Clearing in the Woods
by Phyllis M. Newman

About Clearing in the Woods

Clearing in the Woods
Women’s Psychological/Crime Fiction
Publisher: Independently published (October 31, 2019)
Paperback: 321 pages
ISBN-10: 1701629364
ISBN-13: 978-1701629363

Roberta escapes her humdrum middle-class existence and the persistent ache of her dead mother’s secrets by fleeing to Alaska. Having abandoned everything she’d spent her life building, Roberta remakes herself in another place, doing anything other than responding to the demands of her self-absorbed husband, her entitled kids, and her Pottery Barn home. Taking her first job since college, and a small room above a tourists’ shop, she contemplates new vistas. She never expected, however, to find romance in the form of a handsome federal agent involved in murder and mayhem.And it is murder and mayhem, and the discovery of other’s secrets, that causes Roberta to run for her life into the Alaskan wilderness…

About Phyllis M. Newman


Interview with the Author

What initially got you interested in writing?

I guess the most obvious answer is reading. All those wonderful tales that capture you, make you feel you are there, that put you in another place or in another frame of mind, those stories that make you feel so alive. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?


What genres do you write in?

I have written in 3 distinct genres: a noir mystery, a Gothic ghost story, and this women’s psychological mystery, Clearing in the Woods. I am currently writing a sequel to the noir mystery and another Gothic, this one a Southern Gothic fantasy. I like to experiment with different genres.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?

I just love writing the descriptions of creepy places, developing suspenseful scenes, and creating exotic people. I love the characters I get to create in gothics and murder mysteries. I think I can be my most creative when dreaming up characters engaged in dark deeds and with mysterious events in their past.


How did you break into the field?

I made cold submissions to small publishing houses. My first book, Kat’s Eye, was good enough for a publisher to ask to read the entire book, but they ultimately passed on publishing it. But the publisher liked my writing style and asked if I had anything else. They decided to take a chance on my Gothic ghost story, The Vanished Bride of Northfield House, and it has been a pretty steady seller.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

I want readers to be excited about the story, to be moved by the characters, to be charmed by turns of phrase, original metaphors, and the humor in my books. I want them to remember what they’ve read and be uplifted and empowered by my heroines.



What do you find most rewarding about writing?

That people actually read my books! What a thrill! It is also very satisfying to see them in the library and in bookstores. Fortunately, I don’t care about making money because so far, I haven’t made much, and I think you must have not only talent but enormous luck to make a living writing novels. That being said, I actually make enough to pay my utility bills each month, so that’s something.


What do you find most challenging about writing?

The arc of the story is challenging for me, to keep the pace and the plot moving in such a way that it is most satisfying to the reader. That is what I struggle with most. I can write real and engaging characters and satisfying scenes and good dialogue, but putting it all together in a plot that is fully satisfying is difficult. I work quite hard at that and I hope it shows.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

Write every day, even if it is only for 5 minutes. Carry a notebook (or use your phone) to write down words, phrases, or ideas that occur to you. Also, read books about writing, because ultimately writing is a craft, and you can learn to employ the craft that makes reading what you write a pleasure.


What type of books do you enjoy reading?

Mysteries, psychological women’s novels, women’s fiction, and anything Jane Austen or Edith Wharton.


Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I was a belly dancer in my youth (nobody wants to watch an adult tap dancer, after all.) I worked for years in a gay bar, which was a family business (my Aunt Doris opened the first out-of-the-closet gay bar in Columbus, Ohio.) Culminating a forty-year career, I was the Chief Financial Officer for the Arts & Sciences in the largest university in the Midwest. I was born in New Orleans, and lived in a trailer hitched to a Studebaker for the first few years until settling on a dairy farm in Ross County, Ohio, which I left for what was then the murder capital of the world, Dade Country, Florida.


What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?


You may contact/follow/like me at,  @phyllismnewman2, or Facebook


About the Author




Phyllis M. Newman is a native southerner. Born in New Orleans, she spent formative years in Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, and on a dairy farm in Ross County, Ohio. After a long career in finance and human resources at The Ohio State University, she turned her attention to writing fiction. She published a noir mystery, “Kat’s Eye” in 2015, a Gothic mystery, “The Vanished Bride of Northfield House” in 2018, and the suspense thriller “Clearing in the Woods” in 2019. Today she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three perpetually unimpressed cats, none of whom venture far from home.

Author Links

Website, Twitter @phyllismnewman2, Facebook

Purchase Link – Amazon


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