Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sydney Avey and Giveaway {Writer Wednesday}

Welcome to 2014 Thinking Thoughts readers! I'm so excited to be back to my regular {Writer Wednesday} posts. There are a range of new authors who will be interviewed and a few return visitors (don't worry, their interviews will be different from their previous ones).

Sydney is my first guest of the New Year and has offered an audio book download of her novel as a giveaway prize! Make sure and leave a comment for your chance to win this. I'll announce the winner next Tuesday. And - speaking of winners - check back tomorrow for the complete list of winners from my "Spread the Christmas Joy" giveaways :D

A little bit about Sydney...

Sydney Avey lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has studied at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Sydney blogs at on topics related to relationships, legacy, faith, and the writing life.

How to connect with Sydney...

Email: sydneyavey@gmail.comWebsite:
Sign up to receive my monthly eNews for Readers and Writers:
Facebook: https://www.facebook/sydney.avey
Purchase The Sheep Walker's Daughter [here]

Author Interview | Sydney Avey 

What has kept you writing?

Writing has always been fun for me, a gift that engages my heart and mind, delights my soul and gives me something to share. Since childhood I’ve been the go-to girl when anything needed to be written: meeting minutes, newspaper articles, and church drama script on top of a career in corporate communications.

As a university student I knew I wanted to be a creative writer but I couldn’t see a path. I didn’t think I knew enough about life to write about it and I needed gainful employment. I have plenty to say now, and the skills I learned in corporate communications have helped me with the discipline that completing and publishing a novel requires.

Early on, Natalie Goldberg’s books Writing Down the Bonesand Wild Mind , helped me experience the difference between news writing and creative writing, but it would be years before I tried my hand at a novel.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

It took me three years to write and publish The Sheep Walker’s Daughter. The sequel, The Lyre and the Lambs, will have taken two years when it’s published this September. For the first book, every single step was hard! Now that I’ve developed a process that works for me, writing the second book is easier.

It’s been a faith journey. I decided I wanted to publish traditionally with an independent publisher, one who liked my work well enough to invest in it. Lynellen Perry of HopeSprings Books has been a joy to work with. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been a joy.

My difficulty in publishing is that my work tends toward literary fiction. By choice I don’t have the safety of a genre that delivers an audience with very specific expectations. Finding my audience is probably the hardest thing for me about publishing.

My main character has no spiritual heritage. She is the product of an immigrant culture living an unexamined life in a changing world where she has been cut off from most of her family. Some readers raised in Christian homes may not be able to identify with Dee, but people who did not have this advantage will understand her struggle.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?

I processed my own family heritage by writing this book, but the story is purely imagined. My intention in the first book was twofold; to look at why families keep secrets about their heritage and examine what happens when the family narrative is lost. I am fascinated by how different generations communicate (or don’t) with each other. In the sequel, I look at how an extended family pulls together when they don’t have a model.

My intention is to show that faith begins with questions, not answers. Dee finds a mentor in Father Mike. He helps her get honest before God. As her faith grows slowly, her personality doesn’t change, but her heart changes. She will have a powerful effect on her family because she has learned to hear God’s voice.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

Writing and publishing is a hill climb; an exercise in faith and stamina. Face one hill at a time; be patient with yourself and celebrate your victories; then rest and prepare to climb the next hill. Marketing your book is more like hacking your way through mile-high weeds. Don’t try to tame the whole jungle! Choose the way you are most comfortable communicating with your readers and seek direction from God and a few wise mentors.

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2014?

Publishing my second book and attending the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference to learn more about the business of writing and how to connect with readers.

Thanks so much for this great interview Sydney! I appreciate that you are honest about the difficult road it is to publishing. Many writers (including myself) find that it's not just as easy as jotting down some words and ideas and getting that published. I hope that 2014 will be a fantastic year for you and your writing! Make sure to check out her book and leave a comment to win a free Audible download.

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