It gives me great pleasure to share with you my seventh book published by Nurturing Faith (now known as Good Faith Media). Climbing Mountains is the intriguing memoir of Doctor Phyllis Miller’s remarkable rise from humble beginnings to becoming a leading OB-GYN doctor in Tennessee who still holds an esteemed place among her colleagues, patients and friends.
Climbing Mountains opens with the story of young Phyllis who, as a child, was keen on maneuvering her way out of trouble. While still a tyke Phyllis harbored the secret of one day wanting to become a doctor. Even though her dream seemed impossible to achieve Phyllis knew that dreams were free and mountains were made to be climbed. Would she reach her goal?
Prior to joining Phyllis three years ago to write her memoir I knew her only as one among many outstanding medical professionals in my First Baptist Church of Chattanooga Sunday school class. I also knew that she, like me, grew up where modern conveniences were nonexistent. In October of 2016, my knowledge base of Phyllis increased when she invited our class to a luncheon at her Polk County cabin, 25 miles from Chattanooga. As the event unfolded I found myself in a small group consisting of Phyllis and a few others. I seized the opportunity to explore with Phyllis a writing assignment, suggesting that a book about her early childhood would serve as a role model for today’s children reared in homes with few economic amenities. I was pleasantly surprised when she responded positively to my inquiry.
In my personal memoir, Tarnished Haloes, Open Hearts, I had the monumental task of looking inward, demanding deeply introspective answers of myself. With the vital support of Nurturing Faith’s Doctor John Pierce, we formatted a previously written manuscript into a more appealing format. Two of my historical fiction books, Behind Enemy Lines and Where the Rabbits Dance occurred during times of intense national unrest. I carefully chose my fictionalized protagonists and gave them tremendous individual problems to solve midst gigantic national upheavals of epic proportions. These books required endless research and visits to historical parks. The last three books I published, Trailblazer, Parts 1, 2, and 3, like Behind Enemy Lines and Where the Rabbits Dance, would not have materialized without the help of Laura Backes, editor of Children’s Book Insider. My protagonist in the Trailblazer trilogy, Doctor Noble Wimberly Jones, was a real person whose life spanned Georgia’s founding as a colony until it became one of our original 13 states. Writing Trailblazer was difficult because all of Doctor Jones’ personal records were consumed during a fire that left the tiny colony struggling to stay alive.
Dr. Miller at a delivery early in her esteemed career…
Writing Climbing Mountains, though, was different. For starters, my main source would be one person–Doctor Phyllis Miller. I began by emailing her a list of 15 questions and waiting for her reply. When she responded I was very disappointed. Too many of my questions came back with the answer, “I don’t remember!” Instead of giving up, which I seriously considered, I reworked my questions and little by little Phyllis began to remember tidbits of information that triggered my mind to probe deeper. Soon our emails were followed by endless telephone calls, conversations we had between Sunday school and church, visits by Phyllis to my apartment to compare our manuscripts, and taking a trip to her original home site in Polk County. Piecing together Phyllis’ scant childhood memories and turning them into lively escapades became, for me, a paramount challenge. At some point while writing the manuscript I ceased being me and became Phyllis. Together we began facing and conquering the barriers impeding her doctor dream. Climbing Mountains is now available. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.