I am pleased to introduce Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author of Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel. Phyllis is a former Mrs. Lieutenant and lives with her husband in Los Angeles.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Phyllis. It’s an honor to have you with us.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been writing? How many books have you authored and in which genres?
I’ve been writing ever since I was little. I’m the co-author of the Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION, which came out in 1992, and there’s now a second edition. I’m working on a teen success guide, and, of course, there’s MRS. LIEUTENANT. So I’m interested in both fiction and non-fiction.
Who is your biggest source of inspiration?
I don’t have a who as much as a what as a source of inspiration. I like to tell stories, to entertain, but in the background there’s always an element of teaching. In MRS. LIEUTENANT I wanted to preserve a specific time in women’s social history.
What is your writing schedule like? Do you write every day? Are you a morning or late night writer?
I write whenever I get the time. I prefer mornings, but that’s when I exercise if my business partner and exercise partner picks me up to go to the gym.
Tell us about Mrs. Lieutenant.
It’s a story told from the point of view of four women who meet at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, in the spring of 1970 when their officer husbands are training on tanks. These very different women are thrown together and must learn to get along with each other. Because it’s either be friends with these women who are so different or be really lonely.
So, this story is about your life and the lives of three other women you met solely because you were military wives during Vietnam?
Yes, the story is about our lives and the book’s characters are based on women I met, but each fictional character has pieces of different people.
Why did you decide to fictionalize this story instead of writing it as a memoir?
Even so many years after the events in 1970 I felt I had to protect the identities of the women I knew. And, of course, I had more leeway to make up events as well as change around events. For example, one subplot in the book in connection with Kim was really something I learned about when my husband and I were later stationed in Munich, Germany.
What were some of the challenges you faced during the time your husbands were fighting in Vietnam?
This first novel deals with the period before the women’s husbands are sent to Vietnam. So at this point they are only dealing with the fear of the future.
This is part of a series of books. Do you know how many books you are planning?
I’m planning on two more.
What can you tell us about the next novel in this series?
The next is MRS. LIEUTENANT IN EUROPE, which deals with living in Germany only 25 years after the end of World War II. The third, which I think of as MS. LIEUTENANT IN CIVILIAN LIFE, deals with the return of Sharon Gold to civilian life and the reverse adjustments that she experiences.
Where can readers purchase Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel?
Do you have a website where readers can find out more?
Yes, www.mrslieutenant.com has the first four chapters, book group discussion guidelines, original 1970 army documents, information on organizations that support military families today, and a link to my Mrs. Lieutenant blog.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I’m hoping that readers will be entertained by the book as well as either remember or learn about that particular period of time right after the ‘60s when the women’s movement was just starting to happen.
Thank you for joining us today, Phyllis. It has been wonderful speaking with you. Best of luck with your writing!
The MRS. LIEUTENANT VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on June 1, 2008 and continue all month long. If you would like to follow Phyllis' tour in progress, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in June. Leave a comment at any of her blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy of her book! One lucky winner will be announced at her tour page on June 30!
This virtual book tour has been brought to you by: