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Interview with the Author
Who designed your book covers?
The basic ideas are mine and my husband’s. I wanted a partially obstructed view of a woman to indicate some kind of internal and external struggles, wanted the dominant color to be blue and the type font san serif and white. We went through a couple of cover designers before getting the perfect one that I absolutely love.
What did you edit out of this book?
As mentioned, I cannibalized some earlier work, including an almost finished novel, as I was looking for the main character and the plot. I had an idea for the ending of the almost finished novel, and as I was getting closer to the end, I thought the book really didn’t add much to the conversation. That is, I thought others might be saying the same thing by that time. What that might indicate is that when I started, the idea seemed original but I started seeing books that sounded too similar. I can’t think of anything that’s like “Sylvie Denied.” The funny thing about this is that bookstores and marketers want to know the genre so they can figure out where to shelve it and how to sell it.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
I’m especially pleased with the ending. Part of the editing of the book involved playing with the sequence – determining what was the storyline and what was the backstory. Initially I brought together some short stories and then identified a main character and a plot. The ideas I wanted to express were all there, but I hadn’t yet figured out how to say it. I shouldn’t talk too much about the ending but will say that if you skip ahead and read it, it probably won’t make sense, so don’t do that!
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned plenty – about myself and about how to write and market a novel. I was fortunate to have been in a writers’ group. Until Covid, I met every Monday evening for at least three years primarily with one other woman, though others would come and go. I think she and I complemented each other, though our styles, perspectives and genres are different. We saw things in each other’s writing that needed to be strengthened, changed or even deleted. I treasure those times and am grateful for that support.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Warning: there are a few incidents that may trigger negative reactions in sensitive readers.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved creating the world and populating it with characters who could animate issues that are important to me.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Sylvie is driven to find out the truth about what’s going on in the world. She thinks adults aren’t seeing the reality in front of them and consequently feels that she needs to do it all on her own. She thinks she’ll be able to uncover wisdom by getting as close to the earth as possible, and by learning about oral traditions of people’s interactions with natural elements. Her quest is a spiritual one.
Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Deborah Clark Vance has lived throughout the US and in Italy. While raising her children, she earned a living by teaching piano lessons, selling her original artwork, editing a health journal, translating Italian, writing freelance articles and textbook chapters, working on a children’s educational TV series, teaching in a day treatment program for adults with mental and emotional illnesses, creating garden designs and teaching as a college adjunct. After completing a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture at Howard University, she taught and served as Chair of the Department of Communication & Cinema at McDaniel College in Maryland. Although she also contributed articles and chapters to academic publications, those only earned her a modicum of prestige rather than income. She’s keenly interested in the natural world as well as in social justice, spirituality and women’s issues. “Sylvie Denied” is her debut novel.