Interview historical and women’s fiction author with Sydney Avey

I have an interview today with Sydney Avey about her newest book, The Lyre and the Lambs. This 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.

Avey is an author of historical and women’s fiction set in California. Sydney
has a lifetime of experience writing news for nonprofits and corporations. Her
work 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.

Sydney at and sign up to receive her monthly News for Readers
and Writers.

Welcome, Sydney. Please
tell us about your current release.
Lyre and the Lambs
tells the story of a mother and a daughter,
both newlyweds, who decide to set up housekeeping together. Dee and Valerie
move with their husbands into a modern glass house Valerie built in a proudly
rural Los Altos, California neighborhood. When their 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.

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.

sequel to The Sheep Walker s
moves the family from the Fifties to the Sixties and explores the
passions that draw people together and the faith it takes to overcome trauma.

What readers are saying:
‘kids’ were all delightful, and refreshing. Loved the places in Los Altos I’m
familiar with also. And the Eichler house, how fun! Great read!

… not an in your face portrayal of the ideal Christian
family, but a realistic portrait of doing life, and the problems that crop up,
and how one solves them. 

Sydney Avey has a beautiful writing style that weaves
luscious imagery with emotion. 

is so believable and familiar that I am thoroughly hooked. I hope there is a
follow-on planned soon!! I want to grow old with Dee!!

inspired you to write this book?
inspired me to write this book! Although I left the door open for a sequel to The Sheep Walker’s Daughter, I wasn’t
committed to writing another book about the Moraga clan until readers started
asking to know what was in store for Dee, Valerie, and Father Mike.

Excerpt from The Lyre and the Lambs:
Valerie had fallen deeply in love with Ander Ibbara, a young
attorney she met when I deeded my Uncle Iban’s house in Bakersfield to her.
Valerie and Andy’s sister, Pilar, cooked up a plan to turn the house into a
Basque Cultural Center, and that’s when Valerie got her first taste of
organizing and managing something. She served on the Board of the Center,
commuting back and forth between Palo Alto and Bakersfield. That’s where Andy,
the community’s rising young politico, weekend cowboy and most eligible
bachelor, opened his arms to her. But Valerie and Andy could not come to terms
with where to live. Of course, it goes deeper than that. Where to live is really
not as difficult as how to live. Andy was firmly planted in the Central Valley.
He had a thriving law practice to manage and a horse ranch to play with.
Valerie was a Bay Area girl with a PhD in Spanish Literature, a publisher, a
university teaching contract, and property of her own to play with. Valerie let
Andy go. Freedom to live the life she chose seemed like a good trade-off until
the day she got word that Andy had married someone else.

My saddest day was when Valerie celebrated her thirtieth
birthday curled up in a fetal position on my bed in the Carmel duplex, Puffy
wedged up under her arm. After Gibert finished his hospital residency at the
San Francisco Medical Center, he promptly asked Valerie to be his wife.
“Mom, it would have been perfect if I could have said
yes,” Valerie sobbed and gulped air, trying to fit her words in between

“Why couldn’t you say yes?” I knew why, but I let
her tell me.

“We both could have had a career.” She calmed down,
sat up on the bed, and started down her list. “He loved the property in
Los Altos. We could have lived there.”

I lowered my chin, raised my eyes to look at her, and waited.

“But he cheated on me!”

There it was. What I was expecting.

“And, I want children and he doesn’t. Not American

Okay, that one I wasn’t expecting. I’d given up on ever
having grandchildren. I was very proud of 
Dr. Valerie Carter, Professor Valerie Carter, and novelist
Valerie Moraga Carter. I was amused by Valerie the land baron and neighborhood
irritant, but the day Valerie gave her engagement ring back to Andy, I put away
my dreams of ever hearing a child call my child Mommy.

That moment was not the time to suggest to Valerie that she
couldn’t have it all. She understood that she was up against a clock that can’t
be adjusted to fit ambitious agendas. She’d made her choices and now the pain
of emptiness overwhelmed her.

“Oh baby.” I sat down on the bed and gathered her
in my arms and we cried together.

What exciting story
are you working on next?
third novel tells the stories of a young man with unrecognized genius who flees
rural poverty for the California coast, the mother who abandoned him, the older
man with questionable motives who mentors him, and the young woman who helps
him find his purpose in life.

When did you first
consider yourself a writer?
my first poem was printed in the Palo Alto Times. I was in the third grade.

Do you write
full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than
write and how do you find time to write?
is my full-time occupation. When I decided to becomes a novelist, I cleared a
lot of volunteer work and social life off the deck, but I balance my writing
with time with family and friends and a few church and community commitments. I
like to write in two to four hour blocks of time in the morning, and then I
spend time on other writing-related activities such as blogging and reviewing
books. To feed my soul, I take yoga and aerobics classes, visit the Farmer’s
Market, see a movie or play with my husband, or head to the coast to visit my
kids and grandkids.

What would you say is
your interesting writing quirk?
have a habit of slipping off to write, like a kid stealing candy when no one is
watching. As I write this, I should be upstairs getting dressed to go see a
play with my daughter and my granddaughter!

As a child, what did
you want to be when you grew up?
thought I wanted to be a teacher. I did teach for a season: First grade to
migrant children, pre-school, Sunday school, English as a Second Language in
Germany, GED to soldiers, and now, writing seminars.

Anything additional
you want to share with the readers?
you, dear readers, for your passion for stories.

Sydney Avey Author on Facebook
@sydneyavey on Twitter

Thanks, Sydney!

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