Welcome to the first Writers on Wednesday of 2016. This week I am chatting with Violetta Armour, author of I Will Always be With You ...
I’m a first generation American. My parents immigrated from Bulgaria and Macedonia in the 20’s and I was born in Gary, Indiana, a steel town that attracted many immigrant families because work was available. There was every ethnic neighborhood you could imagine. I did not appreciate the rich culture I grew up in until I moved away from home and realized all communities were not so diverse.
What or who inspired you to write your book?
In 1999 I wanted to write a book with a pay-it-forward sort of theme. It was strictly a young adult book with a 16 year old hero, Teddy. I secured an agent but she couldn’t find a home for it. I think it was too sweet for the teen audience of the day. I put it in a drawer for 13 years and re-wrote it in 2013 adding adult characters. Ironically now when adults read it, they say every teen should read it. It has come full circle.
The biggest reward I have received is a connection with friends and acquaintances I have made through the years. Thanks to social media and my personal efforts to contact everyone I ever knew, they are reading the book and responding. It’s like the feeling you have at Christmas when you get newsletters from friends you haven’t seen in years.
One of the most memorable bit of feedback I got was from a lady who said she could not read the book right now because she had recently lost both her husband and daughter and the subject matter was too sensitive. She did however buy the book and a few months later I received an email saying the book was a great comfort to her and ….and thanked me for writing it.
What do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
What I hope readers will take away is a feeling of hope when life deals them a difficult blow. That we can control our destiny with a positive outlook which translates into our daily actions. It is also about how the love of family can help us heal and get thru difficult situations. The satisfaction of reading a good story. To paraphrase a quote from JD Salinger is “…when you’re done reading a book, you wish you could call the author on the phone whenever you feel like it.” I would hope my readers would feel that way.
What does being an author mean to you?
Being an author is the realization of something I have dreamed of for many years. I wish I had published sooner. It means I have a unique story to tell and share. I think everyone does. A feeling of pride and self-accomplishment.
What has been your biggest reward in publishing?
The biggest reward I have received as mentioned above is the connection with friends and their joy in my success. I didn’t think of this as such a big deal but everyone else seems to think it is quite the accomplishment.
Holding the book in my hands was a special moment. And another one was seeing it on a bookshelf in one of my favorite bookstores. I used to own a bookstore so that made it even more special. How did I celebrate the special moment. As I said, the book sale followed within 15 hours of receiving my book so that in itself was a day-long celebration. What made it even more special was that my 13-year old grandson, Kevin, was visiting and he sat at my book table and helped me with the technology—running a charge card through my IPhone—thank goodness. In between sales he continued to tell me how proud he was of me. It warmed my heart immensely and hopefully following my dream at age 74 will inspire all my children and grandchildren to have the courage to follow their dreams.
What’s next? I am working on the sequel but not as much as I should. Too busy marketing and enjoying this ride but I feel better if I write something each day. After the first of the year I will dedicate more time to writing. I wasn’t planning on a sequel but many readers are asking so I feel I should continue the story of this wonderful family I have created.
Ebooks or paper?
I prefer paper. I like the convenience of e-books on a Kindle when traveling. Can take so many. But there is nothing like holding a book. My love affair with books began when I won the summer library reading contest at age 9. I attribute that to a 4th grade teacher who put classics like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Little Women in my hands at an early age.
What is one book everyone should read?
Ah, so many to choose from. I would say The Little Prince by Antonine de Saint-Exupery. For children and adults.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers in Adelaide, Australia?
I hope someday I can visit your beautiful country and you in turn can visit our beautiful America. Til then, our books and stories are our universal link.