The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.
What name do you write under?
My name is Sarah Doughty and it is not a pseudonym. I wanted my real attached to my words, not just because it’s nice to see my name, but also as a means of showing I’m fully capable as a writer – which is something I was told I would never be able to do as a child. I very much wanted to prove that theory wrong. And I believe I have succeeded in that endeavor.
In what part of the world do you live?
I live in Indiana USA, in a suburb just outside Indianapolis. It’s an interesting place to live, I’ll leave it at that.
Tell us about yourself.
Writing has always been a passion of mine. Even as a child I dreamed up stories to tell and even used crayons to attempt to tell those stories. But my childhood wasn’t one of light and happiness. It was dark, cold, and full of horrors most people wouldn’t dream of. Not only was I a victim of abuse, I was a victim of daily abuse. In every way imaginable. For my entire childhood. In addition to all the physical things that happened to me, I was reminded on a daily basis how worthless I was to my abuser. How little I mattered, except for getting what he wanted out of me. I was told that any dreams I might have – like growing up, finding love, happiness, and being successful at anything, including writing – would never come to pass, because I simply wasn’t good enough to do those things. My entire childhood was marred by these daily occurrences. So much, that I suffer from complex PTSD, debilitating anxiety, and depression. It’s a battle I fight every day.
Where do you publish your writing?
My website is called Heartstring Eulogies – a place where I can share my soul in words. It can be found at www.sarahdoughty.com. I can also be found at @thesarahdoughty on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thesarahdoughty.
When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
A little over three years ago, I hit a wall. I was slowly remembering the worst of my abuse. The things that happened late at night after the world was asleep. The things that took place after I was beaten. At first I thought I was having some rather disturbing visions, dreams, and thoughts, but then I realized they were flashbacks. My worst fears were real. I wasn’t beaten unconscious when I was a child. My mind repressed the memories of being sexually abused. When I hit that wall, I found myself in a job that I loved, but crumbling under the pressure. I needed to do something for myself. I needed to finally turn to writing, one of the few things I can do that actually makes me feel better. Helps me to center myself and to calm down. I wanted a means of keeping myself accountable for my goals. Not only did I want to prove my abuser wrong – to prove to myself that I was capable of writing, and maybe, if I was lucky, find others that enjoyed reading my words as well. So I began to write. Every day. Even on holidays. I was writing. And it helped me feel better. It became a habit, a need. And I flourished doing it. It made me genuinely happy. I have been writing ever since. I accomplished my goal, and I have no intention of stopping.
What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?
Initially I wanted my website/Instagram to be a part of my daily accountability – to force myself to keep posting, to keep writing. But along the way, I found much more than that. I’ve met some incredible souls along this journey that I wouldn’t trade for anything. They are my sisters, my brothers, my support system. The ones I can turn to when I need some encouraging words. What I found was a family – a virtual one, but still very near and dear to my heart. They are what keep me going. Not just through their continued support, but for their love of what I share. And the souls I’ve touched – the readers I’ve been so fortunate to find – they are a daily reminder that I do have a gift and that I should continue sharing it.
When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?
I joined Sudden Denouement about a year ago. It’s strange to think that I’ve been a part of this amazing group for so long. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to have my name included with some amazing writers.
How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
I suppose it was a lucky twist of fate. At least I’d like to think so. I met some incredible writers, and as Sudden Denouement began to make a name for itself, it was like a piece of a puzzle that fit just right. When I expressed my interest to join, I was honored to have been accepted into the fold.
What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
I believe that writing should push boundaries. That it should hit deep into memories, emotions, and tackle tricky situations and global topics. When I see “Divergent Literature,” this is exactly what comes to mind. Every piece I have read that has crossed Sudden Denouement’s doors, has hit on something important – but not in the same fashion as most other collectives. Writers at Sudden Denouement dare to go deeper. They dare to do more. And that’s what I love about it.
Sudden Denouement Founder Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?
I think for many of us, this “secret language” is what we make of it. It’s how we share our souls with the world. How we can see, even between the lines, into the core of what these writers are saying. How we can relate on such a deep level and come out the other side feeling like we’ve met someone that knows exactly how we feel, or have felt in the past. I think we are all fluent in this secret language, and it brings us closer together.
Tell us about your literary influences?
Growing up, when I wasn’t writing, I was reading. Anything to escape my life and become someone else. I’ve always been drawn to the darker side of tales. The horrors, the paranormal. As long as the characters are worth believing in, or are worth caring about, it doesn’t matter to me how fantastical the story is. I want to see how they come out the other side. In a way, that makes the characters more real to me. That’s why I’ve always loved Poe and Dante Alighieri, and those dark epic poetries. That’s why I’ve always been fascinated with Stephen King. That’s also why I decided to never shy away from the dark or even the fantastical – as long as the characters are real and flawed – the story is worth telling and reading.
Has any of your work been published in print? How did that happen?
I’ve been published in many different publications through the years. School and university publications, online publications. Even a few anthologies and special collaborations that are now in print. I’ve always been humbled and honored when editors read my words and feel that they should be shared with their readers.
My books are like my babies. I wrote the stories because they nagged at the back of my head for years. They needed to be told. And I love my characters. I’m rooting for them all the way. I’ve laughed with them, cried with them, lived with them. Telling their stories has been incredibly fun – and incredibly healing at the same time. That was why I made the decision to self-publish them for free. As long as my stories help me to feel better about my dark past and my current issues, I don’t want cost to prevent someone from being able to read them.
What are your writing goals?
This last year has been especially hard on me, because I have migraines. They’ve been so severe that my books have been put on hold. I want to continue, and finish that initial story – wherever it leads me. It’s amazing how one scene in a dream has spawned an entire series of books – one big story. Beyond that, I want to continue writing the same kinds of stories that resonate with me – not just the stories, but the characters. So many more stories to tell, and I want to be able to tell them all.
Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
I have so many favorites, it’s difficult to choose. These are a few that I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.
The Essence of Regret
Set on Fire
What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
No matter where my story takes me, I am honored to be able to write these words and share them with the world. I am honored to have a voice when I had none growing up. I am honored to be alive, when there were so many times I could have died. I am honored to be among friends, writers, and family. I am so very honored to be a part of Sudden Denouement and to have this family on this journey with me. I hope that the future holds only good things for all of us.