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.


  1. OMG
    This sounds amazing.
    And I loved the way he speaks of his wife.

    Joy: I think we should read this one next month in our book club!

  2. That sounds like a good book. It's inspirational to hear a man talk so lovingly about his wife after so many years. And living in Scottland for the summer would be a dream come true.

  3. That's so sweet that you connected your wife to your writing!


  4. Thanks so much Michael for stopping by today and thanks for commenting Juju, Melissa and Ariel. I agree, it's a beautiful story isn't it?

  5. Juju, I agree, this might make a great book club pick!

  6. My grandma is probably one of Michael's biggest fans LOL! She wrote to him, I believe it was about the Shenandoah Sisters and the Carolina Cousins series' and was so tickled to get a letter back. Let me tell you if my gram likes his books they have to be good she is PICKY! This sounds great and the inspiration behind it really makes me want to read it. :-)

    XOXO~ Renee

  7. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. I am a follower and email subscriber.

  8. I love the story behind the writing of the book and the synopsis of the book makes me want to read it! Great interview!

  9. I have this book in my "to read" pile. I can't wait to get to it!!

  10. your book sounds wonderful, micheal..thanks for the opportunity to read it

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  11. Sounds like a great book! I would love to win a copy to read (Carmen sent me)

  12. Please enter me in the drawing!
    Carman sent me.
    Thank you!
    Lisa Nelson
    storyreader617 @

  13. Wow...what a great Love story he is living! Would like to read this book. Thank you!

    Carman sent me!


  14. I would love to read this book. I've been a fan of Michael's for years. Read almost all of his books. I love the ones with the spy named Trinity. I took my pen name from that book.
    Thanks to Michael for writing books.
    Trinity Rose
    wandaelaine at gmail dot com

  15. Loved to read the comments about your wife and how she was the insparation for your book. Carmen sent me.

    true_sheila at yahoo dot com

  16. i love to read Michael's books, and would love to win this one.
    Carman sent me. i am a follower of this blog

  17. Sounds like a wonderful book..would love to read it! Carman sent me.

  18. This book looks great! Please enter me!


  19. This sounds like a wonderful book. Carman sent me and I would love to be entered in the giveaway


  20. I'd love to read this. Not too long ago, I read a children's book called A String in the Harp where an ancient harp key called to a boy who made a discovery about some history of the area.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  21. Oh, my goodness..I can hardly wait to read this book!

  22. I love the story behind this book and I can't wait to read it! :D

    Please enter me.

    booklovercb at yahoo dot com

  23. look great and I will love to read it ,please enter me at

  24. On the top of my "want to read" list.

  25. I would love to read this book Please enter me in the give away.

    gka444 at gmail dot com

  26. This book sound interesting. I wasn't expecting to be a mystery stuck in there and that should bring a different climax to the story. I'd love to win a copy.
    tressa dot sherman at hotmail dot com

  27. Would enjoy reading this book. It sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway.

  28. It never ceases to amaze me how ideas and
    thoughts enter our human minds! Harp music
    is so lovely and ethereal...
    Your books sounds like it has a lot going
    for it! Please count me in.
    Many thanks, Cindi

  29. Sounds like a great book and thriver is beautiful. Email subscriber

  30. this looks like one i would love to red!
    thank you
    tattgiff at centurytel dot net

  31. It's wonderful to hear the backstory of a story -- especially one based on love. Thanks for sharing that, Michael. I would love to read this book, please include me in the drawing.

  32. Sounds like a tender story. Thanks! joleehamlin [at] comcast [dot] net

  33. I really enjoy Michael's books and can't wait to read this one.

  34. This book sounds great! I'll admit I didn't think I would want to read it until I read your review!!

  35. Ariel, you won the copy from Faithwords, and I'm giving my review copy to Wendy! Congrats ladies!


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