Writer Interviews: Amy Sargent

Writer Interviews is a series of interviews from writers aiming to inspire and inform young D/deaf and emerging writers. Writers can learn a lot from each other, by sharing their ideas and resources.

Amy is a deafpreneur, writer and speaker. Her book, A Survival Guide for New Deafies, raises awareness of late-onset hearing loss. Her website is a hub of activity, with the Thriving Deafie SpotlightDeaf Girl Publishing, and her blog.

Tell me about yourself.

I am an onion and I have many layers. I am a woman living with a hearing loss and a writer for a purpose; and I am a “squeaky wheel” for hearing loss awareness. In my hearing life I was a broadcast engineering technician. I worked behind the camera for live news television. I lost my hearing when I was 27 and it took another serious blow when I was around 32 leaving me with a severe to profound bi-lateral sensorineural hearing loss. No longer able to work in live television I went back to school and received my certification to teach technology from kindergarten to high school. I taught for over 7 years and wrote my book while teaching.

What kind of writing do you do?

I write non-fiction but I don’t classify myself as a serious non-fiction writer. I write in conversational English. I prefer my readers to feel like they are part of a conversation. Similar to reading a text from a friend. The irony is…in high school I really disliked literature and grammar. Today as a young 40 something, I still dislike grammar but literature is amazing!

How did you get started writing? What or who inspired you to start?

I started writing because I had so many people asking me to help a friend or family member who was stricken with late on-set hearing loss. After the initial first hellacious five years I became very open and sharing with my struggles with my hearing loss. So people were always tapping me to help someone they knew who was lost. It finally dawned on me that I can help so many more people if I just wrote a guide. I know it was something that was lacking when I lost my hearing. Keep in mind, I am showing my age but the internet was just in its infancy when I lost my hearing. There was no GOOGLE or search engines to help find information.

What has been the biggest obstacle for you?

With regards to writing it has been grammar and proper sentence structure. Over here in the United States we speak much differently from how we write. Or maybe it’s just me.

Do you write full time or do you have a day job?

I was working full time as a technology teacher but I have spent the last year and half networking to get myself out there.

If you write full time, how do you manage the financial side?

It’s stressful and I used all my savings so you have to work to make ends meet. Just always try to live within your means.

How do you network?

I network through social media and hearing loss conferences. I definitely need to fine tune my networking abilities.

What inspires you? How do you find inspiration or ideas?

Most of my inspiration comes from feedback from readers who have been helped or individuals who reach out because they are lost and scared.

How has your deaf identity helped your writing?

For my specific genre, being deaf has led to my credibility greatly. I’ve lived it. I’ve been there. So yes, it has helped.

What does a typical writing day look like to you? Do you have habits or a routine?

I am so old school. It starts with a pencil and paper. I jot down ideas and themes then start outlining and editing by drawing lines to indicate where this paragraph should go. Then once I am feeling the flow. I go to my office and transfer it all to digital format. Then I print it and read a hard copy. It helps me edit my own work. I see errors and inconsistencies on a hard copy that I don’t on the computer.

Do you have a special memory connected to writing?

When I finished my book and had a printed copy, I sat down to read it cover to cover, in its entirety. Upon completion, I was crying because of how personal it was and remembering all the struggles I had overcome. It was a cathartic experience.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

The best part of writing for me is that I help people. That makes all the hard work worth it. When I get an email or someone reaches out through social media. It makes me feel good.

Do you have any favourite authors or books?

I do! I am really partial to fiction isn’t that ironic– mystery/romance and paranormal romance. They are guilty pleasures of mine. Hey I’m a girl after all. A couple of favorite authors are Janet Evanovich, MaryJanice Davidson, Charlaine Harris and Katie MacAliter. I also love well written biographies.

What do you consider the most important piece of advice you’ve received?

Stay true to your inner voice, cast aside any negative comments or opinions. Only then will you achieve greatness and fulfill your purpose in life.

What is next for you? What are you looking forward to in the future?

I am working on a crowd-funding effort to support a chat tour and app for people with a hearing loss where they can share how they hear with others that is customized to their specific loss here is the indiegogo page for more information http://igg.me/p/229460?a=1257155 and I have been outlining some new book ideas.

How can we contact you?

Website: http://DeafGirlAmy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DeafGirlAmy

Twitter: @DeafGirlAmy

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