Sep 172014
 

WELCOME Sydney Avey

Sydney Avey

Sydney Avey is an author of historical and women’s fiction set in California. The Lyre and the Lambs is the sequel to her first novel, The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, which won an honorable mention from the Center for Basque Studies (University of Nevada, Reno) in their Basque Literary Contest. Both novels were published by HopeSprings Books, a small publishing house that promotes realistic Christian fiction.

Sydney and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her work is has appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley and has studied writing at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. She lives with her husband Joel the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

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Q&A with Sydney Avey

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Both. I write about the communications gaps between the generations. Members of different generations have different frames of reference. They struggle to understand and be understood in a family setting. I have experienced this in my own family. Current events help form frame of reference, so I research the “current” events in the time period I’m writing. For example, The Lyre and the Lambs is set in the Sixties, when President Kennedy’s assassination had a huge effect. I drew from my own experience of that event to show how society changed, partly as a result of having our sense of personal security threatened.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I always know how my story ends, but I never know how my characters arrive at their destination until we get there together. I begin by identifying critical plot points and outlining chapters and scenes. I tweak the outline as I go, expanding some sections, adding or deleting others. My Scrivener software makes it easy to see the story flow. The process is like starting with a rough sketch, then thickening some lines and shading for depth. Gradually, an image emerges.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I write in the morning, at my desk in the mountains or the desert. I set fingers to keyboard, rejoin my characters by reviewing the last scene, and then move with them into the next scene. Sometimes I come out of the story to research details that makes the setting jump to life. For example, what kind of equipment did the news crew that showed up on Lundy Lane use when they tried to ambush the Dolds? On site reporting was very new in the Sixties. How did the cameras and microphones work? I go down lots of rabbit holes like that! Readers don’t want an explanation of cabling technology, but knowing how it all fit together helped me write a funny scene where aggressive “reporter girl” gets tangled in a microphone cable plugged into a heavy camera shouldered by the camera man.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?

Writing is my full time occupation. I can’t really call it a job until I start making some money! I balance my writing life with nurturing family and friend relationships and participating in church and community life, but writing is the activity that takes priority.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

The writers who make my heart beat faster are those who use beautiful language and show a grasp of deeper truths, or those who give me a sense of place or the sweep of history. I love the classics. I like historical fiction, like Edward Rutherford’s books. I admire literary fiction, like John Updike’s stories. I enjoy women’s fiction writers who have a sense of humor and are kind to flawed characters, authors like Elizabeth Strout, Elizabeth Berg, and Anne Tyler.

What are you reading now?

I just finished Slugger, debut fiction by my former HP colleague David Price. His signature humor, depictions of heart wrenching struggles with addiction, and cutaways to drama on the baseball field were brilliant. Next up on my iPad Kindle App is Lady of Devices, A steampunk adventure novel, by Shelley Adina Bates. I’m looking to her for influence for a short story collection I am preparing, Pastor Jerry and Jesus at the Beanpunk Café.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

My third novel is about a young man with unrecognized genius who flees rural poverty for the West coast. Shadowed by the mother who abandoned him and a mentor who pursues him for decades, he will receive help from a young woman who, despite their brief attachment, will play a big role in his future on the national stage. On Edge (working title) explores the unlikely connections that make us who we are.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

A Hallmark TV movie or an Indie film, I hope. I’d love to see new faces should my novel ever reach the screen.

Manuscript/Notes: handwritten or keyboard?

My handwriting is illegible, but I touch type like the wind.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

I gave up hobbies when I took up novel writing. I like leisure activities that counteract all the sitting I do, yoga and exercise classes, walking on the beach or hiking in Yosemite. Also, activities that refresh my soul, movies and plays, singing, laughing with my husband, seeing God show up in daily life.

Favorite meal?

Organic, local fare, but mostly whatever I don’t have to prepare or clean up. The savory buckwheat crepes accompanied by hard cider, served in a petite Montmartre creperie using recipes that originate in Bretagne come to mind. Ooh la la!

About The Lyre and the Lambs

It’s the Sixties. Modernity and tradition clash as two newlywed couples set up house together. Dee and her daughter Valerie move with their husbands into a modern glass house Valerie built in a proudly rural Los Altos, California neighborhood. When their young relatives start showing up and moving in, the neighbors get suspicious. Then a body is found in the backyard and the life they are trying to build comes undone.

Father Mike is back to guide Dee through a difficult time with humor and grace, even as his own life is unraveling. Now he’s going to have to take some of his own advice about love.

The Lyre and the Lambs explores the passions that draw people together and the faith it takes to overcome trauma.

BOOK DETAILS:

Number of Pages:
Genre: Romantic Christian Fiction Suspense
Publisher: HopeSprings Books
Publication Date: September 3rd 2014
ISBN-13: 9781938708312

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I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
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