Hi! My name is Avon Gale, and I’m here to talk about my book The Love Song of Sawyer Bell, recently released by Carina Press. It’s an F/F love story about an indie Americana rocker named Vix, who falls for her summer-tour fiddle player, a classically trained violinist named Sawyer. As a bisexual author, I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to put this story out into the world and hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!
The book also features a band in my favorite musical genre, Americana! Americana is sort of a mix of rock, alt-country and folk. If you’ve heard of the Avett Brothers or Jason Isbell, then I’d for sure categorize them as Americana. A lot of the concerts I go to are similar to the ones in my book— venues with a small stage where you stand in front. There are very few tables, maybe a couple stools at the bar and definitely no assigned seating. Other bands to check out are Lucero, Drive-By Truckers, Cory Branan, Shovels and Rope, Larkin Poe, and Lindi Ortega. Lucero, who has long been a favorite of mine, is my inspiration for the band Racer and will feature in the sequel, The Ballad of Whiskey Jax!
My inspiration for this book came from attending a show at the Duck Room in St. Louis (the location shows up in the book, too!). Lydia Loveless, who is absolutely my inspiration for Vix (right down to the faded purple hair!), is one of the women who are absolutely killing it in the genre. Music is a hard industry for women, and the life of a touring musician—on the road for hundreds of days a year, without health insurance, hauling your own gear and driving a van—is hardly glamorous, but these performers are doing it for the love of music, and I find that so inspiring and exhilarating. Sawyer is based a bit on Amanda Shires, who is an amazing fiddle player and vocalist, and often tours with her husband, Jason Isbell.
(Fun trivia fact: Vix and Sawyer both attended Houston High School in Germantown, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis. That is also where I graduated high school myself!)
The book’s idea came about as my husband and I were waiting for Lydia and her band to start, and I was talking to him about how I wanted to write an F/F romance and set it in this particular music genre. We chatted about it on the way home (the concert was in St. Louis, about two hours from our city, so we had a bit of our own little road trip, too!), and I remember trying to come up with the names for the characters while at a truck stop in Foristell, Missouri. If you’ve ever driven down 1-70 west from St. Louis to Kansas City or beyond, you’ve probably passed the place we stopped! I was trying to figure out Sawyer’s last name when a giant semi pulled in with the word bell somewhere in the title, and voilà! Sawyer’s name was settled. Thanks, semitruck!
One of my other favorite things was coming up with the names for the songs and the other bands in the book. We have a road-trip game of “come up with a phrase and decide if it’s an indie band or a craft brewery,” so I had honed my skills ahead of time. While I was in no way going to try and write lyrics (I’m at Limerick Level 2 and that’s about it), I did like thinking of a theme for the band’s songs. With Vix’s band, it was storms (obviously a favorite given my name!). I even made up a fake touring schedule and played around with fake band posters in Photoshop—procrastination is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?
If you’re interested in Americana music or would like some song recommendations or great bands to listen to, hit me up on Twitter, @avongalewrites—I love to talk about music!
About The Love Song of Sawyer Bell:
Don’t miss this heartwarming and funny reunion romance from Avon Gale
Indie rocker Victoria “Vix” Vincent knows a good thing when she hears it. The moment Sawyer Bell picks up her fiddle, magic happens. Beautiful and wildly talented, Sawyer is the perfect match for Vix’s band—and, just maybe, for Vix. The dynamic in any group is a delicate thing, but with Sawyer and Vix thrown together on tour, it’s not long before the line between bandmates and lovers gets a bit blurry.
The indie rock life is not what Sawyer ever saw for herself. She worked hard to get where she is—in her second year of Julliard, with a bright future in classical music. But instead of spending her summer working and rehearsing, she’s on tour with her secret high school crush. And even though it was only supposed to be temporary, Sawyer feels like she’s finally found a place she belongs.
This summer with Vix has been like a dream. But every tour must come to an end, and when Julliard comes calling, Sawyer will need to make a choice: continue on the path she’s chosen, or take a leap of faith and follow her heart.