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With book cover and photo of

By Robin Jovanovich

Since 1994, Amy Sargent Swank, a much-in-demand interior designer by day, has been thinking about writing a story, or a collection of short stories, tied back to a chapter of her life. “Three years ago I got serious!” said the longtime Rye, now Greyrock resident.

“Serious” meant hiring an editor to help polish her words and then finding a literary agent to get them published.

Swank knew who to call: Lee Woodruff, “who amazes and inspires so many of us with her writing and attention to veterans and the care she demonstrates to anyone in need.”

What started out as a memoir slowly became a novel. “I’d been thinking about ‘Counting Crows’ as the title,” said Swank with a smile, because of my fondness for the band.” But she’s happy with the one she ultimately chose, “Seven Birds”. The novel is already in a place of prominence among national best sellers in the front window of Arcade Books, and will be published today, June 9.

 

Amy Sargent Swank

“Writing it turned out to be a cathartic experience,” said Swank.

“When my book club read it aloud a few weeks ago, it was somewhat surreal to be talking about it, because a lot of my true feelings and experiences are expressed within those pages, but it was wonderful.”

Even more wonderful was when she and her husband Andrew were introducing themselves at a gathering recently and when Amy was asked what she did and answered “a designer”, Andrew proudly interjected, “my wife’s a writer, too!”

Set in Cape Cod and Back Bay, “Seven Birds” is the story of three women thrown together. In Swank’s words, “Fez Bradlee, 52, is struggling with a crumbling marriage, financial ruin, and a teen-age daughter Hazel, once a prize student who is becoming more and more withdrawn and spiraling into drugs and alcohol. And then, Fez discovers she has an older sister, Penny, whom she never knew because she was institutionalized at age 4.”

All three characters confront their demons in the first-person.

Rather than bask in newly published writer glory this summer, Swank, the mother of three all in or just out of college, has already pitched her next book, a thriller, to Simon & Schuster.

This designing woman, fresh back from a writing retreat with Lee Woodruff and Annabel Monaghan (“Can it get any better than that?”), may be booked for life, too.

 


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