Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - About the Author
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor was born January 4, 1933, in Anderson, Indiana, to a strongly religious family with conservative, midwestern values. Because her father was a traveling salesman, Naylor moved frequently and considered no one place "home." During the summers, her family vacationed either in Iowa, where her mother's parents lived, or in Maryland, where her father's parents lived. Her paternal grandfather was a church pastor and her grandmother a midwife. Therefore, during her visits to Marbury, Maryland, she came into contact with many people and had a lively time.
Though she grew up during the Depression and her family did not have a lot of money, Naylor stated that she never felt poor because her family owned good books. Her parents enjoyed reading stories to the children--her father would imitate the characters in Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer--and her mother read to them every evening, "almost until we were old enough to go out on dates, though we never would have admitted this to anyone."
When Naylor was sixteen she began writing stories and poems for a church paper at the invitation of a former Sunday school teacher. Encouraged, she decided to sell short stories to widely read magazines. In 1951, at the age of eighteen, she got married, and after graduating from Joliet Junior College, she moved with her husband to Chicago. This marriage ended in divorce and in May, 1960 she married Rex Naylor, a speech pathologist.
Naylor returned to school to become a clinical psychologist, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology from American University. She knew she wanted to be a full-time writer, however, and thus did not pursue graduate study. Instead she began a family and wrote a column about family life that was published in church magazines. She also began a column for teenagers that would continue for twenty-five years. In 1965 she published her first book, a short story collection called The Galloping Goat and Other Stories.
Naylor has had over 80 books published for children and young people and four books for adults. Her children's book, Shiloh, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1992 and was also named a Notable Children's Book by the American Library Association and a Young Adult Choice by the International Reading Association. She has subsequently written Shiloh Season and Saving Shiloh to complete the trilogy. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and two cats. Their sons, Jeffrey and Michael, are grown. Mrs. Naylor enjoys going to the ocean, hiking, and riding a bicycle. She also likes to go to the theater, to sing, and to sample new restaurants. But most of all, she loves to write, so that's what she does most of the time.
-- taken from Something About the Author, How I Came to Be a Writer,
and publicity material from Simon & Schuster