Author Spotlight: Sydney Avey

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Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight giveaway of Plain Peace is Valerie Monschien Laux! Please email info@suzannewoodsfisher.com with your mailing address to claim your prize.

This week we are featuring Sydney Avey! To enter to win a signed copy of her book, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter (HopeSprings Books),  leave a comment on this post .

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Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’m married to Joel Avey, an aviation enthusiast, and we have two grown children and two growing grandchildren. My husband and I divide our time between the dramatic landscapes of the Yosemite Gateway in California and the Sonoran desert in Arizona.

Happily, writing is now my full-time occupation. Before becoming a novelist, I worked in communications at Hewlett-Packard.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest…

I call my writing literary fiction with a plot. I categorize my work as women’s fiction and historical fiction. I’m a bit of a writing gypsy. I also write poetry, short stories, and young adult/new adult on a variety of themes.

My journey from daughter and granddaughter to mother and grandmother and finally family matriarch has equipped me with an endless supply of stories. My own story is not unique; a family secret about my heritage; curiosity about family legends; dismay over past events. I explore the mysteries of faith, family relationships, and the interplay between the generations in my writing in the hope that some of my own aha moments will help others on their faith journey.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

My first poem was published in the Palo Alto Times when I was in the third grade. I’ve been writing ever since. I’ve been the newsletter editor of more endeavors than I can remember. Creative writing was my dream, but I didn’t feel free to pursue it until I had raised my children and buried my parents. Then I had a serious conversation with my husband and embarked on this new career.

After you started writing seriously–how long was it before you were published?

Blessedly, it took only three years. I played with a novel, set it aside and then got serious. NanoWriMo 2010 was my come-to-Jesus moment. I told myself, “If you can’t do this, then you need to give up the dream.” I drafted The Sheep Walker’s Daughter and then learned the process of bringing a novel to publication. I was thrilled when I got the email from HopeSprings Books with the words I’d been waiting to hear: We love your story and we want to offer you a book contract!

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

A good process gets me going each morning. At the beginning of a new project, I use story boards and templates to sketch characters and outline plots. Drafting my manuscripts in Scrivener helps me work scene by scene. Reading is my inspiration; I read a short story a day. Blogging is my warm up and writing practice. But balance is essential. I dry up if I don’t spend time with my family and friends and take in the beauty of God’s world in a variety of excursions. I love to travel and visit art museums.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Striking the right balance between learning and practicing the craft has been immensely helpful. I try to attend conferences and seminars that focus on developing as a writer and some that focus on the business of writing. I realized a dream in 2013 when I spent a week at the Iowa Summer Writers Festival. Being part of the Sonora Writers Group and attending the Golden Gate ACFW group when I can is always inspiring. I suppose the biggest boost I’ve gotten is from generous teachers, writers and editors who share what they know.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

I knew living a “writer’s life” would involve a major life style change. That is the discussion I had with my husband, who has been a solid supporter. We reduced our social life and he started making his own sandwiches! I took a hard look at everything I was involved with and asked God to show me the point at which I could step away feeling that I had fulfilled my commitments. He did that. I also told my friends about the changes I was making.

I’ve always been pretty disciplined, goal oriented, and deadline driven. For me, that is a major chunk of a writer’s life. But there is a spiritual component as well. I’m learning to trust God daily for each new situation. Every writer’s path is different, it seems. I never expected I would have a publisher before I had an agent so for now, God is my agent. He’s doing a great job!

What are your biggest distractions?

Well marketing and social media, of course; all the “must-dos.” Choosing a few activities to focus on and do well seems to be the way to go, but every time I choose not to do something, two more opportunities present themselves. There are some very interesting rabbit holes in the publishing landscape, but they can lead you nowhere slowly!

If you could cook one meal for us, what would it be?

I’m sorry, I gave up cooking, but I know of some great bistros where I’d love to take you.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

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I cringe inside when people associate the words “writer” and “famous.” Most writers aren’t famous, and that’s not my aspiration. What I like most is when someone says they loved my book and identified with the characters or found something inspiring in the story.

What is the role and importance of an agent?

I don’t have an agent yet. I would expect that an agent would help shape my career and push me be a better writer.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

Dee’s difficult and secretive mother refuses to tell her the identity of her father and his people. After Leora dies, strangers start stepping forward with pieces of the story. In fact, everyone seems to know the story except Dee. The Sheep Walker’s Daughter asks the question, does knowing your family heritage matter?

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

The Sheep Walker’s Daughter by Sydney Avey.

The sequel, The Lyre and the Lambs, is scheduled for release in September 2014.

You can connect with me a number of ways:
Email
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Pinterest

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Good news! The following books are on sale during the month of December:

You can get The Choice for FREE from Nook, Kindle, and CBD from now until December 31!

The Lesson is $3.99 for Kindle until December 22. 

And A Lancaster County Christmas is just $6.99 until December 31st from KindleNookor CBD.

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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Kathleen Berman says:

    It is an interesting question as to whether knowing one’s heritage matters. It can have a yes and a no answer. Thanks for entering me in the contest to win a copy of your book.

  2. Andrea Sgroi says:

    I would love a chance to win The Sheep Walker’s Daughter. It sounds like a story that so many families face these days. Thanks

  3. alison damiano says:

    Thank you for this chance to win…

  4. Debbie Spinelli says:

    Please enter me in this contest. I would love to win.

  5. Teresa Sgroi says:

    This book sounds intrieging. I would love to win. Thanks

  6. felecia says:

    Looks like a great read.

  7. Please enter me also. Interesting story line!

    Doreen

  8. Joanne Vanderheite says:

    Would love the chance to win your book. Please enter me. Thank You

  9. Linda Landreth says:

    Oh, please enter me too! Merry Christmas!

  10. Penny McGuire says:

    Would love the opportunity to read and find a new writer!

  11. Melanie S says:

    This sounds like an excellent book! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Please enter me to win a copy.

  12. Regina Lee says:

    I really envy you your ability to write. I would live to be able to do it myself.

  13. Diane says:

    Would like to win this book. I would donate it to the local library as they have a very small budget.

  14. Marlene McDermeit says:

    I am married, with four grown children, enjoying a new chapter in our marriage.

  15. sharon says:

    Lovely. Thanks for this feature.

  16. Connie Ross says:

    Thanks for a chance to win

  17. Donna B says:

    I think this would be a very interesting book. I would love to read it.

  18. Sydney Avey says:

    Thank you all for your interest in The Sheep Walker’s Daughter. And thank you Suzanne for featuring me today on your beautiful blog. I’m off to a Friends of the Groveland library Christmas luncheon today to celebrate with some of my favorite people–readers like you!

  19. Renee says:

    Thank you for this opportunity; seems like a very interesting read!

  20. Bonnie says:

    Hi, Sydney!

    Enjoyed your interview, & learning more about you, your books, & your writing ! I love the story line of “The Sheep Walker’s Daughter”, & would love to read it. I love novels featuring deep relationship issues. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  21. Thank for your introducing Sydney Avey. It’s amazing that she had her first poem published while in the third grade!! Her book “The Sheep Walker’s Daughter” looks like it would be a great read and I would love to win this. Thank you for this chance.

    JudyF

  22. Connie Saunders says:

    Sounds wonderful! Thanks for this chance to win!!

  23. Jackie Tessnair says:

    Would love to win and read this book.Thanks for the chance.

  24. angela chesnut says:

    I would love to win.

  25. My husband recently retired, and 2 darling bichons share our household. We have 2 grown daughters and a son. I started writing as a child. It helps me focus.
    What a great opportunity to win a book! Thanks!
    Sharon

  26. Thanks, Sydney, for sharing your story with my readers! Looking forward to reading your book. Love the cover! Warmly, Suzanne

  27. Lisa Stifler says:

    I would love a chance to win. This sounds like a book worth reading. It was nice be introduced to a new writer to me!

  28. Love to read

  29. Judy B says:

    This book sounds so good. I would love to win a copy of it! I loved Sydney’s answers to your questions Suzanne. It was so cool to read that for now God is her agent. I am looking forward to reading this book and her sequel, The Lyre and the Lambs, releasing in September 2014.

    Blessings!
    Judy B

  30. Hello Sydney. Nice to meet a new, to me author. I love, love the cover and title of your book. Betting it will be good. Please put my name in the drawing Suzanne. Would love to win. MAXIE

  31. Shelia Hall says:

    great interview! Love to win!

  32. Dana Spille says:

    Knowing one’s heritage matters to me .I want to know everything I can about where my family came from so I can pass the information to my children .Love to win .Blessings DanaGirl

  33. Connie Hendryx says:

    What a nice interview! Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  34. Sharon says:

    Thank you! I would love to win!!

  35. Sharyl B. says:

    I would love to read your book. Thanks for sharing with us.

  36. Angie Carroll says:

    It sounds like a good book!

  37. Dana Delaney says:

    She sounds like a neat author…with a balanced life. Hmm, sounds a bit like you!

  38. Sharon says:

    Whoo hoo!!

  39. Lisa Cowell says:

    Please enter me to win a copy. Thank you!

  40. Ola Norman says:

    Great interview and the story sounds intriguing! I’ll have to read it.

  41. Judy Coooper says:

    Enjoyed the interview. Thank you for the chance to enter.

  42. sharon miller says:

    Sounds good and educate me on finding my heritage. Love to win it. sharon, ca

  43. Susan Fletcher says:

    Thanks for the chance to win this book.

  44. Linda Dietz says:

    Thank you for the introduction, Suzzane! It’s always great to meet new authors! I will look forward to reading this book.

  45. Nancy King says:

    Sounds like a good read! If I don’t win, I’ll look for it at the library.

  46. Sydney Avey says:

    I can’t tell you all how heartening it is to scroll through your comments. Connecting with readers isn’t always easy, but Suzanne has given me a generous introduction and your enthusiasm for my story is such a gift. Hoping you all will connect with me in some way (email or Facebook) so I can learn more about your interests.

    Christmas blessings to all!

    Sydney

  47. Vickie Jameson says:

    It’s so nice to get to know the authors through this question and answer format. I’d love to win a copy of the book. I’m always on the lookout for new authors to add to my list. Thank you!

  48. Ruth Swartz says:

    please enter me in your contest,would love to win,thank

  49. Christine says:

    Please enter me, this sounds like a good read!

  50. Elizabeth Campbell says:

    I would love to win a copy

  51. Linda Landreth says:

    I would love to win and read The Sheep Walker’s Daughter! Thank you!

  52. Sue Tobias says:

    Excited to read your first novel

  53. Linda Kish says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book. It sounds terrific!

  54. Thank you for the opportunity to win a book

  55. Andrea Woodard says:

    thank you for this chance to win.

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