About Sarah

I was born on a Monday, Groundhog’s Day, 1959, and yes, I’ve had lots of fun with my birth date over the years. Especially when my Grandma Verlie was still living. She’d call me long before daylight and tell me not to go outside and see my shadow. She didn’t want six more weeks of bad weather. I also have two friends from elementary school who remember my special day and call me every year.

I still live in the Pleasant Ridge Community where I grew up. Nearby the small town of Elkin, North Carolina is shadowed by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and is located only a few miles from Stone Mountain State Park. The old home place sits on a hill overlooking The Big Elkin Creek. I spent my summers wading around exploring the creek-bed, climbing the rocks at Carter Falls, and searching the river bottoms for arrowheads. Needless to say I was very much a tomboy. Born the second girl of four children my parents probably wanted me to be a boy. My older sister and two younger brothers all live nearby with their families.

My daddy was a self-employed scrap metal dealer. A junk man is what he was called. He was also a trader. He loved to collect pocket watches, gold coins, knives and antique clocks. I can see him now, bargaining with another trader over this or that. I owe my daddy a lot. He taught me the value of hard work and a good name. No, he wasn’t perfect, but to me, the child he passed down his red hair and freckles to, he was pretty close. My mama stayed at home, always having supper ready when daddy got back from work. They’re both gone now. No matter how old you are it’s a sad day when suddenly you become an orphan.

I’ve always been the kind of person who does things a bit out of the box. At the end of my junior year in high school I only needed one semester of English to graduate. I just couldn’t see wasting time on senior year, so I went to summer school for six weeks and finished high school a year early.

I have been married to Jerry for forty-six years. In 2014 Jerry sold his interest in the scrap metal business to my brother and his two sons. In 2015 we built a small country campground that kept us very busy for the next five years. We sold the campground to a lovely couple in 2020. Check it out: ByrdsBranchCampground.com.

We have one very special daughter Wendy, a terrific son-in-law Marty, and a special granddaughter Emma. I spend lots of time with her, we love to go at our camper at the river to fish and float down the New River. We love being outside doing most anything. Oh yes, Emma loves to shop too, so I humor her and we go to the mall every once in a while, even though I can live without shopping. Now she will be attending the University of North Carolina this fall, 2022. I am so very proud of her and at the young lady she has become. I am honored to call her my granddaughter.

I started keeping a diary as a young girl, writing down my thoughts, dreams and worries. At fifteen, a good friend died in a car accident, my first poem titled The Black Car, was for his family. Since, I have penned many other poems to console friends, family and myself.

In third grade, after being made to read a children’s classic, The Boxcar Children, I was forever hooked on books. In the early 90’s I realized I was never going to be happy until I wrote my own novel. An avid reader, I stepped out of the box again, and instead of living through other writers I began my own journey, enrolling in a writing program at The Institute of Children’s Literature. I graduated and started my first book, In the Coal Mine Shadows. It took me thirteen years to finish that first novel. I was, at the time, a wife, mother and full time Advertising Manager for our local newspaper. Finally, having finished In the Coal Mine Shadows, I didn’t know what to do with it. For twenty-five years it lay lifeless, collecting dust, but I can proudly say it finally came to life when Ambassador International, my publisher released it June of 2017.

At the end of a very challenging year, 2020, the year of the Covid Pandemic I finished writing the sequel to, “In the Coal Mine Shadows”, “Shackled to My Father’s Sin.” It was just released by Ambassador International, April 2022.

I do miss parts of running the campground, but now I have time to do more creative things like write another children’s picture book, hopefully coming soon. We sold the campground to a wonderful couple who loves it just as much as Jerry and I did. If you get the chance come visit Dwaine and Larena, they are great folks. If you like hiking you’ll love Byrd’s Branch Campground, Elkin NC. You can take a mile stroll to Carter Falls, or a mile and a half hike over to Grassy Creek Vineyard, sip a little wine then meander on back to the campground through the Enchanted Forest.

As fate would have it, fifteen years ago, I grasped the opportunity to retire from the newspaper business, stay home and yes, write full time, or so I did until the campground came along. After In the Coal Mine Shadows was written and lying on a shelf, I wrote Guardian Spirit, The Color Of My Heart, and then my favorite novel, The River Keeper, and a children’s picture book The Manger Mouse, and now just released, Shackled to My Father’s Sins.

Guardian Spirit is a gripping tale of survival! It brings to life the realities of certain evils in the world, while capturing the essence of hope. I know you’ll fall in love with Sadie and Sammy, the two abused children and their mother, Millie. Together with the Cherokee they prove miracles really can happen.

In The Color Of My Heart, forty-year-old Laura meets her birth mother for the first time. Her perfect life becomes less than ideal, as her husband tries to cover up his own secret. You’ll go back in time as The Wanderer, one of the last slave ships brings Laura’s ancestors to a new world. Are things different today? Do you see the color of someone’s skin or, the color of his or her heart?

In the Coal Mine Shadows is a gritty southern tale of Mame. After a coal mining explosion in West Virginia kills her father, Mame soon finds out that trying to survive in a nearly deserted coal mining town, without a father in the early 1900’s is anything but easy. She’s got to find a way out of the sleepy little town of Beckley. Soon she forms a plan of deceit that will bring her nothing but regret and sorrow. In the Coal Mine Shadows placed in the top thirty of four hundred entries in the Santa Fe Writer’s Project. Mr. Andrew Gifford, Project Director said, In the Coal Mine Shadows stood out as an example of excellence in the craft of writing.

The River Keeper is probably my favorite novel so far. It is the story of eight-year-old Callie Mae McCauley. After her parents, sisters and brother drown in the flood of 1940 on the New River Callie has to go and live with her Granny Jane. She looses her voice after the tragedy, but neighbor, Miss Chloe, and Granny Jane’s bees help her find her tongue. The setting is in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Callie speaks in her native dialect. Callie meets some fascinating people on her journey to save The New River from being damned up by a hydroelectric power plant. There’s even hint of a ghost lurking around. I hope you’ll enjoy Callie’s journey to save The New River Valley.

In the midst of all of that my children’s story titled, The Manger Mouse continues to bring Christmas joy to all ages. It is a Christmas tale of a tiny mouse, Matty, snuggling up to Baby Jesus in the manger, keeping Him warm the night our Savior was born. The best part of this book is an old friend of mine, Debbie Wall did the illustrations.

Shackled to My Father’s Sins, sequel to In the Coal Mine Shadows, a story of forgiveness. Can a person inherit the wickedness of an evil parent? Are we forever shackled to our father’s sins?” Does young Katherine Paddington have the power to forgive an evil that was committed years before, or, will she forever hold a grudge that will continue to destroy her family.  Will Katherine succeed in making a new life for herself in North Carolina, away from the lies and deceit of her forefathers? Or, will the sins of yesteryear haunt her and her cousin Benny forever?

That’s all for now. I thank each and every one of you who keep up with me and my writing. I am so sorry I don’t have time to blog right now, but stay posted you never know when I might have a revelation that just has to be put to ink. www.sarahmartinbyrd.com/blog/.

Sarah Martin Byrd