Phyllis Edgerly Ring is a local Exeter author with a newly published novel entitled The Munich Girl.
Tell me a little bit about who you are and where you live.
I’m a long-time writer, and a military brat for whom the whole world has always felt like home. One of my earliest homes was Germany, which is unquestionably why it’s such a big part of my life today, and at the heart of my newest book. I’ve lived in Exeter for 38 years
Are there any favorite local spots you like to visit, ones that inspire your creativity?
Many scenes in my new novel, The Munich Girl, were written over outstandingly good coffee and pastries at one of two local favorites: St. Anthony’s Bakery in Exeter and Kaffee VonSolln in Portsmouth.
Wow us with shock value. Is there anything about you that would surprise readers?
In the unexpected category, I once walked around Portsmouth for the better part of an afternoon dressed as a nun with local photographer Nick Thomas, and the portrait of Eva Braun around which my novel’s story revolves is one I happen to own.
What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as neurosurgeon?
I grew up in a family of them (writers, that is) and tried to avoid it in multiple ways for a long time: working in a state park, in nursing, teaching, among other things. Finally, when I began writing and editing for publications in the area, I recognized that I hadn’t accepted the fact that writing is a pretty essential part of who I am. Writing book-length fiction was another stage, however. I first finished a novel when I was in my early 30s but then put off engaging in this kind of work until our kids had grown, because the nature of it is far too absorbing. I inhabit it too deeply.
If you could spend a day with any author, living or dead – who would it be and why?
Erich Mühsam, called an anarchist in his time because thinking couldn’t recognize what a world citizen he was. He died in a concentration camp in 1934, is included in my new novel, The Munich Girl, and frankly, I also think he somehow instigated it. Perhaps one day, I’ll find out.
Does the area in which you live provide influence in your writing? How so?
So many answers to this one. The region is rich with arts, culture, and the best the natural world can offer, all of which serve as inspiration. Nearby Star Island and the Isles of Shoals are very important places for me, and coastal Maine unquestionably contributed to the shaping of my first novel, Snow Fence Road.
What is the most critical piece of advice you would give to new authors?
Be unceasingly willing to persevere, learn, and come to understand just what part of your inner blueprint your work most truly wants to represent, and how the process itself brings you closer to that reality, i.e. creativity and spirit want to shape each other, and us.
Coming up with a title can be difficult. Tell me how you came up with yours.
It came once I’d seen the rendering of the book’s cover, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t understood earlier what it had to be. Munich’s the place that unites the lives of all three main characters, instantly conveys the story’s German atmosphere, and was, at heart, the way Eva Braun saw herself – reflected in some of her very last words: a Munich girl. The subtitle helped round out the story’s deeper themes: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War.
Are there more books coming from you in the future? Do tell!
I hope to live long enough to complete a 19th-century novel I began that’s set in the Seacoast and at the Isles of Shoals. Also, local illustrator Leona Hosack has done the wonderful artwork for a children’s book coming soon from Bellwood Press. But the next book I’m most likely to write is a memoir-style one about the experience and process of writing this latest novel, which includes experiences I may never understand, let alone be able to explain. One of the most memorable, and critical, in the book’s development involved a phone call neither I nor the person on the other end initiated.
Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
Twitter: http:// www.twitter.com/phyllisring
For information about my books: