Thursday, January 13, 2011

Michael Phillips shares the inspiration behind Angel Harp

I asked prolific author, Michael Phillips to stop by and tell us a little bit about his new release Angel Harp.

To tell you about Angel Harp I have to tell you about my own angel harpist, my wife Judy.

Judy has been playing the harp for some forty years. We home schooled our three sons, and after they were grown Judy began teaching harp lessons. She has a harp studio in our home and she has now been teaching harp lessons for fifteen years. She is really a gifted teacher. During that time she has probably taught the harp to more than a hundred young people. Some of them have gone on to become very accomplished musicians. Judy’s harp studio has added such a wonderful dimension to our home through the years. Can you imagine what it’s like to be writing…or going to bed (I’m the proverbial morning person and usually drift off at night hours before Judy) with harp music in the background. It’s pretty great.

We have a small home in Scotland where we spend the summer. I write and Judy works on her harp program and studies and curriculum. She does some playing there in the local 12th century church, and a little teaching, but most of her teaching takes place back home in the States.

A few years ago our schedules were such that I went to Scotland about a month before Judy. I had planned to do massive amounts of writing and expected 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 one of the worst cases of writer’s block I had ever experienced. I walked around the village, moped about the house, and got more and more depressed. I had time on my hands and was in the perfect environment to write…but creatively I was all dried up. I began to wonder if it was over…if I would ever write again.

What it boiled down to was probably no more complicated than that I missed Judy! I don’t know that I would say that I was love sick…that’s a little melodramatic. But I was definitely longing for my other half!

I went out for a long bike ride one day. On the way home I stopped and sat for a while on a bench overlooking the North Sea. As I sat there, from out of nowhere a sentence came into my brain: It is a terrible thing when dreams die.

I hadn’t a clue what it meant. But it was a mysterious enough sentence and it grabbed my attention. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

By the next day another thought came into my mind along with that mysterious sentence—what if someone were to come to Scotland as a tourist…even right to the very part of Scotland where I was at the time…and had an adventure? What if he or she did so in order to keep a dream in their life from dying? Maybe that’s what the sentence is supposed to mean.

Hmm, I thought to myself. What if that unknown someone was a harpist…even a harp teacher?

Hey, this sounds good, I thought!

I wrote down the mysterious sentence, continued to ponder what it meant, and waited to see what would come next.

I didn’t consciously begin to write a book about Judy. But the fact that she was on my mind so much began to prompt more and more ideas. Before long I had a fictional harpist and that one sentence had become a page…and before I knew it the story was taking shape before my eyes. I never knew what was going to take place next until it started to happen. I came to the manuscript every day wondering myself what was going to happen!

By the time Judy arrived, I was well on my way.

She 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…

What am I doing! I can’t give it away! Anyway, that’s how Angel Harp came into being.

Want more information about Angel Harp? This is the summary from Amazon:

Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40 that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

Michael Phillips has been writing in the Christian marketplace for 30 years. All told, he has written, co-written, and edited some 110 books. Phillips and his wife live in the U.S., and make their second home in Scotland. His latest release, Angel Harp releases January 26 from Faithwords. You can reach him at his website

It's giveaway time!

Faithwords has offered to give away a copy of Angel Harp to one lucky reader. The contest is open to residents in the US and Canada. To enter, leave a comment for Michael with your email address.

Michael will stop by a few more times this month to share about his writing and his special connection to Scotland. For extra entries, leave comments his other posts. The winner will be drawn February 3.


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