Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Hoosier State Press Association Web Page

7/19/2011 1:51:00 PM
Indiana author weaves tales of family history and contemporary life
Independent journalist Amy McVay Abbott, who grew up in South Whitley, has written her first book. “The Luxury of Daydreams” highlights 30 humorous and inspirational essays about life in rural Indiana in the last century, as well as modern life in a small town in southern Indiana.    

Descended from two of Indiana’s pioneer families, the Creagers and the Longs, Abbott weaves family history into stories that speak to Indiana’s rural heritage. Her ancestors Christian Henry Creager owned a mill near South Whitley in the mid-1800s and Reuben Long settled in Indiana in the 1830s. One chapter features the late Hester Little Adams, who published the Columbia City Post and Mail where Abbott interned in the late 1970s. Adams was known for reaching out to high school and college journalists and providing newsroom opportunities for young writers. Upon her death, the Adams Trust formally supported scholarships for many years.

Abbott is a freelance journalist whose column “The Raven Lunatic” appears in seven Indiana newspapers. She is a frequent contributor Indiana newspapers and magazines, as well as curated online sites including fictionique.com, talkingwriting.com and doesthismakessense.com.

Noted Indiana author Jaleen Bultman-Deardurff, Rensselaer, has written an early review of the book. Bultman-Deardurff is the author of two novels, "The Music Teacher" and "Creager Farms: Sequel to The Music Teacher." Abbott and Bultman-Deardurff share a common ancestor in Christian Henry Creager.

They grew up in different parts of the Midwest, and did not meet until adulthood through writing interests. "Amy McVay Abbott captures the spirit of small town Midwestern living in her tales of growing up in Indiana. Her tongue-in-cheek approach to embarrassing stories told by her father is priceless. Her love for the simple things such as a blue bowl used by her great-grandmother prompted the author to blend stories passed down from her ancestors with dreams she holds for the future."

Abbott is a graduate of the School of Journalism, Ball State University, and recipient of the 1978 Foellinger Foundation Scholarship from the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. Information about ordering and events is available at http://theluxuryofdaydreams.blogspot.com.
(Allen, Whitley, Kosciusko, Huntington, Wabash, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Cass, Delaware, Madison, Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey, and Gibson counties are mentioned in the book

Open Salon Today with Catherine Forsythe

JULY 20, 2011 9:30AM

A Brief Chat with a Published Open Salon Author: Amy Abbott
Click "Submit Abuse" if you feel this post is inappropriate. Explain why below if you wish.
On the internet, on the pages of Open Salon, she is known as Bernadine Spitzsnogel. Some call her "Bea". Some others refer to her as "BS", in the most affectionate manner of course. To the world, she is Amy McVay Abbott. Her debut book is "The Luxury of Daydreams" and Amy has been gracious in allowing an Open Salon exclusive.

This just means that I have pestered Amy with some questions and she has taken time to humour me. The following are six questions that Amy graciously has answered:

1. You write in the introduction that "When I am time travelling, I sometimes rediscover a familiar scene that is lost in my own imagination, like the child me wandering on a playground." How did the process of imagination, in which we all indulge, transform itself into this book?

The period before I began seriously writing again was a difficult one. A dear friend died of cancer, my mother was diagnosed with dementia, my father had a heart attack, I lost my job, and our only son left for college 1,100 miles away. I found myself alone in a big, empty house all day and my imagination seemed to take flight. My choice was to write, begin to drink heavily, or just turn into a potato on the couch. My issues were so minimal, so many people go through so much worse, but what women of my age have in common is that we’re all in transition.

Writing was my salvation. I literally could not stop writing. I had not written anything outside of sales reports for ten years. My imagination was bottled up, and when it flowed, it flowed. Finding Open Salon during that period was hugely important because it provided a writer’s playground. Before all the technical issues slowed this place down, there was a real vibrancy to it, and great opportunities for learning every day. I’ve met some wonderful people here that I know will be lifelong friends.
2. Was writing this book a smooth, seamless process or did it have its own unique challenges?

The writing of the book was easy. The editing of the book was like giving birth to a grand piano, as my editor and I stewed over words like “acknowledgement”. With or without the e?

I chose the self-publishing route, because waiting to find an agent and a traditional publisher was beyond my patience and probably, ability. I talked with people who have gone the traditional route and those who have self-published. For me, this route seemed like a good venture. Could I have gotten a traditional publisher? Probably not.

I hired a professional editor and I also engaged a friend to paint an oil painting for the cover that represents my first chapter. I am happy with the product itself—though I am still working through sales channel issues. Friends and family expect to walk into a bookstore and find my book in the front. God love ‘em for their support, but 2,700 books are now published daily (according to the Washington Post) and I’m not Snookie or JK Rowling.

Major publishers negotiate for shelf space, and even their prized works may only get ninety days. I am fortunate that a few local stores feature local authors, and will shelve my book.

The good news for the self-published author is that books are available online in various sources as well as in eBook form. Mine is available for Kindle as well.

3. I know, Amy, that you have been a writer for many years. You have been a wordsmith in a journalistic venue. Was there a significant difference in writing a book?

As a journalist, you work with a copy editor. On deadline, you may turn in work and never talk to another living soul until it appears in print. The editing period, and working with an experienced editor, is both wonderful and terrible. In addition to the editor, my husband and a good friend – who are both writers in their own worlds – read the manuscripts. Each had good input.

4. For some people, writing is a very personal, private process. It is revealing and, for some people, there is the feeling of being exposed. The process goes from private to very public. Was there any of that for you in doing this book?

Earlier in my life I only wrote for and about other people. I worked in newspapers and then in public relations and marketing before I went into sales in 2000. Then all this “stuff” happened. It was okay to write about myself and my family. This book is very personal, and I reveal some negative things about myself. I don’t regret it because with mistakes comes personal growth.

5. What are the two major lessons that you know now that you didn't know when this project began?

That is the most personal question you have asked. There have been some surprises, especially in the last week since the book was published. I don’t know if they are lessons, but I’ve learned I need to listen to my inner self first. For the most part, I believe people are good; sometimes people are thoughtless, not necessarily malicious. I’ve also learned when you write a book that talks about transitions, many people want to tell you about the transitions in their lives. That has been a little overwhelming. Okay, I was really honest there.

6. And now, I have a chance to toss a "softball" question(s). Where can we buy this book? Is there a chance to obtain an autographed copy? And will you be doing some travelling to promote the book? Perhaps I need an editor to re-structure this as one question, Amy, but humour me.

Check out the book’s web page at: http://theluxuryofdaydreams.blogspot.com. I sign books that are ordered from me directly. Thank you very much. Amy aka Bernadine Spitzsnogel

Thanks to Amy for doing this with me. And yes, I have seen Amy's work in PDF format and I still want a book copy. That's "book" in terms of real paper pages. It's just a wonderful read.

Catherine Forsythe, Nottinghamshire, UK

Talk of the Town Whitley County

Talk of the Town Whitley County featured a story about the book today.

Monday, July 11, 2011 12:00:22 AM

July 10, 2011
Whitley County native authors essays about Cleveland, Washington townships

(Talk of the Town photo and image provided) Amy McVay Abbott, shown below at left, a Whitley County native and Whitko High School graduate, recently penned a book of essays about life in Washington and Cleveland Townships in addition to her experiences in southern Indiana. The book's cover is shown below, at right.
Article provided

Former Whitley County resident Amy McVay Abbott has written a book called “The Luxury of Daydreams.”
Abbott’s book features thirty essays which highlight stories from Washington and Cleveland townships in Whitley County, as well as her life in southern Indiana.

Abbott is descended from two pioneering families of Whitley County, the Longs and the Creagers. Christian Henry Creager owned a mill near South Whitley and is reported to have helped developed State Street. Reuben Long and his brother came to Washington Township and purchased farms near Tunker in the 1830s.
A freelance writer and independent journalist, Abbott writes a column called “The Raven Lunatic” which runs bi-weekly in the eight Indiana newspapers. Readers wrote to Abbott and suggested she write a book. She published on a Christian imprint, WestBow Press, which is a division of Thomas R. Nelson Publishers.
Abbott graduated from Whitko High School and Ball State University and is married to Randy Abbott and has one son. She is the daughter of long-time, former South Whitley residents William and Marilyn McVay, and has a brother Andrew who also graduated from Whitko. Her father is a retired Whitko High School agriculture teacher.
Growing up in Whitley County in the 1960s was a wonderful blessing,” Abbott said, “Both my brother and I are grateful for the close community of schools, churches, and neighbors we experienced.”
For speaking engagements, book signings, and ordering information, visit the web site at http://theluxuryofdaydreams.blogspot.com. The book is currently available on the WestBow Press online bookstore.

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