Peggy Blann Phifer is an author and columnist, book reviewer, and author interviewer, whose work has appeared on various Web sites and writer periodicals both in print and online. She is also an avid reader who loves to escape by diving between the covers of a good book. Peg enjoys handcrafts of all kinds and her home shows off some of her work, though most end up as gifts for friends and family. A retired executive assistant, Peg now makes her home in southern Nevada with husband Jim.
To See the Sun is her debut novel.
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Not a lot of “me” as much as my experiences. My main female character,
Erin, is nothing like me. And, thinking
about it, there’s very little of me in any of the other characters, either.
Maybe that’s weird, I don’t know. Maybe a little wishful thinking, huh? Like, I
wish I WAS more like Erin. Or Magie, or
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Maybe not quirky, more like hare-brained. As a young mother living on
southeast side, my dad was sick and Mom had to work. My husband had just gone
through the same thing, so I knew how miserable Daddy was. I didn’t want to
leave him alone. So, I bundled up my two-year-old son and my two-month-old
daughter, took a city bus to the stop where I could catch a commuter bus out to
where my parents lived. It was early February, as I recall. The crazy thing is
that I had to leave the commuter bus and walk over a mile to the house,
carrying the baby and holding tight to my son’s hand all the way. I used to
walk that mile both ways every day to work before I got married, in high heels,
so I didn’t think much about it until I began that long walk that day. Daddy
was glad to see me but I got a royal scolding from him, as well as my husband.
The children suffered no ill effects and I never once regretted doing what I
did. But I never tried it again! New Berlin
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was a little girl I suffered from severe childhood asthma and there was little they could do about it in those days. I was limited to low-to-no strenuous activity, usually kept inside, often in bed. During the school year, if I had an attack, my teachers would send my schoolwork home with my sister, along with a selection of books from the school library. I devoured everything. And soon found myself re-writing some of them. It took most of my life until I was 40 to realize what I should have known back then. I was a writer.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Oh, my. It covers a broad area. Everything from the classics to Exodus (one of my all-time favorites.) I read, and still have, all the early James Bond books. I’ve read War and Peace—twice. I even indulged in the bodice-rippers for a few rebellious years. My current “passion” is suspense/thrillers, because that’s what I’m writing. Love James Scott Bell and Brandilyn Collins, Ronie Kendig and Steven James, to name a few. But my writing is not as much “thriller” as it is romantic suspense.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Honestly? Not very well. There are days I’d give anything to run outside and scream my head off. Or run away and hide. It seems every time I want to close myself off and do a good, long stint of writing, life happens. Or, more to the point, one husband, one dog, and seven cats. They don’t get it that, like Garbo, I just want to be alone.
Just before Christmas, I saw a Tweet from James Scott Bell with a picture of a door hanging “writer at work” made by his daughter using “ransom note” style, i.e. letters cut from newspapers and magazines. I thought, hey, I can do that. So I made one and have it hanging on my door. I have yet to use it. Something tells me it’s not going to stop the interruptions. But I’m going to give it a try one of those “I wanna scream” days.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I really don’t have a method. Maybe I’ll come across a name in something I’ve read, or heard a name that found its way into my head. Or I’ll see a picture in a magazine or online and a name pops into my head for her or him. That’s how I finally named
the book’s early form, I named her character Tori, short for . But it wasn’t working. Every time
I wrote her name I cringed. Just didn’t sound right for the character I was
building. Then one day I was thumbing through a women’s clothing
catalog—Chadwick’s, I think—and this same young woman kept appearing in different
garments and poses. She fit my mental picture of my heroine to a T. Unruly,
tousled silver/blond hair with an impish grin in a pixie face. One pose shows
her in a pensive mood. As soon as I saw that, the name Victoria Erin
wrote itself above her head. Whimsical? I guess. But once I had the right name,
she started talking to me. The same thing happened with all the other
characters. My mind “saw” them and their name followed. Maybe I’m just wired
We’re all wired differently, but none of them are wrong. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Besides just getting my book published? Sticking it out to the end, I guess, despite all the rejections, contest losses with hard critiques, a disastrous one-on-one meeting with an editor at a conference where my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and I couldn’t say a thing. I finally just stuffed my one-sheet in front of her. Humiliating.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
That should be a given. A cat. I envy the way they stretch. I love their aloofness, their “I can’t be bothered right now” attitude. They don’t need the “Writer at Work” sign.
What is your favorite food?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
See #5 and #7. LOL Actually my nemesis is time management. It is, and always has been, the most difficult thing for me. I was once told, through a time-management class presented by my employer, that I have a tendency to let the Urgent crowd out the Important. I’ve found that to be true. On the plus side, I’m tenacious. If I want to accomplish something, I will. Sooner or later.
Tell us about the featured book.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Pregnant and widowed hadn’t been part of her “happily ever after” dream. And now, someone was trying to kill her . . .
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
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,
begrudgingly accepts Clay’s help . . . and it just might be her undoing.
Sounds like the kind of romantic suspense story I like to read. Please give us the first page of the book.
Friday, March 26, late afternoon
What a fantastic day. A bid won. A contract signed. The job of a lifetime that would put Stuart and Macintyre at the top of the construction heap, not just in
Vegas, but all of southern .
Whistling, Justin Macintyre pressed the keyless remote of his Cadillac Escalade, tossed his briefcase across the console to the passenger seat and slid behind the wheel.
To top it all off, after seven long years, he and his wife, Erin, were going to have a baby. A baby! He laughed aloud at the overwhelming joy of it.
"Hey, world, I'm going to be a daddy!"
He shifted the SUV into gear and pulled out of the Mt. Charleston Lodge area onto
Kyle Canyon Road
and headed down the mountain to the
below. Despite the successful day, Justin couldn't banish his worry over a
recent discovery of some irregularities in the company's finances. Nothing
concrete, and his Uncle Sebastian, S and M's CFO, assured him everything was
fine. Nevertheless, Justin's uneasiness had prompted him to send what little
proof he had to his long-time friend, Clay Buchanan, a private investigator in Las
Vegas Valley . Texas
Preoccupied with his thoughts, he vaguely registered the yellow and black blind curve warning sign. Too late he saw the stalled car across the center line. No time to stop! He spun the wheel to the right.
I'm going too fast! God, help me . . .!
Seconds passed and silence settled once more over the mountainside. A shadow emerged from behind a Joshua tree and stepped to the edge of the ravine. After a moment, the form walked to the car in the road and drove away.
Erin Macintyre stretched her arms along the balcony's balustrade of her twenty-seventh-floor condo above the streets of
Beyond that, the lower edge of the setting sun kissed the still snowy peaks of
the Spring Mountain Range and Las Vegas . Mt.
Justin would be home soon.
Erin, where's the zester?"
"Which is the utility drawer?" Magie Gifford,
dearest friend, pulled out drawer after drawer.
"You changed it." Magie snatched the zester and bumped the drawer shut with her hip. "That's not where it was last time."
"Very funny." Magie pushed
Erin aside and
proceeded to rub a lemon across the gadget and then whisked the zest into a
frothy mixture of olive oil, Italian herbs, and balsamic vinegar. "Okay,
just drizzle this over the salad and stick it in the fridge."
Erin checked on the lasagna in the oven. The garlic toast
waited on the foil-lined cookie sheet ready to pop under the broiler.
Everything was ready.
"Posh. You should know by now how those meetings can drag on."
"Yeah, I know. It's just—"
"Get over here,
Erin. He'll be here when he gets
"You spoil that critter." Magie brushed off the chair cushion before sitting.
"Yeah, I do. But you love him, too. I saw you sneaking him some treats earlier."
"Not to mention the romp you had with him in the living room when you got
"Busted. But he's so much fun, aren't you, Kazimir?"
At the sound of his name, the cat uncoiled, left
and jumped onto Magie's. She snorted. "So much for protecting my black
"Thanks for coming over to help with this meal. I wanted it to be special and I never know when the nausea will hit." She raised an eyebrow. "But you will leave as soon as Justin gets here."
"You think he'll get that bid?"
The first five descending notes of Welcome to My World sang out in the condo's foyer. Justin! No, he wouldn't ring the doorbell. Puzzled, she stepped across the tiled floor and rose on tiptoes to peer through the peephole. She gasped and jumped back.
The doorbell chimed again.
released the security lock and opened the door to two uniformed police
"What is it, officers?"
"I'm afraid there's been an accident, Mrs. Macintyre. Your husband . . ."
Yep. You’ve got me hooked. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: twitter/com/pegphiferFacebook: facebook.com/pegphifer
Thanks, Peg, for dropping by today.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.To See the Sun: Desert Faith Series Book One - paperback
To See the Sun (Desert Faith Series) - Kindle
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