By Lizzy Scully
Boulder-based author Alison Sawyer recently finished and published her first novel, “No Urn for the Ashes,” printed by Bayfire Press Publishing. Proceeds will go to her nonprofit Isla Animals.
A thrilling adventure with the full gamut of human emotions, “No Urn for the Ashes” tells the story of Tennyson Garland and his discovery of a substitute energy source for fossil fuels. Garland and his daughter die in a tragic accident, leaving wife and mother Taylor behind and bereaved. Years later she becomes entrenched in a dramatic mystery, where evil forces will stop at nothing to find out the secret energy source her husband discovered. She also learns her daughter may still be alive.
“Seeing the book in print was an incredible feeling,” said Sawyer. She began writing about Taylor and Tennyson after her own tragic divorce. “In group therapy, they wanted us to write about our lives. I am a very goal oriented person and found it hard to ramble on about myself, so I wrote every thing in story form. I enjoyed the writing so much I have been doing it ever since.”
“Ashes,” her first finished book, took years, “but when I finally got up enough nerve to let someone read it they really liked it, and that encouraged me to keep going.” It was something she had always dreamed about, along with playing the piano (she claims to have no ear for that) and learning another language, which she is currently doing.
The writing process was “very interesting,” she stated. “When you tell people that you’re writing a book, nine out of ten of them will say either that they want to write a book or that they are working on one. That made me more determined to finish it, I kept thinking of how many unfinished books there must be in the world.”
Though it took a while, she said it wasn’t difficult. “The idea grew as I wrote it. I was amazed how much the book wrote itself. I would sit at the computer, and the story would evolve. It sounds goofy, but it’s true.”
Sawyer plans on using all the proceeds from the book for Isla Animals, an unofficial nonprofit organization she started in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, a place where she resides part of the year. “I am donating the first $100,000 from sales to the animals,” she said. “The biggest dream come true for me right now would be the success of the book. I would love to have it sold nationwide. That would feel wonderful, and it would finance the work with the dogs.”
Sawyer added there is much work to do in Mexico for the animals. She’s writing two more books that she hopes will generate money for her cause.
“The situation for cats and dogs on this island and the neighboring mainland community of Ranch Viejo is a dismal one,” she said. “Without a foreseeable end to the over-population of unwanted and/or uncared for dogs and cats, the sickening solution by local government to instantly eliminate any animal found on the street will continue.” Sawyer, who received The Doris Day Animal Kindred Spirit Award in 2005, is working tirelessly to change this. Along with other rescue groups in the Yucatan, she has helped rescue thousands of animals and has raised awareness of the problem.
“It is the goal of Isla Animals to educate pet owners on humane animal treatment, provide numerous badly-needed free services, and to promote adoptions in Mexico, Canada and the U.S.,” Sawyer stated. “Our programs are run 100 percent via donations, and every penny received is for animal care and services.” There is a constant need for basic supplies such as flea and tick medication, shampoo, collars, leashes, food, bowls, toys, etc., as well as medical supplies. For more information on the nonprofit, visit www.islaanimals.org. For more information on Sawyer’s book, visit www.bayfirepress.com.