iUniverse’s Violetta Armour tells us about her novel, I’ll Always Be With You, in a charming and very well-written article.
I’ll Always Be With You is the story of three generations of family who help each other heal through a devastating tragedy. The main character is 16-year old Teddy who was behind the wheel getting a driving lesson when a drunk driver slammed into their car, killing his dad. He suffers from survival guilt but help comes from unexpected sources as he discovers the power of friendships and family love.
I wrote the first draft in 1999 as a Young Adult book. The initial idea was one of “pay it forward”, the theme being that if one does good deeds it will eventually come full circle back to them. It evolved into something a little different, but still has a feel-good inspirational message. I secured an agent but she couldn’t find a home for it. At the time, I don’t think it was edgy enough for teens who were getting into paranormal and harsher realities. I put it away for 15 years but it kept tugging at my heart. I re-wrote it in 2015, adding two adult characters as mainstream contemporary fiction. The irony is that now people who read it say, “Every teen needs to read this book.”
I was so fortunate to have a 4th grade teacher who placed literary works in my hand at a young age. I was reading The Secret Garden, Lorna Doone, and Jane Eyre at age 10! Yes, I was one of those who read with the flashlight in bed in order to win the summer library reading contest. My love affair with books was life-long and I fulfilled my dream of opening a charming neighborhood bookstore, Pages, in the early 90’s. Now I could be surrounded by books constantly and share this passion with others. I will never forget the beautiful aroma of the store the day the first shipment of 100 boxes of books arrived. As we opened each box it was like standing in a redwood forest. Sadly, our store closed when several big box stores opened up within two miles.
My self-publishing experience with iUniverse has been wonderful. They provided guidance and support yet I was allowed to control the entire process from word count to cover selection. Seeing my work in print, holding the book in my hands, was a thrill beyond my expectations. There was a sense of satisfaction in a work completed through dedication and perseverance.
The arrival of my first shipment of books was somewhat of a fortuitous and serendipitous event. I believe in the power of the universe (no pun intended) working for the good if one believes and acts accordingly.
In the summer we live in a small community of 3000 near Flagstaff, Arizona, where we escape the brutal heat of summers in Phoenix. Many activities center around the country club and golf course. Each year there is a women’s guest golf tournament and this year they were having a trunk show so ladies could shop during the 2-day event. I was invited to participate but was fearful my books would not arrive in time. Arrive they did—at 5 pm the evening before the event and sell they did—over 100 books! The wonderful thing about the impact of this group sale in a confined area was that it made a strong impact on the community as they fully embraced the story, told others about it and bought more copies to give to family and friends. Although the intended audience was women with cross-over to young adults, many “senior” men were reading it and saying, “I couldn’t put it down.” Those became my new favorite five words as people stopped me in the parking lot, the golf course, the tennis courts, the dining room. It was like Christmas morning for me every summer day.
We’ll be back with Part Two of Violetta’s excellent blog on November 1!