Cherokee author releases book, working on 2 others

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
11/07/2017 08:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
“It’s Not That Hard To...” is a new book by Cherokee author Faith Phillips. It is a compilation of personal essays she has written for years. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee author Faith Phillips has published a new book published titled “It’s Not That Hard To...” and is preparing to release two more books. COURTESY
PROCTOR, Okla. – Cherokee author Faith Phillips has published a new book and is working on two others that will be released soon.

Her new self-published essay book titled “It’s Not That Hard To...” was available in 2016 as a Kindle device download. She said she wanted to get the book into print quickly but decided to wait even after an outside publishing house wanted to publish the book. She said she didn’t go with the publishing house because it would have been a lengthy process, and she wanted to get the paperback book out as soon as possible.

“The book is really (a) compilation of essays that I’ve been writing over my own life for a long time, since I was probably in my 20s. I’ve always kept journal books. At the time I wasn’t thinking of writing an essay. I would just write. I ended up having maybe 50 of these composition books just filled with writing,” she said.

She said she intended to be a fiction writer, and she published her first fiction novel “Ezekiel’s Wheels” in 2014. For that novel, she drew from her experiences of growing up in Adair and Cherokee counties with her Cherokee family. For a twist, she added the legend of the floating “Hornet Spook-light” reportedly seen in northeastern Oklahoma for decades.

Phillips said her best friend told her people were more drawn to her “true-life essays” than her fiction stories. “Which was kind of hurtful because I really consider the fiction art, and the non-fiction essays come to me so easy that it doesn’t feel like work. To me, at a certain point, I needed to have to feel like I was working to make fiction.”

She said she had personal essays she could compile and publish but was devoting her time to writing her second fiction novel when she had her “heart broken” after a “horrible relationship experience.”

“When it happened, it coincided with a lot of things that were also going on in my life, and I just felt knocked off my feet like I’d never felt before at a time when I expected to feel more stable than I’d ever been,” she said. “So I went back and started reading through some of these journals, and I thought, ‘maybe somebody could relate to them.’”

She began gathering essays starting with funny ones because she “was in a bad place” and wanted to get her mind off of her “misery.” She also found essays about insecurity and tragedy. She included about 10 percent of her essays for the book.

“These are the ones that I felt like still resonated with me years after the event had already happened, and that’s usually my test and it usually proves true. If I read something that makes me feel sad or makes me laugh or I feel entertained I want to hear more, and that usually happens in the reader too, I’ve found,” she said. “I probably will do another essay collection later, but in the meantime I have two other books that are brewing.”

She said that neither of the two books she is writing is a follow-up to “Ezekiel’s Wheels,” but said, at 39, if “she lives long enough” there will probably be a follow-up.

Her next book will be out by Christmas and is a true crime novel based on murders that happened in Oklahoma.

“I’ve really kind of lucked out to have access to people directly involved in the investigations and people close to the murder victims. It’s really an intriguing story that happened in Okemah not long ago,” she said. “When I was growing up...I was always intrigued by true crime novels. I read all of the true crime novels I could get my hands on.”

Without divulging the storyline, she said he plans to release her next fiction novel in the spring after carrying around its draft for two years.

“I haven’t polished it to the point where I feel comfortable releasing it yet. I kind of feel like it’s my masterpiece, so therefore I’m a little scared to let it go,” she said. “I know it’s an amazing story, and if I do it justice then it will be an amazing book as well.”

When she is writing, Phillips said, it’s a time in her life when she doesn’t worry and she’s not stressed.

“If I’m writing I am in a completely fulfilled place. That’s my work and that’s what I feel like I’ve been put here to do...whether it’s fiction or non-fiction or some stupid post on Facebook.”

Phillips said she was also set to go on a book tour, which included the Cherokee Heritage Center during the Cherokee National Holiday. For more information about the tour, email fthphillips@gmail.com.
About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He e ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He e ...

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