Our interview today is with Phyllis Sather. Thank you Phyllis for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: I’m a believer, having been rescued from a very deep pit by my Savior when I was 30 years old. My biggest regret is all those wasted years, but the Lord has used them to rescue others for which I’m grateful.
When I was growing up all my friends were dreaming about careers but I always wanted to be a wife and mother. That didn’t happen early in my life so I had a career in management before I married when I was 38. We’ve been married for 29 years and homeschooled three of our children for 19 years. They are young adults now and still live at home while pursuing more education and starting small businesses.
Family is very important to me and there is nothing I enjoy better than having my family together.
My family is very active in our small church. I joke that my job is to see that everyone gets to where they’re supposed to be at the right time.
We moved to the country in 2007. I was raised on a small hobby farm, but the rest of our family was all raised in the city so I’ve enjoyed watching them become country-folk, but we discovered that I’m quite citified now. We are only a half hour from a good sized town so we still have access to all the culture and benefits of the city too.
Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?
Answer: I write non-fiction that is mostly based on situations from real life. I have quite a variety of life experiences and lessens learned to draw from.
Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: I enjoy reading a variety of types of books. My husband has always read aloud to our family. We usually have several books going at a time. I enjoy most things that accompany homemaking and parenting. My very favorite thing is scrapbooking our family photos. We vacation at a cabin every June and since I’ve discovered digital scrapbooking I spend a lot of time there putting together photo albums.
Question: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written (plots, finding needed information, getting a cover done)?
Answer: Probably my first book, Purposeful Planning. My husband told me in January 2006 that he thought I should write it. I procrastinated all year and finally in December made a few feeble attempts to get something down on paper. In January 2007 I agreed that it really needed to be written. I signed up for a writing class which ended up with me postponing the actual writing while I set up a website and started building a bit of a following by writing for other sites and helping promote other people’s books. In July the first version of Purposeful Planning was finished and I started promoting it.
Question: Since you have several books out, tell us what you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?
Answer: I started out with ebooks and found that I loved being able to be so generous with them. I remember my children being concerned about me giving so many away that I would never make any money. But I assured them that you can’t out-give God. There were times when I would sell two for every one I gave away. I almost felt like God and I were competing.
After I sold one to a military wife she shared that it helped her so much by getting them on the same page before her husband was deployed. When she had to make decisions alone it was usually something they had discussed during their planning time so she knew his thoughts on it and could make an informed decision. When he returned they used our material to reconnect, thus making that transition easier than it had been previously. Purposeful Planning is still free to all military families.
If you are a military family, just email me at Phyllis@Phyllis-Sather.com and I’ll see that you get a copy asap.
I’ve since moved into the Kindle format and Purposeful Planning is also available in paperback.
As far as promotion goes, I’m still learning. I’ve been very connected to the home school market but since all of our children have graduated I’ve been working to make more/different connections. I’ve found that I still gravitate to the home school marketplaces a lot, but I’m working at connecting and cross marketing with Indie authors too.
Question: Have you done anything writing-related, besides your books that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
Answer: I’ve had a column in a magazine TEACH (name changed recently to Eternal Encouragement) for six plus years on mothers and daughters. The owner of it used one of them in a compilation of best articles from the last ten years titled True Treasures.
I have also collaborated with several other authors, so I have chapters in a number of books, including Molly Goes Camping, Help, Lord, I’m Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My High Schooler, and 21 Stories of Gratitude: The Power of Living Life with a Grateful Heart: A Life of Gratitude by Shelley Hitz.
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: My newest book is Thoughts on Mothers and Daughters, and is a compilation of what I think are the best articles from my column in Eternal Encouragement magazine. Since that magazine was mostly distributed to the homeschool market until just recently I think there will be a market for it as the topics I cover aren’t based on homeschooling but on growing and encouraging the mother/daughter relationship.
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: The Lord really does do all things well. When we home schooled none of my children wanted to write. We had lots of tears all though school and dropped out of several writing curriculums. Now both of my daughters are published authors. In addition, Emily is a freelance editor with a business named Kind Corrections, and Rebekah is a graphic artist and is specializing in ebook covers. To round out my crew, my son Eric works in IT and keeps all our computers up and running. He has also done some layout work on my books and web design.
Question: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.
Answer: We did a family trip to the UK in 2001. It was really a big splurge for us but something we wanted to do while all our children were still at home. We all fell in love with many things there and hope to someday be able to go back.
Question: What is your current WIP?
Answer: I’m finishing Thoughts on Mothers and Daughters but am feeling “stuck” on how to promote and advertise it. After the holidays I’m hoping to really get together a plan for promoting it and make it available.
© 2013 Phyllis Sather
Phyllis is an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. She has been the joyful wife of her best friend Daniel for 28 years and became a stay-at-home mom 25 years ago after retiring from a management position. She has 5 children, two married. She has 5 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. She homeschooled three of their children, Emily (26), Rebekah (24), and Eric (22), for 19 years and they are now working on “Home College”. Together they work on their home businesses: Kind Corrections Editing, Becky’s Graphics, Gilded Gears – Victorian Jewelry with a twist, and Lazarus Tech Services. She has published several books, including her favorite, Purposeful Planning. Visit her on her website at Phyllis-Sather.com
Reviews for Purposeful Planning
“One of the first things that I noticed as I read this ebook is that Phyllis has been there! She has been in the “trenches” where some of you might feel that you are right now. She admits that she was in “survival mode” at one point…and the thought of planning did NOT excite her because it just meant more room for failure. I definitely get where she is coming from…and I believe that you will too.”Homeschool Toolbox
“Because of these weekends, we have been much more focused and intentional about life. We have taken vacations because we wanted to create memories to treasure with our kids. We have carved out time for things like family bike rides and Lego nights. We have been more consistent in our date nights. These were all things we had intended to do, but did not – until we began to purposefully talk about them and plan them into our schedules.
There have also been some very important, intangible benefits of beginning each year by praying over our goals and priorities. My husband noticed that we now argue less. We feel more connected to each other. When life throws a curve ball, we are able to help each other refocus because we have recently renewed our vision for our family. Deliberately taking time to share our dreams and our struggles with each other smooths over the little bumps of everyday life.” Rebecca
“The “Word from Dan” is an excellent encouragement for men and for women with a desire to uplift their husbands toward a stronger leadership role in the lives of their children. This page truly completes the Purposeful Planning book and makes it a great purchase for families.” The Old Schoolhouse review
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