A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Sara Dobbie

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Sara: I hope every story I write is meaningful in some way, but I suppose I’d have to say my novel, which is unpublished as of yet.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

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Lannie Stabile

with Lannie Stabile:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Lannie: I started writing when I was a wee lass of eleven or twelve. Back then, Shel Silverstein, Gary Soto, V.C. Andrews, and R. L. Stine really rocked my world.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Lannie: I’m influenced by writers I consider friends. People like Todd Dillard, Taylor Byas, Madeleine Corley, Danielle Rose, Jason B. Crawford, Rota, and Sam Herschel Wein. We often trade drafts among one another, and getting a first, raw glance at talent like theirs is always inspiring.


Q3: Any pivotal moments when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Lannie: In sixth grade, a student teacher had the class try their hand at poetry. I wrote a poem about a lion called “Long Live the King,” and it was well-received by the teacher and my peers. I definitely caught the bug then. But I started getting serious about writing just a few years ago, after a serious bout of depression. I thought, “You know what? It’s now or never.”

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Lannie: If I named everyone individually, it would take way too long. Suffice to say I have a robust support group on Twitter. Special shout out, however, to Jason and Rota who got me back in the saddle after a handful of years away from poetry.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Lannie: I grew up in Metro Detroit, but I don’t think where I grew up influenced my writing much. More so how I grew up. And that was poor, neglected, and surrounded by people I didn’t trust.

Q6: What do you consider the most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?

Lannie: Good Morning to Everyone Except Men Who Name Their Dogs Zeus is definitely my most meaningful work so far. I like to say the poems challenge Greek mythology, sexual assault, and men obsessed with other powerful men. I wrote it for myself, to work out some of my own trauma, but I published it for other survivors and the men who think this book isn’t about them. I really hope it changes someone’s life. Even just a little bit.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Lannie: I…uh…I’m not great at relaxing, to be honest. I mean, I read while walking on the treadmill.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?

Lannie: My wife, Kaitlyn, and I started rewatching CSI during the pandemic, and Grissom once quoted Thoreau: “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” That line really stuck with me.

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?


Absolutely. Next year, ELJ Editions is publishing my first flash fiction chapbook, Something Dead in Everything. My 2021 goal was to focus more on prose, so KACHOW! I also have a couple other poetry chapbooks looking for homes. Maybe I’ll have more to announce later in the year 😉

Twitter @LannieStabile

Instagram @Lannie_Stabile

Website LannieStabile.com