Phyllis A. Whitney, the First Writer I Ever Went Nuts Over

Yes, Phyllis A. Whitney was a mystery writer, not the genre I prefer to read and write in.  Yes, she died three years ago - at the age of 104!  (I should live so long.)

But she was the first writer that I sought out on a regular basis as a teenager; not that I had the money to go out and buy her books (I'm not sure she was writing much at that point in time), so I went to the library and got out her books.

She had a ton of 'em.

Another thing that most people who enjoyed her stuff didn't know was that she had a how-to book out back in the 1970s...can't remember the name of it, but I so loved her stuff - think lonely teenager ::sniff:: - I thought about writing mysteries.  So it was a surprise and a pleasure when I found that book.

Nothing came of that, and I've since gone through loads and loads of how-to's over the years.  (My current fave is The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass, the literary agent.)  But she was the first one that kindled something in me.  I eventually took a course on writing short stories, and managed to sell that after only putting it out there three times.  (It helps to read what the magazine is and isn't looking for.)

That spoiled me.

I thought I was one hot mama.  ::snark::  I came up with an idea from a Beatles tune...and it was rejected and rejected.  Yeah, I gave up.

But I've revived that idea, pouring it into the first book of my paranormal suspense series (which I am diligently editing, although I had to take a break from that the past two days due to work overload and a sinus headache that lasted most of yesterday).

This is the first edit.  I'm committed to only editting two more times and getting it out there.

So a thanks to Ms. Whitney, may she rest in peace, for putting the writing bug in me. :-)


Angie said...

I've never read any of her fiction [hides under keyboard] but I like writing books by people who are actually working writers, so I'm going to look for her book.

Good luck with your story this time around. :)


Nancy Beck said...


The only thing is, she wrote that back in the 1970s, and specifically for those wanting to write mysteries (my first love in my teenage years).

Wish I could remember the name of it.

Angie said...

It's called Guide to Fiction Writing. I found it on Goodreads by looking up her name and "writing." :) It seemed a reasonable guess; if it hadn't worked out, I'd have just brought up all her books and paged through them.


Nancy Beck said...

Thanks, Angie.

Why didn't I think of that?

I'll have to check it out. :-)

Kay Theodoratus said...

Thanks for reminding me of the days when I browsed the used book piles for my favorite authors. Yes, Whitney was one of them.