Merry Christmas Everyone!
Here comes a very special piece to our Interview With a Writer series. A few days ago, I dared ask Sarah Doughty if she would mind answering a few questions (5-10 of the list I sent her), and you know what, she responded she would not mind at all, and happily answered not just five or ten, but all of them. You cannot begin to imagine how broad a smile I shone, when I opened my mailbox yesterday.
Sarah needs no introduction on WordPress, but just in case you have not encountered her and her work yet, here is a link to her addictive blog: Heartstring Eulogies and below are two of my favorite micro poetry lines recently authored by Sarah:
To love is to be
to endure the pain
if that love doesn’t last.
© Sarah Doughty
Time can wait
here with me and
nothing else matters.
© Sarah Doughty
Not only is Sarah an incredibly talented writer, whose griping lines hook us all on a daily basis, she is one of the most generous souls out there. She is always ready to give positive feedback, help and provide support to other writers. Through her interview, you will discover that she is that, and so much more.
This interview is very special to us, at Mug’s Tale, since Sarah has been one of our very first followers. She has been a rock dispensing her support to our work from the very beginning. Offering her the spotlight on our blog is our very modest way to thank her. I will stop there as her kindness and beautifully crafted words speak for themselves, and are such a delight to read!
Without further ado….
Meet – Sarah Doughty
– Could you tell us a few words about yourself? (Introduce yourself – where do you come from? – Where do you live? – What do you do for a living? – any dreams, aspirations? – …. )
I’m Sarah Doughty, born, raised, and still living in Indiana. Long story short, I suffer from complex PTSD, anxiety, depression, and migraines. I spend my time with my family and doing therapeutic hobbies — most of which consist of writing. Writing helps me to escape and I’m really passionate about it. I dream of the day I can once again feel whole, and if that day ever comes, I’ll see where my dreams take me.
– If there were one book you could recommend to our readers, which would it be?
Without knowing a genre, it’s a little hard for me to answer this question, so I’ll recommend two. First, On Writing by Stephen King. Sure, a good portion of it is a memoir, but some of the biggest things I learned from King are: to be a writer you must also be a reader, you must write every day, and you have to know the rules in order to break them.
Second, I’d have to say that any book that can make me feel like I’m in a new place, in someone else’s head, that book is a winner to me. The first time I read something that really helped me when I needed it, it made me realize how important books are, not just to read, but to escape.
I remember reading Alice Hoffman, Stephen King, and Anne Rice (among others) as a kid. And when I grew up, somehow urban fantasy/paranormal romance seemed to pull me in better than anything else. I drank in Jeaniene Frost, Karen Marie Moning, and Charlaine Harris, just to name a few.
– Is there a book you read that you think changed your life somehow or spoke to you in a way that no other book did?
Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. It was something that paved the way to urban fantasy. It was realistic to me, even when things went the way King’s books often do. I felt what Lisey felt, and experienced everything with her.
– Would you mind sharing with us one of your favorite quotes?
“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso
Writing, Writing Process, and Inspiration
– What inspires you? What do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. It could be the feel of a song, or its lyrics. It could be something I experienced, or witnessed. I could be inspired by something I read or feel in any particular moment. Sometimes, even my dreams.
– Which artists inspire you?
Oh my, there’s too many to name. What I enjoy most about art is how it can make you feel. The best artists can evoke a range of feeling into one piece.
– How did your passion for writing begin?
I’ve always loved it, but never felt I was good enough. For anything. That was one of the many things I was told repeatedly in my childhood and these things still haunt me today. When my memories became too much, I wanted to turn to writing to help. What forced me to begin sharing my words was to prove my abuser wrong. I was surprised to find that, as a general rule, people really like my writing, which is rewarding in so many ways.
– What are your favorite genres / themes?
I’ve already mentioned urban fantasy/paranormal romance. There’s something about being privy to another world outside our own that is so fascinating to me. In terms of themes, overcoming the past is a very big one.
– Where and when do you write? (describe a typical writing situation – at a desk/at a coffee shop/ on your bed/ on the train)
For my fiction, I plot like crazy before I start writing. I have trouble remembering things, so if I don’t do this I will be completely lost by chapter 2. When I do write, I sit at my desk with my huge monitor (I have terrible eyesight and this helps to eliminate the strain), often with enough coffee to last me the session. Then I become my narrator and follow the plot. It plays like a movie in my head and I write everything down. I try to write as often as I am able to (daily if possible), because at most I can only write a few hours at a time.
When I write poetry, I try to pull as much emotion as possible into as few words as I can, often allowing readers to make their own interpretations and experience unique emotional responses to them. Usually I will write as I listen to music.
– Could you tell us about one of the texts you have written?
My fiction series, Earthen Witch, began from a dream. It was one of the first scenes in Just Breathe where time shows to a halt and my heroine takes in the mysterious man standing a few yards in front of her. That was the dream. And the rest of the series expanded from there. It’s mind-blowing to me how much can come from so little just by brainstorming.
– Do you have any other hobbies?
I enjoy artsy crafts like watercolor and drawing, but I’m a big fan of Photoshop. I’ve learned by experience, looking at tutorials, and seeing what friends have created and how they created them. My biggest pleasure comes from making my book covers. I made them for Dream Spell, Zoe, and Listen, and I plan to continue making them in the future. It’s rewarding to see a symbolic representation of your book, but it’s even more so when you make it yourself.
– Which element represents you best? (water/earth/fire/air)
Oh my. I think water and air are a tie. Not many people know this, but I am a solitary secular chaote witch, which means I don’t worship any deities, gods, goddesses, or any formal higher power like the devil, the dark mother, or Gaia, etc. And I don’t practice anything as part of a group, nor is it considered traditional. It is unique to me. I often speak with the wind and water has a tranquil effect.
– Do you have a motto? Would you mind sharing it with us?
I often say that if Stephen King is the literary equivalent of a cheeseburger and fries, I’m the moldy cheese underneath a toddler’s seat in a minivan. I’m humble and that will never change.
– What is your idea of happiness?
Living at the beach with the woods nearby, where I can write and be with my family.
– Who is your favorite hero in fiction? (male/female)
Oh my, this is a tough one to answer. I’d have to say Cat Crawfield from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress novels. Over the course of the whole series we see how much Cat changes and evolves to become a better person, while also being badass at the same time.
– Who is your favorite hero in history? (male/female)
Oh my, another tough one. Technically, Rose Dewitt Bukater is a fictional character, but I like the way she rejected the society in which she was raised and instead followed her heart, even risking her life to do so. I’m sure there’s been countless people in the past that have done so in real life, so they are my heroes.
– Who are your favorite artists (painters, writers, composers, movie makers, singer-song writers…)
Anything and anyone that can make me feel something. Anything. Lindsey Stirling is one of my favorite musicians, not only because she’s insanely talented, but because everything she writes has a theme, a lesson, or a story to tell. I like Poe with his dark fascination with death. And so many modern writers and poets that have so much talent.
– What is your favorite food?
Beef Stroganoff, a recipe my grandmother passed down.
– What is your favorite color?
I have several. Anything soft. And red.
– What is your favorite flower?
Technically not a flower, but I like bamboo. That’s about the only plant I can keep alive.
– What is your main fault?
I’m often told I’m too nice. That I try to help people even at my own expense. I’m trying to work on it.
– What is your favorite place? (country, city, lake, mountain, house, room…)
Beach. Mountains. A little town in Indiana called Nashville. And Ikea.
– What do you appreciate most in a friend?
Loyalty and dedication. They will always receive it in return.
– What is your number one dream/goal?
Since writing is like therapy to me, and reading is a therapy to many others, I’ve made the decision to keep my books free. I don’t want cost becoming a factor to prevent someone from having their escape, and I plan to continue that effort so that anyone can read my words and escape.