Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writers on Wednesday: Heather Sutherlin

This week I am happy to bring back the Writers on Wednesday feature with Heather Sutherlin, a friend and fellow Arkansan writer.  Note Heather's involvement, below, in local writers' groups here in Arkansas.  Way to go, girl!  She's also offering scavenger-hunt fun on her blog:  Heather homeschools her kids and writes Young Adult fiction while also leading a young writers group, inspiring a new generation of authors.  For this article, I asked Heather to share what inspires her.

Christine asked me to explain what inspires me.  Are you sure you want to know? You’re going to laugh. I promise. Most writers are inspired by other writers, by great works of literature or deeply poetic verse. Many today are inspired by the vibrant throng of humanity surrounding them or the depth of human emotion. Not me. I’m inspired by trees.
I like trees. Not just one tree. Trees, standing close together, growing thick and tall until you would call them a wood or, even better, a forest. I adore forests. There is something truly spellbinding about a forest path. I am enticed by the sounds, the way the leaves rustle over head in the breeze, like a lady shaking out her taffeta skirts. My senses heighten as a bird sings in the distance, hidden from sight as the sound drifts toward me. The trees bend and creak as the wind works it magic against their force. Squirrels chatter as they scamper along branches, sending a shower of acorns rattling their way to the forest floor and somewhere nearby a twig snaps. The sound of trickling water always pulls me to a standstill as I listen for the sweet sound of water rushing over mossy covered rocks.
I love forests. I love how the sunlight filters in through the leafy canopy, its rays somehow softened and yet twice as sparkly as it captures dust particles dancing through the air. I smile at the artistic patterns on the forest floor that dance and sway as the light passes through the branches above. When a bright ray of light breaks through to highlight a patch of fern or mossy covered ground, I find myself drawn through the darkness toward its sunny location as though it were sacred somehow, this bright spot in a dark wood.
There, in the quiet expectant wood, my heart races. I feel anticipation building within me, as though something incredible were about to happen. Here there must be magic. Here, in this still moment, I will finally make sense of some chaotic element of my world. I find myself searching for something I can’t quite explain, and that is when I find another sort of magic – Inspiration.
All of my books so far draw on these very real emotions and experiences. Every one of my main characters has found her true purpose, her greatest adventure, in the shadow of a familiar wood. It’s not a theme I believe will disappear anytime soon in my work. There, in the forest, anything seems possible. So, when I’m feeling dry and weary, frazzled and feckless, I go to the woods. I’ll take my notebook along for good company and in it capture those bits of magic that drift my way, saving them for another day. Back in the big city, tucked away at my writing desk far from the quiet calm of nature, I’ll pull out that notebook and breathe in the magic once again. Then, I’ll pour it all out for you, dear reader. I’m saving the best for you.

 Author Bio

1999 – B.A. in Elementary Education from Harding University
2009 - Created Write Start, a workshop for young writers.
2011 - 1st Place White County Creative Writers’ Conference First Chapter Contest
2012 – Debut novel, A Light in the Darkness, is released along with its sequel, To Light the Path.
2013 – Seen and Wandered, two books in a new YA fantasy series, will be released in the spring.
Featured Author – Arkansas Literary Festival
President - Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas

Heather Sutherlin lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children. She loves all things creative and enjoys the worlds she dreams up, longing to live the adventure alongside her characters. When she’s not at her writing desk, she is busy exploring and learning with her children or cooking big, elaborate meals in the kitchen with her husband.

You can see more of Heather at her website,
Or, email her at


  1. How wonderful - I live on the edge of an ancient 'magical' forest too, outside London, UK. I didn't think there was anyone else so inspired by trees!

    1. Sounds beautiful! how does the forest inform your writing?

  2. Nice post. I'm inspired by talented people.

    1. Then I'm delighted you stopped by here! Please come back again :)

  3. hi christine. i'm stopping in from heather's scavenger hunt and am looking forward to reading more of your blog too. i am inspired by many things including other people, interesting photographs, beautiful paintings, nature, etc. i'm kinda ecclectician (yup, just made up a word). anyhoo, thanks!

  4. Hi Christine. Hi Heather.

  5. Hi Christine! I'm stopping in from Heather's scavenger hunt. As a single mother, I must say that others like myself, inspire me the most!