An Interview with Sylvia L. Ramsey: Author, Freelance Writer & College Professor
Sylvia: Hi Sylvia, it is such a pleasure to interview you. I know how busy you are so thank you for your time. Please give our readers a brief introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Sylvia the Author: Hello, my name is Sylvia L. Ramsey. 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. 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.
Sylvia: Congratulations on your upcoming book and a big salute for winning the battle against cancer! What inspired you to write your first book?
Sylvia the Author: My first book to be published was a collection of my poetry. I was participating in an open mike event at a college. One of the guests was a small publisher. After the event, the publisher asked me if I had more poetry, and if so, could she read some. I gave her about fifteen of my poems to read, later she asked me if I had enough to publish a collection of the poems. That is the genesis of my first book, Pulse Points of a Woman’s World.
Sylvia the Author: My current book, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts, is about survival, faith and perseverance. It is my personal memoir, and it 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; 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 that tough 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.
Sylvia: You are special to encourage others to be hopeful in a seemingly hopeless situation. Life is tough… but with faith, you will always persevere. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Sylvia the Author: I think the theme of my latest book says it all, keep trying and keep writing. Find your voice and tell your stories.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Sylvia the Author: I have several websites (one is at Authors’ Den), two blogs, an Amazon Author Central page, a Facebook page, I do book signings, I get interviews when I can, and I am a public speaker. I speak on a variety of topics other than my books. Recently, one of these friends is Julie Weishaar and she has volunteered to help me with marketing. We discovered that we have a lot in common. Her mother is a bladder cancer survivor. She created a beautiful book trailer for me, and it is on YouTube, my blog and will soon be on all my various pages. In addition, I can use it in a video email that she created.
Sylvia: Why should we buy your book?
Sylvia the Author: That may be better said by the person who helped me throughout the process of writing this book. He is an internationally published author, and is a college professor.
“Taking the rocky road with Sylvia is a joyful challenge. It takes the reader through the most common and uncommon hardships, but at the conclusion of this delightful journey, the reader feels more joy and satisfaction: Love, faith, and incredible guts turn the rocky road into an assuring path that all of us so humanly desire. This book is so uniquely universal in every essential aspect that I enthusiastically recommend it to all readers regardless of their age, gender, and race.” Dr. Aman B. Kay
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Sylvia the Author: I write in my home office at the computer. However, there have been times when I have had an idea; I have written things down on anything I could find. When I was working on my second book, An Underground Jewell, I drove about forty-five minutes to and from work. I would use my small tape recorder to plot out the scenes, the characters and ideas of where I wanted to take the story next. Once I had time to write, I would listen back to the recording and take it from there.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Sylvia the Author: In relation to my writing, I am currently working on launching my latest book. However, I have two books in mind. One book is on my father who was a WWI veteran, and a pioneer in many ways. The second is a fantasy novel that I started sometime ago, and decided to put it away for a while. The title of it is, Dark Crystal. In between all this, I am a patient advocate for bladder cancer, and I give presentation on it from a survivor’s point of view anywhere I can speak.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Sylvia the Author: My power word would have to be PERSERVERANCE. Maybe I should say, stubborn because I keep on trying no matter what gets in my way. Of course, I am originally a Missourian. You know what they say, “Stubborn as a mule!”
Sylvia: Yes, my grandmother used to say that I was “stubborn as a mule!” Why do you give all the proceeds from the book sales to the American Bladder Cancer Society?
Sylvia the Author: That is a long story, but I will try to keep it as brief as possible. A little over seventeen-years-ago, when I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and I was scared. I tried to find information and support online. None! I found a cancer forum and joined. I met a man who had lung cancer. He kept everyone’s spirits up when they were down. I wanted to have a place online where bladder cancer survivors could find information and interact as well as finding the support they needed. I began with a message board on Yahoo. There I met Cynthia and Karen. They had the same dream. I will share what Cynthia said,
“The first time I ever talked to Sylvia, then just Ramsey, I cried. It wasn’t what she said; it was what she represented to me. You see, it was the first time I had ever talked to a woman with my same diagnosis and years later she was not only surviving but thriving. We were sisters of the heart in minutes and the years have not changed that fact.
When I called Sylvia with the idea of forming a national organization to help the millions of people in the United States that have had their lives impacted by bladder cancer and to spread awareness, she did not hesitate. She had from the time of her diagnosis been reaching out and trying to help other survivors of bladder cancer through her writing, website, and public speaking. We both realized that the job was bigger than any one person could fill and that it would take all of our voices combined to be heard and to help those in need.”
The American Bladder Cancer Society became a reality in 2008. We became a 501(c) (3) and our original website was launched. The heart of our organization is support of people that have had their lives impacted by bladder cancer and its life’s blood is awareness and advocacy.
Sylvia: Wow, I am so touched by your strength Sylvia! It has been a pleasure to learn more about you. Thank you for letting all of us in! On a funny note… hopefully we didn’t confuse the readers with having the same name, Sylvia.
How can my readers contact you?
Sylvia the Author: I hope we didn’t! Your readers can find me:
Sylvia was recently interviewed on the popular Healthy Women, click here.