Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Sylvie Denied by Deborah Clark Vance Genre: Women's Fiction


If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I’d like to spend time with Janis and just make fun of everything.


Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

My characters are more clueless than I am. They’re just entering adulthood and I’ve been here quite a while. Some of them do horrible things and I wouldn’t want to invite them over, but they generally have enough redeeming qualities I should be able to socialize with them at least for a little while.


How did you come up with the name of this book?

It was an inspiration. Denied is the perfect word because it’s both active and passive here – Sylvie is blocked, rejected, without, blocked, disallowed, etc., and she’s the one doing the blocking and rejecting. It speaks to the experiences of many of us.


Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in “Sylvie Denied”?

You’ll meet diverse characters in different social spaces – tenants, farmworkers, hippies, college students, middle-class women, young parents, various ethnicities, and nationalities as Sylvie travels from place to place.


How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

I believe that our true self is our inner spirit – what we think of as our conscience. As we go through life, we accumulate ideas, values, personalities, identities from the culture around us as our spirit seeks its purpose in life in its journey and as we accumulate experience and knowledge, we might lose touch with that inner spirit. We might think our personality is our true self but what we need to do is bring that inner spirit into our consciousness. This is the basic concept underneath it all.



How long have you been writing?

In one way or another, since I was in second grade, and wrote a ballad called “The Lonely Easter Bunny.” I was irked when my teacher read it aloud to the class because she didn’t understand the rhythm at the end. It’s funny to say, given that I’m big on media literacy, but the poem ends with the line: This bunny was good, he  / was like all bunnies should be.   The teacher, though, just said it all together like “This bunny was good. He was like all bunnies should be.” So it bothered me that the class wouldn’t hear the rhyme. Anyway, I got lots of attention for the ballad from my teacher, but especially my mother who said she knew my grandfather would really like it. She also said that about the little biography I wrote about Thomas Edison in third grade. She saved them both and when I looked at them later, I could see why. I wrote several short stories – one about pollution, one was, let’s say, based on both “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and the Daphne DuMaurier story “The Blue Lenses.”


Do you read yourself and if so, what is your favorite genre?

Yes, I read voraciously – literary fiction and non-fiction social science, history, nature, books with spiritual insight.


Sylvie Denied
by Deborah Clark Vance
Genre: Women's Fiction

As she enters adulthood in the turbulent 1970s, Sylvie thinks the way to change a violent world is to become a peaceful person. Yet she slowly sees how a childhood trauma thwarts her peaceful intentions and leads her to men with a dark side – including Enzo, the man she marries. Even as his behavior becomes increasingly volatile, she believes she can make things better with love and understanding. But finally living in terror. Sylvie must find a way to escape with her daughter and a way to claim her place in the world.

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.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for featuring "Sylvie Denied." I appreciate it.