For the Media

 

DOWNLOAD A FULL PRESS KIT HERE   |   presskit-PhyllisMSkoy | CONTACT THE AUTHOR HERE

 

In the spotlight

Phyllis M Skoy has been in the media lately, leading up to her signing at Bookworks.

ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL

Novel explores why awful things happen in a mostly good world

Up Front column by Ollie Reed, front page of Albuquerque Journal, Aug. 29,

2016

 

THE SANDOVAL SIGNPOST, the independent monthly newspaper serving Placitas, New Mexico

 

KUNM 89.9

Author Phyllis M Skoy appeared with Rabia Sahin Orhan on KUNM 89.9’s Women’s Focus with Carol Boss, August 2016

Join Phyllis M Skoy for a book signing and reading at 3 p.m. Sept. 25 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. NE

Phyllis Skoy flyer affinity (1)

 

 

 

 

 

Press release

RELEASED JUNE 2016

WHAT SURVIVES, A DEBUT NOVEL
FROM PHYLLIS M SKOY, OFFERS A WINDOW INTO TURBULENT TIMES

Gripping, beautifully told tale set in Turkey provides insight

into lives of contemporary women and into sweeping cultural changes

PLACITAS, New Mexico – From the first time Phyllis M Skoy set foot on Turkish soil in 1997, she knew she was living in a story.

In What Survives, her novel published June 2016 by IPBooks, Skoy debuts as a writer with a clear, compelling voice who can provide a window into turbulent times. Her book was shortlisted for the Santa Fe Writers Project, chosen from 500 submissions.

In the story of Adalet, whose life in a village on the Black Sea coast of Turkey is shattered after a massive earthquake, Skoy became fascinated with telling the struggle of women and the ways they support each other, no matter the culture.

“It really struck me on my first visit to Turkey how these women unite to bring their language, food and culture into the community,” says Skoy, who for most of her career has worked as a psychoanalyst. “It is the women who keep things running. It is the positive aspect of the harem philosophy.”

But she also was fascinated with why “we create magnificent cultures and then destroy them.”

Leading up to the publication of her book, Skoy drew a crowd of about 45 at Raindrop Foundation’s Turkish Coffee Night in March 2016. The evening of conversation focused on “The Role of Women in Peace-Building.”

Whether it’s in Albuquerque or in Turkey, Skoy hears from early audiences that they find the book culturally engaging, exotic and yet personally resonant. One Turkish reader asked her, “How do you know us so well?”

In What Survives, Skoy leads readers on a narrative through the eyes of Adalet Ulusoy, severely burned and facing the loss of her unborn child and the death of her parents after a massive earthquake. When her husband deserts her, his wealthy family sends Adalet to live in a pottery village, where she meets the formidable blind grandmother of a budding teenage artist, Meryem. Meryem and Adalet relocate to Istanbul, forging new lives against the constantly changing culture of Turkey.

The idea for What Survives landed in Skoy’s imagination after she learned of a Turkish woman’s car being defaced in a small Turkish village. “Why would someone splash paint on her car? Was it necessarily a destructive act, or could it go in another direction?”

Skoy’s fascination with Turkish culture through the story of What Survives came full circle with the culture that contemporary women in all countries face. “I believe that women always have to push against culture and society. As quickly as things change, they remain the same. … What can be seen as an initially naive Adalet is really a woman struggling to find her place in love and in work in a society (Turkish and Muslim) that is continually pressing against the edges, pushing forward only to pull back.”

A one-time song lyricist and a second-degree black belt, Skoy has been writing throughout her life. In 2013, she started submitting her work for publication. She was named Discovery of the Year by Bosque Press for her short story, “Life After.”

Skoy is working on a memoir, as well as Fatma, Daughter of the Prophet, which is a prequel to What Survives.

###

AVAILABLE FOR BOOK SIGNINGS AND INTERVIEWS

Phyllis M Skoy is available for book signings at bookstores, readings with literary groups and conversations about Turkish culture and contemporary women’s lives.

ABOUT PHYLLIS M SKOY

Phyllis M Skoy, author of What Survives, is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Placitas, New Mexico. What Survives was short-listed by the Santa Fe Writers Project, and Skoy was named Discovery of the Year by Bosque Press for her short story, “Life After.” Read her latest writing or keep up with author events at phyllismskoy.com/events or on her Facebook author page at facebook.com/phyllismskoy.

A QandA with the author
of ‘What Survives’

What do you believe is most culturally resonant in your book?

The struggle of women and how they support one another in every culture. It struck me on my first visit to Turkey how these women unite to bring their language, food and culture into the community. These are strong, educated women, some with several young children. We don’t really know the men except through the women. It is the women who keep things running. It is the positive aspect of the harem philosophy. The other thing I attempt to do is to illustrate that we are more alike than we are different. We create magnificent cultures and then destroy them, like a child spending hours with building blocks, only to knock them over again. It is what my character Mark calls “the human stupid.”

In what specific ways have early audiences engaged with it?

They find it culturally interesting, exotic, and they feel a strong connection to Adalet and her personal struggle. One of my Turkish readers asked me, “How do you know us so well?” I am observant of human behavior through the nature of my work, and I am struck by the character of some of the Turkish women I have been privileged to know.

How did the idea begin for your book?

The idea came from an incident a Turkish woman related to me about her car being defaced in a Turkish village.

What intrigued you? What question could you not get answered right away and decided to pursue?

Why would someone splash paint on her car? Why would someone destroy her property? Was it necessarily a destructive act or could it go in an entirely different direction?

What most surprised you as you continued to write?

Meryem. In the short story, she was a young, deaf girl. Suddenly she emerges as a budding teenage artist. I was also surprised by some of Adalet’s responses to Mark as she battles with her own history of betrayal.

What is your writing routine?

It varies. When I am on a particular project and it is going, I write every day that I am at home. However, since I am still working part time, it cannot be every day.

Where do you get your ideas? What keeps you inspired?

Reading and research, brainstorming with my writing coach, walks with my dog, the shower and driving. I also love writing workshops when they’re good.

What is the supreme challenge of writing? Ultimately, do you find that rewarding?

It’s an extremely antisocial form of expression, but I do cherish my isolation and it is self-inflicted. But I love people, too, so it’s a balancing act.

Your book explores some themes that could be called feminist. How do you see the time, setting and storyline contributing to a conversation about what it means to be a woman living today, no matter where you are in the world?

I believe that women always have to push against culture and society. As quickly as things change, they remain the same. In this country, we continue to fight about abortion and equal pay. What can be seen as an initially naive Adalet is really a woman struggling to find her place in love and in work in a society (Turkish and Muslim) that is continually pressing against the edges, pushing forward only to pull back.

Your publisher has been very attentive and supportive to you. What kind of difference does that make for you, as a first-time published writer?

Yes, I would say they have, especially after hearing many nightmare stories from colleagues, as well as the positive ones. I have felt included in every part of the process. How would it feel to give birth to a baby and have someone immediately take her away and return her to you five years later? They have consulted with me on everything and gone out of their way to make it a book I can own and be proud of.

What advice do you have for other writers who are stirred to write a story? How can they begin? How can they begin to finish it?

This is a hard question.  I would say to get the story down. Just tell the story. If you are obsessive compulsive, as many of us tend to be, you can spend days on a single sentence. That’s where the ongoing revision comes in. If anyone looked at all the dates and revisions on my computer, they might never write a word. Now I don’t do as I say. I get a kernel, like the painting of the car, and it grows until it becomes a story. I don’t always know what is going to happen until it does.

 

Share This
pmskoy_logo_BLUEwMosaic

Subscribe ToMy Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates about book talks and other literary events.

You have Successfully Subscribed!