Friday, March 16, 2012

Get Lost in a Story welcomes Phyllis Schieber

Get Lost in a Story Readers, today I’m pleased to bring you a rare Saturday post to introduce to you a fellow Bell Bridge author who is making the world stand up and take notice of her wonderful novel, THE MANICURIST.   

Why, interrupt your Saturday for this news?  Simple:  For the next TWO WEEKS, THE MANICURIST, is part of Amazon's BIG DEAL. Want to know why it's a big deal?  Read on . . .

In The Manicurist, Tessa's premonitions have the potential to resolve the past . . .or they may destroy her family's future. . . .

Tessa and Walter have, by all appearances, the perfect marriage.  And they seem to be ideal parents for their somewhat rebellions teenage daughter, Regina.  Without warning, however, their comfortable lives are thrown into chaos when a disturbing customer comes into the salon where Tessa works as a manicurist.  Suddenly, Tessa's world is turned upside down as revelations come to light about the mother she thought had abandoned her in childhood and the second sight that she so guardedly seeks to keep from others.  A magical novel of secrets revealed and a family in turmoil, searching together for new beginnings.

What people are saying about THE MANICURIST. . .  

Using language that is at once both straightforward and evocative, Schieber has painted a fine portrait of the struggles and challenges of being different in an unforgiving world. Her characters are authentic and touching. You will recognize them and remember them long after you read the last page. 

Karen Chase ~ Award-winning author of Kazimierz Square, Bear, Land of Stone, and Jamali-Kamali
~ ~ ~
 Phyllis Schieber once again shows how elegant storytelling can be. The Manicurist  will remain on a top shelf in my library. This book will stir your emotions, excite you with its twists and delight you to the point of tears. A must-read."  

Susan Wingate (Award-winning author of Drowning and Bobby's Diner)

~ ~ ~ 

Welcome to Get Lost in a Story, Phyllis.  (sigh)  Elegant Storyteller.  What an adjective to be saddled with.  Well, let's see what else we can learn about you.  Time to answer our fun questions.

DONNELL:  Do you prefer to live in a big city or in the country? 

PHYLLIS:  I grew up in Manhattan, so when my family went shopping in Yonkers, a suburb in Westchester County that was no more than thirty minutes away, my father took movie pictures, and my mother packed sandwiches.  I now live in Hastings-on-Hudson, a village about 20 minutes from Manhattan and feel as if I live in the country! I love it here, but I think I’ll always be a city girl at heart.

DONNELL:  What’s your favorite room in your house?

PHYLLIS: I love my kitchen. We redid it when we bought the house eleven years ago, and it is very much a reflection of my eclectic taste. With that said, I love my office more.  We took half of the garage and converted it into an office with a separate entrance.  I have floor to ceiling bookcases that are busting at the seams, framed photographs, posters, and memorabilia on my walls (including a postcard from Anne Tyler!), and an odd assortment of statues and boxes that I’ve collected over the years. I love to light incense there and play music—anything from Michael Franti to Pavarotti. The office is my exclusive retreat.

DONNELL:  You’re having a dinner party.  What character do you hope doesn’t show up?

PHYLLIS: I can be very confrontational, so the character one might expect me to welcome the least might be the one I want to have a few words with if I had the opportunity. Nevertheless, if I had planned a lovely dinner party, I would be disinclined to welcome Althea Jordan, Walter’s sister. Althea is a very weak and narrow-minded woman. I am always disappointed in her. 

DONNELL:  Based on the title of your book, I would be remiss in not asking.  Do you have a perfect manicure?

PHYLLIS: At the moment, my nails are a complete mess! I am, however, planning on getting a manicure today! My “perfect manicure” never lasts more than a few hours.

DONNELL:  Do you like to shop?
PHYLLIS:  I do, but not often. And I like to shop alone. I also love to prowl sales at my favorite stores on-line. I insist on free shipping, or I refuse to buy anything!

DONNELL:  Do you read your reviews?

PHYLLIS:   I do, not compulsively, but from time-to-time, I do check Amazon to see if there are any new posts. Some reviews can be so mean-spirited and so off base that it can be disconcerting. Nevertheless, a thick skin is a prerequisite if one wants to survive as a writer. 

DONNELL:  When writing, do you listen to music?  

PHYLLIS: I do. I love Michael Franti and Spearhead, Adele, Amy Winehouse , Bob Marley and voices from the Sixties—Richie Havens and Bob Dylan.  I also intersperse that with lots of opera—my son and his girlfriend are opera singers. I’m trying to hone my taste and my knowledge. Frankly, it’s rough going for me.

DONNELL:  Are you superstitious?

PHYLLIS:  I am. My mother was very superstitious, and it left its mark on me. I’m aware of my superstitions and while I don’t allow them to dictate my life, they do rear their little heads and often amuse me.

DONNELL:  Someone has cut you off in the parking lot.  How do you handle it?

PHYLLIS: Not very well. I would curse loudly and fiercely, but that’s about it. Depending on the size of the target of my rage, I would, more than likely, keep the window closed while it spewed out my tirade!

DONNELL:  Coffee or Tea?  And what’s the one food you can’t resist?

PHYLLIS:  Coffee. Bread is irresistible, with or without butter.

DONNELL:  If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be, and what would you talk about?

PHYLLIS:  Anne Tyler. I am such a fan of her work. I would love to have a leisurely meal with her and take a nice, long walk here on the Aqueduct. I would love to know everything about her writing process, how a story comes to her, what her challenges are, and what she likes to read. I once read an interview she gave in which she lauded the play The Retreat From Moscow by William Nicholson. I had just seen the play and adored it. It was brilliant—touching, funny, sad and close to home in so many ways. I felt such a kinship with Anne Tyler after that.

Great answers, thank you!  


PHYLLIS to READERS: What is more important to you as reader, the story or the writing? Can you have one without the other and still be satisfied?

There you have it, readers.  Do not forget, for the next TWO WEEKS, THE MANICURIST by Phyllis Shieber is on sale and a deeply discounted price as part of Amazon's BIG DEAL.  Don't miss out.


The first great irony of Phyllis Schieber’s life was that she was born in a Catholic hospital. Her parents, survivors of the Holocaust, had settled in the South Bronx among other new immigrants.  In the mid-fifties, her family moved to Washington Heights, an enclave for German Jews on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, known as “Frankfurt-on-the-Hudson.”

She graduated from high school at sixteen, earned a B.A. in English from Herbert H. Lehman College, an M.A. in Literature from New York University, and later an M.S. as a Developmental Specialist from Yeshiva University.  

She lives in Westchester County where she spends her days creating new stories and teaching writing. She is married and the mother of a grown son.

The Manicurist was a finalist in the 2011 Inaugural Indie Publishing Contest sponsored by the San Francisco Writer's Conference.

Phyllis Schieber is the author of three other novels, The Sinner’s Guide to Confession, Willing Spirits, and Strictly Personal.



kathrynmagendie said...

Actually, the characters are most important. If I want to follow a character(s) anywhere they lead me, then I'll "forgive" a lot in the writing. Of course, there has to be a story, but I don't care about "plot" so much as the characters leading me somewhere then following through and giving me a satisfying ending!

Going to go check out that promo right now!

Donnell said...

Is that the most compelling blurb? The Manicurist sounds like my kind of read. And all as part of Amazon's BIG DEAL.

Wow, tough question, and I'm going to sound wishy washy, but it boils down to all three, I reckon. I'm definitely all about the characters, but the plot has to make sense, and I have to connect with the author's voice.

As a former contest coordinator, we had this question often about manuscripts that came in flawlessly written, with perfect grammar and more, and yet the characters and the story didn't move the judge. Many judges wanted to know how they should score?

Writing is about feeling and emotion. If the characters and the story make you feel, imperfections can be overlooked. If a manuscript is perfect, and the characters and story leave you flat, it can easily be set down.

Can't wait to read THE MANICURIST. Thanks for joining us on Get Lost in a Story today!

Phyllis Schieber said...

Thanks, Kathryn! As a writer, I am much more character driven than plot driven. However, good writing always takes the forefront for me.... sounds like I want it all!

Phyllis Schieber said...

Thanks for hosting me, Donnell! I can't wait for you to read THE MANICURIST!!!! I hope it satisfies your needs as a reader --and a writer--with flying colors!