Friday, September 21, 2012

Interview with Sally Stackhouse-KoMF Winner

This morning I have the pleasure of introducing you to Sally Stackhouse from Sally's Scribbles.
Let's get right to it.

It's great to have you here Sally, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in a small farming village in the South East of England in the Weald of Kent. I used to go with my mother and grandmother during the school holidays fruit picking, mainly blackcurrants and then later apple picking.

Oh I love apple picking in the fall.

My grandmother worked nine months of the year on the hops, starting with training them right up
to picking them and sorting them standing at the great big machine. I still love the smell of hops.
We used to have strings of hops on the ceilings of the ‘outhouse’ (a building attached to the main
house but with a sink and counter tops and toilet).

We moved to a large market/railway town when I was 16 when my father retired from the Royal
Navy and had to find employment in Civvy Street.

I've never smelled hops before.  That sounds like a wonderful setting for a story.
Speaking of stories, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I always had aspirations of writing but it never came to anything as jobs and family filled in all
my time until recently.

It's so hard to carve out time for writing.  I'm still struggling with that. When you do find time, what  inspires you to put pen to paper?

Ordinary everyday life and people, I love people watching whether I am out shopping, enjoying a meal out or generally observing people.

Oh me too!  My husband says I listen in to people's conversations far too often, but there is so much good material, I can't help it!
What books have influenced you the most?

The classics from my childhood, Heidi, Black Beauty (I cried and cried), Treasure Island (rather
violent I thought) and the classics from school, Dickens, Shakespeare, Pride and Prejudice,

Wuthering Heights and a personal favourite Louisa May Alcott and Little Women (I cried again)
and the follow up books. Then I moved on to Agatha Christie and mysteries, detective stories
and whodunits.

My favourite authors at the moment are Phillippa Gregory, Louise Penny, Jodi Picoult, Joanne
Harris, Jeffrey Deaver. Science fiction and fantasy, Arthur C. Clark, Ann McCaffrey and the
Dragon books and various others.

A real favourite is Jean M. Auel and her Clan of the Cave Bears series, they are fantastic books.
Oh to be able to write anywhere near some of these authors would be a dream come true.

Wow you have a lot of great books on your list.  Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorites and I've been wanting to read Clan of the Cave Bears.

What are you working on right now?

I have an idea for a book (don't we all) and have actually started it but I must admit I really
haven’t got very far. I love writing poetry but am now enjoying trying my hand at flash fiction.

We are certainly glad you are writing flash fiction! :)
I started doing some flash fiction pieces with my characters from my WiP, as back story and that helped me figure them out enough to keep moving ahead.

Other than finding time, what is the most challenging aspect of writing for you?

Wondering if other people will like what I am writing. Self doubt is the bane of most writers’

Hmm, yes I think we all struggle with that.  But I think if you write what is in your heart, you will find an audience.
Blogging is a great way to get your work out there and begin building a following.  How long have you been at it and what is the best part about being in the blogosphere?

I am a very new blogger and only started a blog because I wanted to join the A – Z challenge this
year which is where I came across some lovely helpful people. The best part is ‘meeting’ people
from all over the world and from all walks of life and all ages. The help bloggers give each other
generously and freely is an unexpected bonus of the blogosphere community.

I agree.  There are so many people who eagerly give their time and knowledge to help others.  It's very inspiring.  I'm finding that the best part about co-hosting the Knights of MicroFiction challenges is that I have an excuse to contact the winners and really get to know them better.  :)

Do you have any big goals for this year?

I’m not usually one for setting goals except in my head. I think the biggest one is to try and stay

Oh that's very important.  Without health it's hard to accomplish anything else.  Good luck. (and eat your veggies!) :)
What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I knit. I’ve just made 20 hats with bobbles to go on top of the Innocent drinks for AgeUK – every
bottle of drink sold ‘wearing’ a hat will have 25p donated to AgeUK.
I’ve just made a knitted lacy scarf for my god daughter and a chunky cardigan for my step
I also make and create greeting cards and Christmas cards.
I love to cook and bake.
I also have to do have to work to earn some money and I work from home as a transcriber.

Oh neat. I always wanted to learn to knit, but never got around to it.  AgeUK sounds like a good cause.
Is there anything else we should know about you?

Two years ago I had a heart attack which made me re-evaluate my life and my lifestyle and I
am so grateful to the medical staff who helped me recover and to my wonderful husband who
is such a support to me and my family. I am enjoying this period of my life as I watch my
grandchildren grow up.

That's scary.  I'm glad you have such a wonderful support system.  Friends and family can help us overcome so much.  It's great that you have time now to spend with your grandchildren, your perspective on life will help them grow to be better people.

Thanks Sally for being with us today.

Have a great weekend

Kathy :)


  1. Glad the A to Z Challenge inspired you to start blogging! The first Challenge made a world of difference for me.
    Great interview, ladies!

  2. Great interview! It's nice to learn more about you Sally! I knew you were a Louise Penny fan, but I didn't know you were into Philippa Gregory. I just read the Kingmaker's Daughter. I love reading your blog. I think I've asked you this before - have you read any of the Maisie Dobbs books by Jacqueline Winspear? I think you would like them.

  3. Alex- The Challenge is what got me really hooked on blogging too!

    Dena- Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi girls! What a lovely interview. Now I know why I 'click' with you Sally. Nearly every book you mentioned is a favourite of mine, including Heidi, my all time fave as a child. Just bought classic copies of both Heidi and Black Beauty so I can introduce my students to them.
    I'm sorry to hear you've had a heart attack, but very glad you had good care and survived. Now your life will be so much richer as you'll appreciate every moment!
    Also glad you've started writing a book. Why not join up for NaNoWriMo this November. It really helps get that novel completed.
    Am also glad you write for us at RomanticFridayWriters. You are an inspiration!
    Hope you had a great weekend with your hubs!


  5. I've heard hops described in books before, but I'm wondering what they smell like.

    So glad you recovered from your heart attack. I'm constantly watching my health, cholesterol, exercise, etc.