Phillis T. Forrest, a native of Detroit MI has raised two daughters and has three grandchildren. Once a hairstylist in Oak Park MI, Phillis now resides in Nashville, Tennessee, pursuing her new passions as an author. Through a Child's Eyes is her first self-published book. Her objective is to educate and bring awareness to society about child sexual predators that anyone raising a child may unintentionally bring into their lives.
About “Through a Child’s Eyes”
Stephan watched in front of the school as the young mother kissed her four children goodbye. Sophia was oblivious to his plotting and scheming to become a part of her existence. Every day he found ways to make contact with her. A seemingly accidental meeting got them on speaking terms and consistently crossing paths made it feel natural to stop and have a chat for a moment.
Feeling confident that he had established a rapport with the young mother, he blatantly followed her home one day. Sophia noticed him, stopped and playfully teased him about following her. He continued to walk her home as they joked about him being a stalker.
My name is Toni, and I was seven years old the day my mother invited Stephan into our home. It was the beginning of my nightmare. Through my eyes, I want to bring to your attention a man that watched, stalked and preyed on my family and many other families. It was his intentions all along to violate the sanctity of our family for his own self-gratification.
After you have read my story, you will grab your children and cover them with a blanket of protection because just when you thought he was a part of a childish fairytale, you find out the boogey man does exist.
DP: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
Phillis: I always knew that I would write this book when I came out of my 14 year nightmare. At that time I lacked the maturity and life experience to pen a book to this capacity. In 2012 when my life became a lot calmer, I found the serenity to put my life on paper.
DP: How did you decide on the idea for your first book?
Phillis: I went through a 14 year nightmare. At the age of 7 a sexual predator came into my life as a friend, uncle and a god send for my mother. I always knew I would tell this story but when I finally sat down to write it I hesitated because I didn't want to tell the typical sexual abuse story that I felt so many had. Constantly feeling that it was my destiny to pen this story, I realized that I had obtained a level of information that I could share with society. I realized I saw his manipulation so clearly and was able to express what a child is feeling in this situation. I also became aware of all the rules and guidelines that should have been followed that would have protected me, and I was able to pen those as well. At that time I came up with idea to pen my 14 year nightmare and incorporate structured rules and guidelines to protect our children from child sexual predators. I decided to write my book as a lesson and then came about “Through a Child’s Eyes.”
DP: How long did it take you to write your first book?
Phillis: I started on my book November 26, 2011 and finished it at the end of January 2012
DP: Did you self-publish or are you signed to a publishing company?
Phillis: I chose to self-publish my book because I told it with raw imagery and a “no holds bar mentality.” I didn’t want a publishing company to change my book to something “matter of factly” or passively common. I felt it was time for “us” as a society to stop sweeping this heinous crime under the rug, so I snatched off the rose colored glasses!
DP: How did you decide on the cover for your most recent book?
Phillis: Once my oldest sister who is a photographer came to visit me from Boston. She is always snapping pictures of everyone. When she got back home she sent me copies of all the pictures she took of my grandson and instantly when I saw the picture, I decided right then and there that was my cover for my book even though I didn't write the book for another 6 years.
DP: Tell us about your writing style. Do you write on a schedule?
Phillis: No I don't write on a schedule. I write more on how passionate I feel about the task or idea at the moment for as long as the intensity last. Sometime that feeling causes me to write through the night, every day, all day.
DP: What makes your writing unique?
Phillis: I had my book edited for the second time by an English professor, and she told me that my writing style was unique because I wrote with great imagery and that even she couldn't write that way. At the time I didn't understand the importance of her comment until my book started selling and I got rave reviews on how the readers felt like a fly on the wall - how they went through every emotion and the book ran through their mind like a movie.
DP: As a writer, what motivates you?
Phillis: I want to reach out to the mothers, talk to them and shake them awake. I want them to accept and deal with the fact that these kinds of crimes exist. I want single mothers to understand that they are the most vulnerable. It’s very easy for a single mother to be targeted because she has so many titles for a man to occupy. A father figure she never had, a companion, or even a male role model for her fatherless child. I want mothers to assume the responsibility of protecting their children and realize that dating, hanging out, etc is secondary. My book is to educate and bring awareness.
DP: How do you balance your writing and various responsibilities that come along with being an independent author?
Phillis: My life is very open now that my kids are grown and my only responsibility is me. So I am free and so is my time.
DP: When you’re not writing what are you doing?
Phillis: I work 4 days on 3 days off. I work out 5 days a week and spend a lot of time with my grandbabies. Reading is also one of my favorite pastimes.
DP: What’s a typical day life for you?
Phillis: My day usually starts by taking my grandchildren to school. Then, I spend a lot of time on my computer tweeting, blogging, facebooking, and looking up information on how to get published, seeking literary agents and finding ways to bring more exposure to my book. My work schedule is 6:30 am to 5 pm.
DP: Tell us about your last book signing.
Phillis: I had my last book signing at my 30 year class reunion in September 2012. I had my individual table with my pictures advertised throughout the room and an introduction in the class reunion newsletter. I was introduced at the beginning of my book signing and allowed a 10 minute speech. I started with 90 books and left with 7.
DP: Do you have contests or giveaways?
Phillis: I had a book giveaway/Q&A when I reached my 1st 100 like at the introduction of my book on my author's page.
DP: Many independent authors find it hard to get readers to buy their books. How did you handle the challenges that come along with being a first-time author in a competitive and ever-changing market?
Phillis: At the time I finished my book I was a hairstylist in Detroit, MI and that was my platform. I passed out flyers of my blurb with contact information and how to get my book. When my book 1st came out it was sold as an ebook and was downloaded by clients. When my book came out in print I had plenty of orders and every client bought a book, even clients of the other 4 stylist that was there. By word of mouth I had clients that came back and purchased as much as 10 books at a time. I posted an advertisement of my book on facebook and started an author's page. I used social networking to advertise as well as my own website. I constantly passed out flyer s everywhere I went.
DP: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming author, what would it be?
Phillis: Believe in yourself and stand firmly by your work and whatever your plan was when you started writing your boo;, be positive and never give up.
DP: Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Phillis: My book can be purchased through amazon.com via e-reader or printed copy at Barnes & Noble, and on my website (for an autograph copy) www.throughachildseyes290611.com