Interview with Sylvia L. Ramsey
My current book Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith, and Guts, is an inspirational memoir about perseverance and survival.
Tell us a little about yourself: I live in Georgia, but I grew up in a very rural area in Southeast Missouri. When I am writing or blogging, I work full-time at a two-year liberal arts college. I am a communications professor and the coordinator for the Academic Resource Center/Library. I am the advisor for our campuses newspaper, the GMC Journal. I am the vice president of the American Bladder Cancer Society, and a seventeen year survivor myself. I was a mother of two before I married my husband Tom, and now I have gained five more. Therefore, I am a mother of seven, grandmother of twenty-seven, and a great-grandmother of six. Something that people may be surprised to learn is that in the late sixties, I had my own Sunday night easy listening show on the radio. I was one of the first women DJ’s. I tell about this experience in my book, and how I got the job. It has some very funny moments as well as showing others that you never know what you can do unless you go for it and never give up. Perseverance is the key.
Tell us a little about your books: My newest book is a memoir, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts, was inspired by a young man that has some very serious heart problems, and all the people I have met over the years as a teacher, mentor and a bladder cancer survivor. I have tried my best to encourage them, and to give them hope and to not give up on themselves or life. As I have traveled along life’s highway, I keep running into people who have let the rocks that have been thrown in their life’s road giving up on themselves, or life in general. The truth is that life is harsh, and it is not like the movies that give a false impression that it is smooth sailing. Being the hero ‘who toughs it out’ and keeps on regardless of the situation is difficult, but with faith, it can be accomplished. It often takes a backbone, humor and a wishbone to survive it all.
Because of this, I decided to write a book to share my life’s experiences so that it may inspire someone to come back fighting when life knocks them down. The book is a journey though time from childhood to mature adulthood. The stories and poems in this book reflect the lows and highs of life. The loving memories, the hardships and the things we learn as we travel the road of life. It covers an abusive mother who had mental problems because of being abused as a child, childhood polio, a rocky marriage with a husband who was often abusive, the role of care giving, death and grief, coping with bladder cancer, asthma, losing a home and more. Therefore, to not to scare you off with gloom and doom, there are funny stories along the way and an ending that I never dreamed would happen. My hope is that the book will bring about understanding to others, and be inspiring to even more. Our journey in life has a purpose, finding it is often the most difficult task of all.
My writing and my books became a way for me to make a difference. My first book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World, is a walk through life. It is divided into four sections which are: Pulse Points of Youth, Pulse Points of Love, Pulse Points of Reality and Pulse Points of Wisdom. It was nominated for the 41st. Annual Georgia Author of the Year Award My novel.
An Underground Jewell is set in a possible near-future, and is about a female sleuth who must clear herself after being accused of espionage by hacking into the national computer system. What if all the western world’s information is eventually located in a central computer center, and a terrorist faction has infiltrated several of our government agencies? How much worse could it be? Just recently in the news, an illegal was discovered working at a nuclear power plant. This is a possible scenario, and I think you may find we have reason for concern. This espionage attempt goes much farther and deeper than the stealing of information. As Elizabeth tries to clear her name, many other mysteries are uncovered along the way.
My other book, Merchild Land, was inspired by my first granddaughter who insisted that I tell her numerous stories about mermaids. Merchild Land is a delightful children’s story that will keep both child and adult captivated with its lovely lyrical verse. This is a perfect bedtime story that will send you little one off to the land of mermaids, merchildren and all the wonders under the sea until evening. As the shadows fall, and it is time for bed the children dream of flying high above the mermaids’ ocean home, sailing the sky’s misty sea above the waves’ highest dome on a boat of golden sails, and silvery wings. They visit strange lands as they ride the waves of the Milky Way , talk to the man in the moon, and dine with kings sailing the whole night through.
Comment on your experiences in the Publishing Industry: My first book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World, was first published by a small press. Once the editor discovered what I was doing with the money earned from the book sales, the publishing rights were returned to me. From that point on, I have self-published. I have learned a lot about the publishing world in the last eight or so years, but I have a lot yet to learn. Marketing is the biggest learning curve, and so is establishing a platform. For the most part, I am satisfied. My books still sell and that makes me happy because each one that sells is helping someone.
Were there any authors who influenced you or helped?: I think my desire to write was influenced most by a man who was a news reporter for the Daily American Republic newspaper in a small town in Missouri when I was nine-years-old. He encouraged me to write and to submit articles to the newspaper. It was exciting when I wrote a feature article and got a by-line. I even got paid a small fee for those articles, and that was even more enticement to continue. His influence was the genesis for my desire to become a writer.
What advice would you give new authors?: Keep writing, get as much feedback as you can get. Write enough to find your own voice. Listen to the feedback you get, but do not lose your voice. It is sometimes like painting, you may paint 60 or even a 100 before you get a good one.
Best experience writing: I love getting involved with my writing regardless of the genre. In relation to poetry, it just comes…and…I have to write it down or I lose it. I have written on napkins in restaurants, paper sacks, you name it. The novel, An Underground Jewell, was interesting because the characters took over and led me to an ending that I had never planned. That was fun.
Worst experience when writing: I am not sure about that one. I have two books that I know of that I wish to write; however, I sometimes get frustrated because my writing time is limited. It is limited because I work a full-time job. I have even used a tape recorder while I drove to work and back to work on character development and plots.
Credentials/Experience: When I am not writing or blogging, I work full-time at a two-year liberal arts college. I love to paint and sculpt. I have some example of my work on my current book’s webpage that is the same name as my new book. My poetry has been published in over one-hundred literary magazines, and my short stories in several more. I have been published in academic journals as well. I am currently working on marketing my new book, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts. I interact with my peers on LinkedIn in various author and publishing groups, Facebook and Twitter.
Where are your books available: They are all available on Amazon’s various sites and other places as well. My newest book Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts, was released on February 29th. 2012.
My Authors’ Den Page: Authors’ Den, Sylvia L. Ramsey
To find out how you can participate go to Questionnaire for Authors under Writer’s Corner.