This week’s Inheritance Books are from the fantastic Phoebe Fox!
Phoebe – hello, hello! Welcome to Inheritance Books. Have a sit down, take a break from the moving house chaos.
So, tell us a bit about yourself
Well, for starters, I’m delighted to be here on your blog, Rhoda. I adore this feature—such a unique way of starting a conversation with authors—and it was fun (and harder than I thought!) to think about my answers.
Yay. I’m glad you enjoyed reading your responses too. I’m just nosy about what’s on people’s bookshelves really…
I write women’s fiction—both on the lighter side, like my current Breakup Doctor series, and the more serious side, like the manuscript I’ve just turned in to my agent (and which hopefully will be following Breakup Doctor onto bookshelves before too long…!). I’d tell you the title, but Marisa de los Santos preempted it with her last book, so now I have to find a new one. (But I forgive her because she’s among my favorite women’s fiction authors.)
I started out as a writer—I remember writing stories from as young an age as I could physically write. I wrote stories for school assignments instead of essays (which resulted in more than one letter grade marked off from time to time), and I wrote about my family (which resulted in more than one upbraiding from time to time), and I wrote regularly in a journal (which resulted in some of the personal neuroses I still enjoy today).
And then I veered off into a career in acting. My dramatic pursuits included a corporate video that called for me to jump into a lake; doing interactive murder mysteries where I actually got shot in the head with the wadding from a blank gun and had to go to the hospital to have the hole in my head stitched up; and a commercial where I played a fairy (yeah, a six-foot-tall fairy) and was suspended from a flight harness for literally about twelve hours and displayed a delightful contact rash in my groin area for a week afterward. Oh, and I hosted a local game show for a year on FOX. I wish I were making some of this up.
When the glamour of that career paled, I turned to journalism, and loved that—I wrote features, a regular weekly entertainment column, a health column, and served as the theater critic for my Scripps-Howard paper. And then journalism imploded.
And I returned to my first love: writing stories. And after a very long slog to publication that I’m sure your readers have heard some variation on from nearly every other author, here I am. Rather overjoyed to have found the perfect home for my first series at Henery Press, actually.
That sounds like fascinating. You’ve probably got fodder for a dozen rom coms right there!
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
I was a devoted reader from the time I knew how to read–often as a child I could be found hiding in a closet with a book. When I visited my grandparents every summer, my grandfather and I would spend hours together in his library, which was up a circular staircase and hidden—I kid you not—behind a swinging bookcase, like in a James Bond film. It was marvelous for a child. Also for an adult, for that matter—I’d kill to have that room in my house now. (THAT sounds amazing! R)
Papa also sent me books quite often. But it was my grandmother, his wife, who gave me the one that probably impacted me the most as a child—Grimm’s Fairy Tales. She sent me the Anderson’s Fairy Tales in a companion volume, but those just freaked me out (very scary!). The Grimm’s were somewhat nasty too—I remember in “The Robber Bridegroom” a man had his fingers cut off. Parents would never give their kids things like this to read now, but these stories just transported me. They were magical, and I loved the language—a bit archaic and formal, but they still wrapped me up in the story they were telling. I don’t know how many times I reread those, for how many years, but testament to my love for them is that I still have them—packed somewhere in a box at the moment from our recent move, sadly, so I couldn’t get a pic of my actual battered, deckle-edged originals—but always with me, when so many of my childhood things have been left behind. My Grimm’s fairy tales, and Fleegle the frog, and the doll my sister gave me when I was one…the sentimental totems of my childhood I still carry with me.
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
This is my practical answer, rather than my greater-world-vision answer. I’ve often said that if I could, I’d make He’s Just Not That Into You by Liz Tuccillo and Greg Behrendt required reading for every woman—and man too, for that matter.
I’ve gotten to talk about this book a lot in interviews for The Breakup Doctor, and I’m always just a little sheepish when I discuss its importance—not because I don’t think it’s excellent and relevant, but because I know that most people think of high-concept books as the game changers. But for me, this one changed it all. This book was truly a revelation to me as far as what I looked for in relationships. The authors felt like the protective older siblings many of wish we had as we start navigating life—the ones who tell you how it really is, and look out for you, and keep telling you that you deserve better. Reading this book was the first time I took a hard look at dating and the types of behavior I’d made excuses for in the past, and realized, that’s not what it has to look like. Now that I’m married to a man who is genuine, kind, decent, and real—and who makes no secret of his feelings for me and never did—I want to go into every single household with a young girl in it and personally hand her this book.
No, it may not create world peace or change the universe. But I think it might change the way we think of ourselves and of relationships, and what we really want, and what we deserve, and what to look for to know what those things are when we find them.
Sounds like a lovely book to leave to teenagers of the future. Thank you for sharing your favourite books with us Phoebe. Good luck with the Serious book… and with the unpacking.
Are you a writer? Would you like to share your Inheritance Books? Email me!