Wednesday, July 22, 2020

2020 Interview: Amy Bovaird

Hi! I’m Amy Bovaird. I grew up in a small town in Northwest Pennsylvania of less than 3,000 people. High school sports play a big role in the town, even for adults. Football and basketball draw a big crowd, especially when rival schools play each other. On the outskirts of town are fruit farms and grape vineyards. We’re a typical family of six, two brothers, a sister and me. I’m the third. My father distinguished himself as a tree removal expert and operated his own business for over seventy years. In its heyday, he ran three crews. My mother took calls and did the accounting for the business. I’m quiet until you get to know me – love studying foreign languages, learning about other cultures, and trying new foods.  I lived overseas for nearly twenty years and taught English to nonnatives in a career that lasted twenty-two years. In the last few years I also taught Spanish.  

Do you have any hobbies?

I like taking photographs, walking, running and hiking. 

What is your favorite vacation spot?

Growing up, I loved going to my grandmother’s house a couple of hours away. As an adult, I don’t have a favorite getaway, but I do enjoy a trip to the mountains.   

If you were given a ticket to anywhere and spending money to indulge, where would you go?

I’d go to Machu Pichu in Peru. I’ve always wanted to go there, just for the experience of climbing it. 

Do you have pets?

I grew up with a cat, and had my own cats. I had a black lab mix, who I adored. He passed away about five years ago. I now have three cats to keep me company. I am a big animal lover, though. 

What is your favorite color and what do you love about it?

I’d have to say red or shades of red, because it seems to burst with energy and high definition. It makes me feel cheerful, looks professional and I wear it well. 

What was your favorite book as a child?

I didn’t have a favorite book, but loved Scholastic Arrow books we ordered from school. They had titles like Carole Moves In and The Wednesday Witch, Jenny Lind and the Listening Cat. I read my sister’s Trixie Beldon series books. I loved the hard backs covers and the beautiful portraits of Honey and Trixie on the inside. I used to go to the library and sign out 3-5 books each time. We were fortunate to have a good library in our town.  

What is one thing about yourself you’d like to change or are trying to work on?

Procrastination. It takes me a long time to finish things. 

What music genre/singer/band is your go-to for a bad day? For working? 

I’m not so much into music. In the fifth grade I discovered Jim Croce and played his best hits constantly. I like 60s, 70s and 80s music, probably because I know the words to them, like Carole King, Journey, some of the more popular songs of the Doobie Brothers (like Old Black Water), and, of course, popular love songs. If someone points out a song and the lyrics are meaningful, I adopt that singer for awhile. 

Do you re-read books? If so, is there one in particular?

Yes, I used to re-read the Trixie Beldon books, but I do re-read some memoirs or books that take place in other cultures.

Are you an introvert, extravert, or ambivert?

I guess I’m an ambivert, depending on the occasion. Living overseas has helped me to come out of my shell. I’m never loud, though. I remember my eighth grade English teacher writing in my autograph book at the end of the school year “To one of the loudest girls in my class” (He meant ‘quietest’ as he was rather sarcastic). I’ve moved around enough to feel confident with myself. 

Does pineapple go on pizza?

Sure, it can go on pizza sometimes. 

How many places have you lived?

In the states, I attended colleges in West Virginia and Oklahoma. I worked in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Oregon. Overseas, I lived in Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Japan, Egypt, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. 

What was your first job?

I worked during the summers at my dad’s tree removal business as a “stick-picker,” raker, and wood stacker. 

What is your favorite down time activity?

I love reading, sometimes watching television. 

Are you an outdoor type? Have a green thumb?

I love the sunshine and run if it’s sunny. Otherwise, I’m happy to stay indoors. 

Are you the type to take a dare?

I’m not typically one who takes on dares, but I did once and wished I hadn’t. 

What is one thing you’ve learned through experience that you’d love to pass along to others?

Be resourceful, persistent and courageous. Don’t be swayed from pursuing your goals / dreams. 

On to writing: what inspired you to start creating stories/non-fiction? How long ago?

I’ve always loved writing and creating. As a senior, I skipped lunch and the free period to write my first serious short story (with the lyrics of Leo Sayer’s song as the basis for the plot (I Think We Fell in Love Too Fast). I was so serious. I was going to be a writer. When I went overseas, I started writing newsletters, and devotionals, and editing the professional newspaper in our college as well as the yearbook. I was thrown into a situation where I ghostwrote a book. It took me a year to chronicle that love story. Completing this book gave me the confidence to write my own memoirs. My goal was to write about my travels.  But as it turned out, the topic of my first book was inspired by my orientation and mobility training, where I learned to use a white cane due to vision loss. It’s still my biggest selling book. Each book I write is inspired by my experiences and faith journeys. 

How do you choose your settings (fiction) or topics (non-fiction)?

From my experiences. Some of my settings are right here in Northwest Pennsylvania. In my second memoir, I added six foreign settings. In my third book, the setting was mainly the United Arab Emirates. 

Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication?

I started small, with a poem in the high school newspaper that my sister allowed me to put in because I wasn’t in high school yet. I’m a good essay writer, so just before the graduation ceremony at my associate college, I wrote an anonymous letter (essay-type) to our president about my experience. He read it out loud at our graduation. It was a proud moment for me, though only my brother-in-law guessed it was me who wrote it! The newsletters, and editing jobs came next. In 2004, I wrote a story published in a religious magazine for the Anglican church. After I took correspondence courses, I sent a story about my dad to a well-established secular magazine. The article was terrible, but the topic was so unusual, the editor worked with me to rewrite it. I received $75.00 for it. After a couple years of pitching to low-paying magazines, I decided to publish my own books. I average a book every two years. 

Finally, please tell us about your books and add your website so we can find you:

Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith – is about my orientation and mobility training and coming to terms with losing my sight. 
Cane Confessions: the Lighter Side to Mobility – has 27 stories of life with and with and without my cane.  (lots of culture, and humor!).
Seeking Solace: Finding Joy After Loss – contains 45 devotions of moving on after child loss, divorce and the death of my father. 
Hitting a Home Run: Blind and Thriving –is about the diagnosis of my eye condition and subsequent career decisions (e-book) 
A Time to Dance: Finding Joy after Child Loss – is a sweet short memoir of how God showed me he loved me on one special Valentine’s Day (e-book) 

My website is It looks beautiful and was created by Rebecca Reidmiller, the virtual assistant, who used to work for me.  My books are available on in regular, large print and kindle. They’re also available in audio format on Amazon, iTunes and Audible. 

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