humanity in the larger sense. She is upbeat and positive. This is rare in people writing about humanity in the larger sense. (We tend to get depressed after a while!)
    In her writing, Phyllis treats the most amazing people as simple, understandable human beings. But it takes a lot of work to create that illusion.
The Munich Girl is a case in point. This is a work of fiction, but it is not entirely fiction. The war-trophy exists. Eva Braun, the ordinary girl from Munich, Germany, was indeed Hitler’s mistress.  She never did join the Nazi Party, had Jewish friends, and was credited at the Nuremberg Trials with saving 35,000 Allied lives. Yet she stayed out of the limelight for sixteen years before her lover publicly acknowledged their relationship.  He only married her at the time he was throwing in the towel, as if that marriage emphasized his defeat. What a way to go – not.
    As someone once noted of Phyllis Edgerly Ring, she is "good in any currency." Read on!


Phyllis, what are you working on, currently? I’m alternating between two projects. One is what I’d call spiritual memoir, based on my experience with writing my novel The Munich Girl and some of the nearly inexplicable synchronicities that it brought. The other is historical fiction set in 19th-century New England.

When you look back... what works are you proudest of? I’m truly thankful for every book I’ve been able to publish. The newest book, just released, is my first for children — Jamila Does Not Want A Bat In Her House. It reinforces for me the importance of never giving up, as it first took shape 19 years ago. The book that has absorbed the most of my time, both during the writing process and since publication, is The Munich Girl. I’d never have imagined writing a novel in which Hitler’s wife was a character. Yet as someone whose earliest life experience unfolded in Germany, I had always known I’d eventually want to explore what the experience of WWII had meant for everyday Germans, especially because for so very long, they didn’t talk about it -- felt they weren’t "allowed" to.

What made you start writing? I grew up in a family of writers and actually tried to avoid it before I realized that it’s in my spiritual as well as physical DNA. I’ve been writing since my teens, publishing since my late 20s, and wrote for magazines and newspapers for many years. I also worked in a variety of other jobs, but always found the time to write and publish as I did.

What's a typical "writing day" for you? When I’m generating new writing,  I seem to work best in a very public environment like a coffee shop, in the early half of the day. By the time I enter the revision aspect of the work, which I love (and I often go back and forth between the two in the rhythm of the way I work), I need to work in a more private, retreat-like setting, also in the early half of the day.


Are you a lark or a night owl? A lark, without a doubt.

Coffee or music while you work? Coffee early, music always, mainly instrumental, and tea throughout the day as I go.

How do you set your writing goals? Are you a plotter, or a pantser? A pantser. I allow whatever portion of a work that wants to come to reveal itself and I capture it down. I’ve never started at the beginning, but the beginning always becomes clear as I allow the process to reveal things in its own way, which is almost never in chronological order. Once enough pieces of a work come into existence, they begin to show me how they connect and relate to each other, and what further directions to take. This, for me, is one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience.

You have received recognition for your work. What recognition has made you proudest?
 It wasn’t so much mine, as that received by one of my interview subjects. She was someone I admired a lot for her work with young writers. The magazine that assigned the piece about her pulled it at the last minute. I woke a week later with another magazine’s name in my head and queried them. They took the story and ran it quickly, as they’d had a hole come up in their publication schedule. (I always smile at these "coincidental" junctures of need and circumstance.) A month after it was published, a college dean who had seen the article called me to find out how he could reach my interview subject, as the school wanted to invite her to be commencement speaker — and award her an honorary degree. I can still remember the joy I felt in that moment.

Phyllis' web site, showcasing her multiple talents, may be found at http://www.phyllisring.com/
You can also read more about Phyllis' adventures on her Amazon Author Page.


You have done some incredible traveling and researching in the course of your writing. What life experiences have helped you most? The spans of time I spent in Germany doing research for The Munich Girl were essential for conveying a sense of that culture I love so much, one that I hope readers will find palpable. I also made two visits to the National Archives here in the U.S. to spend time looking at the dozens of albums of Eva Braun’s photos that were confiscated at the end of the war. Those experiences were very helpful for refining information and details, and also getting a feel for the emotional atmosphere of that time and place. (Note: Phyllis talks more about her visits to the National Archives on her Amazon Author page.)

Tell me about your family, your pets, where you live and work. What non-writing recognition has made you proudest? It seems inevitable that I’d write a book with a WWII theme. My parents never stopped talking about the war — it was how my British mother and New England father met. I also have my military family to thank for the early-life experience of living in Germany, which is part of my heart forever. My husband was also a military brat, and we return to Germany often, and made sure that our children were introduced to Europe when they were young adults. Pets, let’s see — I grew up with a couple dozen Basset Hounds my parents raised, but after one sweet Miniature Schnauzer stole my heart, I’ve found it hard to imagine another dog in my life. My husband’s family has deep roots in New Hampshire, where I’ve lived for most of my adult life, nearly 39 years of it with him. We’ve both also been members of the Baha’i Faith for even longer, and that gives us a world-citizen sensibility that feels at home anywhere we go. I once had someone observe that I was "good in any currency," meaning adaptable, inclusive, and flexible. That is recognition that continues to mean a lot to me.

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