Daily Archives: July 8, 2013

WHY?

Question:
First I want to say that I absolutely love the Alice books and I have been a  fan for a long time. I got hooked back in fifth grade, when I read a copy of  The Agony of Alice. It really is the best series in the world. I’ve been  waiting eagerly for the last book to come out, but why has the title changed? I really liked the sound of Always Alice, because it sounded like no matter what happened, she would always be Alice, no matter what. Anyway, why did the title change? It’s obviously not that big of a deal, but I keep wondering why. I still cannot wait to get my paws on it though!
 
Phyllis replied:
 
I liked the old title too, but I think I like the new one even better.  Sales have been so good on the bind-up books, (“I Like Him, He Likes Her” and “It’s Not Like I Planned it this  Way,”) that the publisher felt the last book, especially because it’s for adults as much as young people, should have a title with more “edge” to it, and they changed the cover as well.  SO many things go into the making and marketing of a book.  Everyone gets a say–the editor, the copy-editor, the marketing people, the publicists, the salesmen–and we all simply want the best for each book.  Besides, haven’t I been promising that the final book would tell you EVERYTHING?

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Used to Hate Reading

Question:
 
Hey i just love your alice books. I used to hate to read until i read them. How do you write the Alice books so easily. Alice relates to me a lot and i guess thats why i enjoy reading them.
 
Phyllis replied:

I can’t say that they all came easily.  Some, like the very last book, were revised again and again.  But Alice is a lot like me, so perhaps that’s why I enjoyed writing them so much.

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The Witch Saga

Question:
 
As a small child I loved reading your books about Lynn and Mouse’s fight against the evil Mrs. Tuggle. They were so delightfully creepy! As an adult, I happened to come across my old copies and was pleased to find them just as enjoyable as I remembered them. I was also reminded again that growing up, I always wanted to live in the small town described in the stories (I grew up in Dallas, myself).
 
I was curious if you based Mrs. Tuggle’s town of residence on a real place. I read on your bio page that you grew up in Indiana, so it seemed likely that you were describing some place you had known. Of course I realize it was fictionalized, but I loved the descriptions of the autumn leaves and snowy winters and would be interested to know the general area so I could run through it on my cross-country road trip.

Thanks, and thanks again for your wonderful books!
 
Phyllis replied:
 
I wish there was a place I could refer you to, but the whole atmosphere came from my imagination.  I’m glad it was so real for you.  I lived in several places, both in Anderson, where I was born, and Muncie.  The houses always seem enormous to me, but when I once made a journey back to find the old homesteads, I was amazed at how tiny the houses really were.  I hope you were able to read all six books.  For those unfamiliar with the witch books: Witch’s Sister, Witch Water, The Witch Herself, The Witch’s Eye, Witch Weed, and The Witch Returns.  I had always loved scary books as a kid, so I set out to write the scariest books I could think of, and some people feel I succeeded.

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Is it wrong? I’m only ten.

Question:
 
I look on your website and see all the peoples coments of how they loved alice upsidedown well i wached the movie before i read the book and again absolutly loved it but then i read the book and i desided to wach the movie again and absolutly hated it i mean all the charectors were changed and the naked nomads were souposed to be when rosolind was still there. dont get this wrong phyllis i am not blaming you as i know its not your fault and as you explained many times it is only loosely based on the agony of alice.

i also have a queshtion  i am 10 years old and have read all the alice books (except now ill tell you everything of course ) and loved them. i see the labels on most of the high school books and see it says 14+  well i was wondering if you think it is wrong for me to read them  considering that i am only 10?
 
 
Phyllis replied:
 
What does your mom think?  Some girls are ready to read all the Alice books at ten years old, and some might find them shocking at twenty.  It all depends on the girl and her maturity.  Things that are romantic and sensual to people past puberty might seem icky to a ten year old.  If you’ve understood and enjoyed the books so far, I don’t see the harm in it.  In any case, I don’t consider it “wrong.”  As for the movie, this just goes to show how every movie should be viewed as it’s own special thing.  As soon as you compare it with the book, the differences show up.  I’m glad you saw the movie first and enjoyed it.  A lot of people did.

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The Best Gift Ever!

Dear Phyllis:
 
The last time I wrote to you was over 10 years ago (!!!). I wanted to share the attached photo with you.

My super rad boyfriend Jordan and I celebrated an anniversary this past week. When I came home from work, a colourful trail of paper cranes on our hardwood floor led me to a very large…stack of books: the hitherto complete Alice collection, carefully selected in matching editions for my obsessive self.

I know. He’s great!

Phyllis, I’ve spoken to him and others of the series so often and with so much affection, about how it shaped me, taught me I was normal, was a friend to me. I was raised by the library and the Alice books were a beacon. I read them through grade school, high school and (when I’d since out-aged Lester, become a musician instead of a YA writer, and remembered new books were still being released) after work. I’d previously mentioned to Jordan how much I’d like to own the series for any future children or young people in my life.

I can’t wait to share his/your incredible gift, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying re-reading them so much myself. I’ve read the first two books since yesterday and already been laughing/crying out loud like a nut. I’m amazed at how current Alice’s voice remains, and how accurately (sometimes painfully!) you remind me of being whatever age she is. Thought you might like to know that a 31-year-old man in Toronto has just started reading the series, too.

I’m (we’re!) planning to get through all of them in anticipation of Now I’ll Tell You Everything. I remember when you first mentioned many years ago that the final book would be released in 2013 — at the time, an unfathomable date to me, but here we are! It will be very sad to see the series end, but such a huge joy for me to always have Alice to visit nearby on the shelf.

It must be thrilling to have made a lasting impression on so many, and on new generations as I can see from your website. I really like the way I turned out as a woman and for that, owe you thanks.

Thank you, Phyllis. I’ll be sure to write again after I’ve read and added the final book to our collection.

Phyllis replied:
 
What a joy your letter was!  Yes, here it is 2013–always seemed a long way off to me too.  I know I’m going to get a zillion emails from readers saying, “WHERE did her boyfriend find the complete collection?” but they should know we’re talking about the later books–those that you didn’t already have, especially the big bind-ups each containing three books each. It really makes it all worthwhile to know that the books have meant so much to you, and my editor is going to enjoy your email also.

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