Writing has always been a passion for Elkin native Sarah Martin Byrd, but it didn’t become a career for her until she was nearly 50 years old.
Byrd, who graduated from East Wilkes High School and went to work in advertising for The Tribune, is now a published author of two books, and has written two more that have not yet been published.
After retiring from The Tribune, Byrd took to writing full-time.
“I was always an avid reader, and I would read books. And eventually I started to think, ‘Why am I reading other people’s books when I should be writing my own? I know I have a book inside of me,’” she explained.
At age 48, Byrd decided to put everything else aside and begin writing a book of her own.
“I took every spare minute I had at that point and dedicated it to my writing, and I still do,” she said.
Her first published book, “Guardian Spirit,” which took her only two months to write, was published in September of 2010.
Byrd’s website, www.sarahmartinbyrd.com, explains that “Guardian Spirit” is a gripping tale of survival, bringing to life the realities of certain evils in the world, while capturing the essence of hope. The book is about two abused children, Sadie and Sammie, and their mother.
“The theme of “Guardian Spirit” is abuse and domestic violence, but there is hope too,” she said.
Guardian Spirit was published by Lucky Press, a publishing company out of Athens, Ohio.
Her second and most recently published book, “Color of My Heart,” was published this month, and she is beginning to sell copies and offer book signings.
“Color of My Heart,” which Byrd said was more for the Christian market, was published by Ambassador International, a publishing company out of Greenville, S.C.
“Color of My Heart’s major theme is equality, and expressing that what’s on the inside is what really counts,” Byrd said.
Her website explains that in reading the book about a girl named Laura, “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?”
Now with two published books, Byrd is working on having her first children’s book published.
“I have written “The Manger Mouse,” which is a children’s Christmas picture book, and it is currently being illustrated and is scheduled to be out late next summer,” she said.
Writing a children’s book came naturally to Byrd, who graduated from The Institute of Children’s Literature.
“My inspiration in everything I do is to uplift certain causes,” Byrd said. “When people read what I write, I want them to feel better about themselves, life and the world.”
Byrd lives in Elkin and continues to work on her writing. She is currently working on “The River Keeper,” a story she described as her favorite so far.
“The River Keeper” is about an 8-year old girl who grows up on the New River, experiences a tragic loss of her family due to a flood, and then becomes an advocate for the New River never being dammed up by hydroelectric power companies again.
“Writing, for me, is not like work at all,” she said. “I enjoy it mostly because I never know where my characters will take me, and I love sharing that with my readers too.”
Name: Sarah Martin Byrd
Employer: Full time writer
Favorite pastime: Reading and spending time with granddaughter, Emma
Favorite sports team: University of North Carolina Tar Heels
Favorite book: Boxcar Children. “This has been my favorite book my whole life since I first read it in 3rd grade,” Byrd said.
Favorite author: Karen Kingsbury
Family: Husband of 36 years, Jerry, daughter Wendy Jolly, and granddaughter, Emma Jolly
Born in: Elkin
Lives in: Elkin, Pleasant Ridge community