Friday, March 9, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Sylvia L. Ramsey

1) Describe your journey to becoming an author.
I began writing when I was nine-years-old because I was elected as the reporter for the 4-H Club.  We had a workshop for the reporters sponsored by the local newspaper, The Daily American Republic.  The news reporter for the pager was a Mr. Bob Roberts.  He encouraged me to write about events in our community and human interest stories.  By the time I was twelve, I was receiving about $20.00 a month for articles that I had written and submitted other that the club news.  In high school, I was on the school's newspaper staff, and in college at TRCC I was the News Editor.  That was only the beginning.  I wrote short stories, poetry and even wrote "scholarly" research articles that were published in professional journals.  Later, I began to write poetry and short stories.  Luckily, several of them were published.  This led to my first book, Pulse Points of a Woman's World, which was a book of poetry.  The next was an espionage novel, An Underground Jewell,  based on the use of language to control society. After that was the book Merchild Land that I wrote for my eldest granddaughter, Heather.  Finally, I have a new book coming out that is a memoir that focuses on survival of the rough spots that we find as we travel the road of life, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts.

2) Where do you find your inspiration to write?

We all have stories inside of us; it is a matter of getting them down on paper.  However, my inspiration is because of my experience with Stage 3 bladder cancer about seventeen-plus years-ago.  There was nothing out there information or support wise for me.  I decided to make a change in that situation for others.  I began a message board for women and bladder cancer.  I was asked by a publisher if they could publish a collection of my poetry.  I was thrilled.  After the book was published, I decided that it would make a good platform and a way to raise money to somehow help others find information and get the support that was not there for me. Since that time, the American Bladder Cancer Society was founded, and I give all the proceeds from all the book sales to help provide for others that was not there when I experienced my own battle.

3) Please tell us about your children’s book, Merchild Land.

The story behind this book is special.  My eldest granddaughter stayed with me, and attended the public school where I taught at the time.  She was in elementary and I taught high school.  It was a thirty-five mile drive to and from the school.  On the way to and from, she always wanted me to tell mermaid stories.  Later, I wrote a poem that was for her about "merchildren" and an adventure under the sea.  This poem evolved into the book because I wanted her to have something to pass on that related to that childhood memory.  I wanted her to have something she could read to her grandchildren at nap or bedtime and tell them that her grandmother wrote it for her. 

The synopsis of the book is:

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.

4) Describe how you chose your publisher.

I have decided that since I donate all the proceeds from the book sales to the American Bladder Cancer Society, that I would self-publish so they would receive as much as possible from the sales.  I check several places, and then I made a choice based on services and distribution. 

5) What other books have you written?

Pulse Points of a Woman's World - Nominated for the 41st. Georgia Writer of the Year Award.
An Underground Jewell - Near possible future/ espionage mystery.
Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts, an inspirational memoir. (To be released in a few days.) 

6) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?  

Word of mouth, book signings, internet such as Facebook, LinkedIn, blogging, email, online interviews. websites, reviews, and radio and television interviews.  I have many local people who come by where I work to pick up copies for gifts on holidays and special occasions.  I try to everything I can to get the word out about the reason for the books' existence, bladder cancer!

7) What are your upcoming plans for 2012?

Launching my newest book, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts. Launching my newest book, marketing all my books, and I plan to work on a biography of my father who served in WWI.  He was born in 1898, and I think his journey is worth telling. 

8) What is your definition of success as an author?

Having others want to read your writing.  Helping others by writing. 

9) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?

Keep writing, never give up on your dreams even when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.  Remember all the authors who were rejected, and then became successful.  A good example is Frank Baum.  He used the royalties from his Father Goose book to get the Emerald City published even when he was told that no one would be interested in a "classical" children's' story.  He wrote thirteen books in the series, and then...Disney produced the Wizard of Oz.  That was the story of Frank Baum.  He was a father and a traveling salesman who never gave up on a dream.


Author, professor of communication/s, coordinator of the Academic Resource Center at GMC-Augusta, adviser for the campus newspaper, the advisor for the GMC-Students for Bladder Cancer Awareness Group, and the V.P. of the American Bladder Cancer Society. (  Bladder cancer survivor, and patient advocate.  Most memorable public speaking event: Guest speaker for the White House Communications Agency's observance of  Women's History Month.  Favorite quote: Reba McIntire, "To survive it takes a backbone, a funnybone and a wishbone."
Want to know more about me? Check me out here:

Thoughtful Reflections Blog

Authors Website

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