Q1. When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently?
Sara: I’ve always written in one way or another, I can remember writing poems at a very young age about animals and flowers. In high school I started to get serious about writing short stories, and one of my teachers encouraged me to continue. I think my biggest influences have been women writers across different genres, Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood. Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf. Everything from Charlotte Brontë to Anne Rice to Miriam Toews.
Q2. Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Sara: I think I always knew I would write, but there was a distinct time when I was about 23 or 24 when I decided that I would work hard to make something happen. I was naïve and figured I could just write something great and find a publisher. I didn’t know how long it would take (20 years!) or how I would do it, but I felt it was what I wanted.
Q3. Who helped you most with writing and career?
Sara: I was always a lone wolf when it came to writing and I have no formal training. Back in the day I would send a typed manuscript via actual mail to a big press and wait 6 months to a year to get the SASE back with a rejection. It wasn’t until I discovered social media and the literary community on Twitter and Instagram that I was able to make real connections, as well as to find a wealth of places to submit to. Through volunteering as a reader at a few online lit mags I ended up making some great friends who’ve supported me and my work, and I’m very grateful to them.
Q4. Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?
Sara: I grew up in Southern Ontario and the area has definitely seeped into my writing. I’ve set stories near lakes and rivers and relied heavily on water as a theme or a metaphor, which I think comes from living so close to Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and of course, Niagara Falls. I’ve only travelled to a few cities, namely New York, Los Angeles, and Montreal, and I’ve written about them all. Recently I had the opportunity to travel to London, England, and though I haven’t started it yet, there is an idea forming.
Q5. What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
Sara: I hope every story I write is meaningful in some way, but I suppose I’d have to say my novel, which is unpublished as of yet. I think I invested the most emotional input into that particular work.
Q6. Favorite activities to relax?
Sara: I love hanging out with my family, having picnics by the water. I love watching movies and reading everything I can.
Q7. What is a favorite line /stanza/lyric from your writing?
Sara: That’s a difficult question. I think opening lines make or break a piece when I’m working on flash fiction, and I use a fair bit of surrealism. As an example in “Beneath a Vacant Sky” which was published at Ruminate Online, I started with “The morning after the moon explodes, Marla wonders if she imagined the whole thing.” I was happy with the scenario that line creates.
Q8. What kind of music inspires you the most? What’s a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?
Sara: I love all kinds of music, but again, as with my writing influences, the songs that inspire me the most are by female performers. Chrissy Hynde from the Pretenders, Siouxsie Sioux, and Tori Amos are some of my favorites because they tell stories. I think Feist has such poetic lyrics together with a blend of folk/indie/punk music, like in her song “I Feel it All” for example, and that vibe somehow agrees with my whole way of thinking about writing.
Q9. Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc. that you would like to promote?
Sara: I have a flash fiction chapbook that came out July 24th with Alien Buddha Press called “Static Disruption” which is available on Amazon (link included below). I’m also very excited about my first full length collection of short stories, “Flight Instinct” which is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in late October. Pre-orders will be opening soon, so follow me on Twitter @sbdobbie for updates!
Sara Dobbie is a Canadian writer from Southern Ontario. Her stories have appeared in Fictive Dream, Sage Cigarettes, New World Writing, Bending Genres, Flash Frog, Ghost Parachute, Ruminate Online, Trampset, Ellipsis Zine, and elsewhere. Her chapbook “Static Disruption” is available from Alien Buddha Press. Her collection “Flight Instinct” is forthcoming from ELJ Editions (2022). Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, the Pushcart Prize, and is included on the Wigleaf Top 50 longlist. Follow her on Twitter @sbdobbie, and on Instagram at @sbdobwrites. To read her published works check out her website: https://sarabeth1.wixsite.com/saradobbie