Author Spotlight no.76 – Sarah Dobbs

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the seventy-sixth, is of Sarah Dobbs, lecturer, novelist and co-founder of Creative Writing the Artist’s Way.

Sarah Dobbs is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing. Her first novel was published in 2007 by Siren and the second, Killing Daniel, will be published by Unthank this year. She is currently co-writing a study guide for English and Creative Writing, scheduled for publication in 2013 by Anthem Press. Her work has been broadcast by the BBC, published online and in print, and performed at ADC Theatre and Bolton Octagon. She has worked at Manchester, the OU, Lancaster, Blackburn and Edge Hill University. You can follow her on Twitter @sarahjanedobbs

And now from the author herself:

I set up Creative Writing the Artist’s way with my friend and colleague, Muli Amaye, last year. We had both studied for our PhDs together at Lancaster University and Muli had introduced me to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Take a Leap came about thanks to this book. Some people are massive devotees of the text, which basically spurs you on to grab your creativity, or hidden creativity, by the shoulders and give it a shake. Others simply dip in, sploshing their toes about in the proverbial water. If you’ve read it, you’ll recognised one, or a variation of, these descriptions. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? It’s a creative Turbo-boost.

The point though is that both of us read Cameron’s book and wanted to do something with it. We both love teaching. We both love writing. And we know from experience teaching at universities, in the community and at adult education centres, that many courses have similar frameworks. So we set up Creative Writing the Artist’s Way. While Cameron’s book encourages all forms of creativity, our courses specifically draw upon the philosophy of the book to nurture writing, and, in some way perhaps, the individual behind it.

In January 2012, we decided to run a flash competition on the theme of Take a Leap, which basically underpins the ideas behind the book and our courses. We hadn’t anticipated such a positive response. Our initial idea was to publish five amazing stories and find one overall winner. We thought about releasing the stories as a series of e-chapbooks. But when it came to making our final decisions, we couldn’t. We’d get near five and be niggled by one we’d let go and the process would start over again. So we cheated. We opened the competition up a little. Hopefully, people will enjoy the results as much as we do.

Each of the ten stories in ‘Take a Leap’ delights in their own way, from Karen Holst Bundgaard’s atmospheric ‘On a Fence’, to Louis McDermott’s lingeringly emotive, yet impressively sparse, ‘The Carpet’, to Joanne Mallon’s ‘Goodge Street Station’, in which the author gently toys with our theme, to Avril Scott’s exciting and empowering ‘Martha’s Decision’. And there’s much more besides. We must, however, draw attention to the story that we selected as the overall winner of the competition. Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s story ‘Easter Snow’ is beautifully written. And that’s all we can, and need, to say. The author does everything else.
The stories in this flash fiction collection will excite and entertain. They might even encourage you to take your own leap. Whatever that entails.

Authors:  Emily Howe, Joanna Mallon, Liz Hanley, Karen Holst Bundgaard, Angela Readman, Josh Williams, Stella Turner, Avril Scott, Louis McDermott, Nuala Ní ChonchúirEditors: Sarah Dobbs and Muli Amaye

You can find more via…

The ‘Take a Leap’ e-anthology (available at Amazon).

Creative Writing the Artist’s Way: http://cwartistsway.wordpress.com

Personal Blog: http://sarahjanedobbs.wordpress.com

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with non-fiction author Ted Vestal – the three hundred and fortieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are also now on Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s ‘Contact me’ page or plain and simple, email me. I also have a second-person viewpoint story in charity anthology Telling Tales.

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