A Day in the Life Of and Questions with Phyllis Cambell. Welcome.
Phyllis Staton Campbell was born in Amherst County, in a small village similar to those featured in her books. She had two sisters and one brother, all of whom are now gone. She and her sister were educated at the Virginia School for the Blind. She has worked as a teacher of the blind, private music teacher, accompanist at a ballet academy, peer counsellor and youth transition specialist. She married Clarence (Chuck) Campbell, in 1967. She says it was a good marriage, lasting almost forty-six years. During his last months, she was his only caregiver except for a visit from a Hospice worker to take care of his bathing and shaving. She says the hardest thing she ever did was sign the Do Not Resuscitate order. She promised to walk with him to that final door we call death, and she has every idea that he will be there waiting on the other side of that door.
Are you writer, publisher or designer? Writer
Do you write primarily, fiction or nonfiction? Fiction
Do you restrict your work to a single genre? Yes
How long have you been writing? Since the 60s.
Are you self-published? Traditional published? Both
Thank you. Please tell us more.
- If you write more than one genre, what are they, and why? I’m interested in a number of genre. What I write and when, depends on my mood. When I’m in the middle of a project, I often have to use self-discipline to keep from wanting to start a different project. No, I’ve never abandoned one project for another.
- Are your characters, real people? No, but I think most writers slip in character traits even speech patterns of real people.
- Do you ever become tired of a book, while working on it? Absolutely. After I’ve worked over several drafts and edits, I’ve often never wanted to see the thing again.
- Have you as a blind person had an unpleasant experience with a publisher or agent. Explain. I once had an agent tell me that no publisher would even look at a book featuring a blind person.
- If the answer to the question above is yes, how did you handle it? I ignored her. Even if I had insisted, and she had represented me, we would never have had a satisfactory relationship.
- Do you use any special equipment to aide in your writing? I use a computer with screen reading software, and a braille device, The Braille-Note Touch, for proofreading.
- When you submit your work to a publication, do you tell them that you’re blind? If characters in the book or short story are blind, I do to verify authenticity.
- Does your environment or work experience ever feature in your writing? In what way? I have worked as a teacher, peer counsellor, and youth transition specialist. People with disabilities often feature in my writing, as do small towns and rural areas, environments I’ve lived in most of my life.
- Do you use anything to set the mood for your writing? Yes, I often use music to create the atmosphere.
- Have you ever become discouraged about your writing, and if the answer is yes, what did you do about it? All writers become discouraged, and some go through what might be called a dark time. I try to step back and think about what has discouraged me. Usually, it’s a rejection slip from somewhere that I had felt would give me an acceptance. In my case this usually passes in a day or two.
Do you work at another job? If so tell us about fitting in the writing/cover design/editing. I am a church organist. I have a schedule allowing time for practice and writing, varying sometimes if one needs more attention than the other.
Do you have a family? What do they think about your job? I do not have a family. When my husband was alive, he was very supportive. Do they assist you?
How do you fit in ‘real life’? Actually, my writing and my music are real life for me.
Do you have a particular process? No
Are you very organised? Yes, but not so organized that I can’t change when it becomes necessary or desirable.
What time do you get up/go to bed? My ideal day starts around six AM, and ends around ten PM when I read in bed, until I fall asleep.
Do you find it hard to fit everything in? Like most people some days things demand more time, but in general, I finish what I’d planned.
What is your ideal working environment? A quiet place with few interruptions.
What do you eat for breakfast? It varies, according to my schedule. If I’m in a hurry it’s something like a frozen English Muffin with a filling of egg and sausage. Otherwise the usual, eggs bacon etc.
Give us a brief rundown of your average day from getting up to going to bed. I wake around six, and make a cup of coffee with my Keurig in my upstairs bathroom, take the coffee back to bed to listen to the weather and news. Shortly before seven, I come down, and go through email, taking care of anything that requires attention. I get breakfast, following which, I work on my writing and any publicity. If it’s close to the time for my columns, I do research. Lunch. Practice at the organ, and braille music if necessary. Following this, I do chores such as laundry, straightening the kitchen, unloading and loading the dishwasher. I listen to music, and/or read.
Prepare dinner, following which I may visit with friends on the phone, visit with friends online etc. This, of course, for instance, I get my hair done to go out to lunch etc.
Would you recommend your chosen craft to those interested in doing it? I certainly would, but would urge them to understand that to become a professional they must learn disappointment and patience.
Check out Phyllis’s author page here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Phyllis-Campbell/e/B001KC40ZI