Celebrating Her Roots
Violetta (Vy) Armour is a first-generation American who cherishes her Bulgarian/Macedonian heritage. Vy visited Macedonia where she traced her family roots, met distant relatives and found the family home in Prelep where her maiden name, Bektesh, was engraved on the facing. Her grandfather immigrated to America in the 1920s and settled in Gary, Indiana, where she was raised.
Her novel, I’ll Always Be with You, was heavily influenced by her cultural background and family dynamic. It’s the story of three generations of family who help each other heal through a devastating tragedy. It’s a testament to the power of family ties: how traditions passed from one generation to another with love can heal even the most broken of hearts.
“Like some of the characters, I am a first-generation American with Bulgarian heritage and my family practiced meaningful traditions,” she said, “I value my Bulgarian heritage, but as a first-generation, I grew up often feeling inferior because my family was ‘ethnic.’ Now I appreciate the fact that they kept their European culture and traditions alive while becoming the best Americans they could be.”
From Avid Reader to Avid Writer
An avid reader since childhood, Vy was inspired to write a book that made people feel as good as she did when she finished a good book. Vy wanted to show how positive thinking can affect the outcome of lives and how good deeds can spread.
Vy feels her greatest accomplishment was opening and operating her successful independent neighborhood bookstore, Pages, in Ahwatukee, Arizona, in the early ‘90's. Because she owned a bookstore and has such a love for books, she incorporated this passion into the story by having the characters involved in a bookstore.
“Writing this book was also a process of self-fulfillment. It was an exercise in self-discipline and creative achievement – a lifelong dream. Then upon completion it took courage to put myself out there with the finished product. What if it was awful? I am so glad I took the risk because the reward has been beyond my expectations.”
Violetta’s advice to aspiring writers is, “If you love to write, do it. Let your unique story be told and don’t be such a harsh critic of yourself. It is never too late. At age 74, I finally did it, and I am so happy to leave this legacy to my children and grandchildren. Hopefully it will inspire them to also follow their dreams, which is what I would wish for them.”
More About Vy
Vy received a BA degree from Valparaiso University in Indiana and a teaching certificate from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She has a Master's degree from University of Phoenix. She taught high school English and English as a Second Language. She also taught Dale Carnegie Courses in Colorado where she received the Outstanding Instructor Award for many years. She was a national trainer for the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Division, traveling to all 50 states to conduct seminars.
Vy’s love of books expands to other areas – she records books for the hearing impaired at Sun Sounds Studio in Tempe, Arizona, and writes a monthly column for The Ahwautkee Foothills News and the Tempe Tribune. Her works have been published in Highlights for Children and Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Author Violetta Armour talks about her motivation to become a published author and why she chose to self-publish her book, I’ll Always Be with You. She also describes her positive experience self-publishing with iUniverse.
Reflecting on Self-Publishing with iUniverse
"I remember saying ‘I’m going to write a book,’ and I can still picture that little journal I started writing this book in. Well, that was 64 years ago, and finally, I achieved my goal."
About the Book
Since the horrific night a drunk driver slammed into their car during his driving lesson, young Teddy has had to live with the memory of seeing his beloved father, Stan, die. Now just sixteen, he carries both sorrow and survivor's guilt. Concerned for her grieving son, Mary decides to put as much distance as she can between Teddy and the nightmarish Phoenix intersection that claimed Stan's life. She moves the family to Stan's small Indiana hometown, a place of peace in which she hopes they can build new memories. There, Teddy finds inspiration in an old book his great-grandfather carried with him to America, a book Bulgarian fathers have always read to their sons. Is Stan reaching out to his son from the grave? Mary also makes an equally life-changing discovery in the small town—Rosetta, Stan's high school sweetheart. The deeper Mary digs, the more she learns of the forbidden love Stan and Rosetta shared. During the Civil Rights Movement, they dared to reach out for love across racial lines. Now as their three lives intertwine, Teddy, Mary, and Rosetta must make difficult choices. Will they choose happiness? Or will old pains cause them to live as victims of circumstances? Beginning in 1912 on Ellis Island and told in three voices over four generations, I'll Always Be with You is a profound celebration of the power of family.
"A two-tissue tale about life after loss."
- Kirkus Review
"...a simple but engaging tale of life after loss. It never devolves into pointless melancholy, but simmers like a pot of family recipe chicken soup, goes down wonderfully, and warms from within."
- Clarion Review
"...a gem of a story that has heart, soul and empathetic insights and is potent in its small moments. This beautifully crafted, touching book offers tender wisdom that will draw a wide audience and could be especially appealing to young adults grappling with insecurities and difficult times."
- Blue Ink Review