Friday, February 4, 2011

Question of the Day featuring Michael Phillips

Angel Harp: A Novel

Today is the 2nd day of my 25 days of interview questions with Michael.  As I stated yesterday, Michael was very honest and candid with his answers, giving me great insight into the life of an author, at least for him!  I enjoyed all of the content he was willing to share but was unable to post it all at once due to length.  I hope you enjoy
day two as we get to know Michael a little better through his new release "Angel Harp".  Question 2.....

Please tell me a little about Angel Harp.

To tell you about Angel Harp and its sequel Heather Song I have to tell you about my own angel harpist, my wife Judy.

Judy has been playing the harp for forty years. She operates a harp studio in our home and is really a gifted teacher. During that time she has probably taught the harp to more than a hundred young people.

We have a small home in Scotland where we spend the summer and where I do a lot of my writing. The ultimate writer’s retreat, I suppose! A few years ago our schedules were such that I went to Scotland a month before Judy, who was caregiving for her mother at the time. I planned to write volumes, anticipating the creative juices to flow like a tidal wave!

But I got to Scotland and hit a brick wall. My brain was empty. It was the worst writer’s block I had ever experienced. I walked around the village, moped about the house, and got more and more depressed. I began to wonder if I would ever write again.

What it boiled down to was probably no more complicated than that I missed Judy! Love-sick is a little melodramatic. But I was definitely longing for my other half!

I went out for a long bike ride one day. On my way home, I stopped and sat down on a bench high on a bluff overlooking the North Sea. It was a spectacular day, breezy but pleasant, the ocean a deep blue. As I sat there, a seagull flew past in front of me. Slowly, as it glided by, wings outstretched, the gull’s head turned briefly toward me.

It was one of those magic moments between man and the animal kingdom that brings a joy to the heart. Obviously the gull wasn’t thinking about me, but I imagined him saying, “There is a story waiting to be told about that bench you are sitting on, about this coastline, and about the village just there along the path.”

Just as quickly he was gone.

I was left to ponder the moment. As I did, gradually a creative what-if began to form in my brain:—

What if a visitor came to this part of Scotland as a tourist, actually came to this very spot and walked this path along this bluff and sat upon this very bench? What if such a person came here knowing nothing, expecting nothing…and slowly found himself or herself drawn into the life of the community?

That was it.

A village in Scotland…a path along a bluff…a bench overlooking the sea…and the momentary glance of a seagull.

As I continued on my ride toward our home, a sentence came to me. I don’t know why, or where it came from. I had no idea what it meant.

The sentence was:—

It is a terrible thing when dreams die.

With nothing more than that, I began to write, hoping that from that single sentence a second might follow.

As I mentioned, Judy was not yet with me in Scotland, but would be joining me in a few weeks. I was obviously thinking of her. I thought, “I will make the unknown visitor to this village, a woman, a harpist, like my Judy…maybe who has always dreamed of playing Celtic music on her harp in Scotland…perhaps on a high windswept mountain or a cliff overlooking the sea.

Gradually one idea followed another until I had enough to fill a page…then two pages.

I didn’t consciously begin to write a book about Judy. But the fact that she was on my mind prompted more and more ideas. Before long I had a fictional harpist on her way to Scotland…and the story began to take shape before my eyes. I never knew what was going to take place next until I found my fingers writing about it. I came to the manuscript every day wondering myself what was going to happen! It was kind of exciting, actually.

Judy always says I’m a romantic. I don’t know if that’s true or not—do men ever know those kinds of things! But Angel Harp was a romance that was really fun to watch develop…even if I didn’t know what was going to happen in the end.

The harpist of the story has an adventure, gets involved in a complicated love triangle, and…

But I can’t give it away! Anyway, that’s how Angel Harp came into being, and Heather Song completed the tale.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow and find out How Michael became published!


  1. hopping thru:Day 2- I dearly enjoyed reading this and your rating system tickled me.

  2. Hey, lovveee ur blog! really cool look or it too! Thanks for the awesome reviews. i'd love it if u would hop by my blog at thanks!!


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