I wrote The Road to Home for the readers who love stories about family, stories with tension and conflict, but they also want a hopeful story.
R.A. Douthitt – 7 May 2022
The Back Flap
Thirteen-year-old Molly moves with her family to a small town after the death of her mother. There she meets an abandoned dog who grieves the loss of his family, too. Together, they help each other cope. But Molly resents her father’s decision to remarry. Being forced to leave behind the life she once knew and accept a new family proves to be too much change for her broken heart to handle. Can she learn to trust again? Or will she always yearn for the road to home?
About the book
What is the book about?
Molly is a teenager who is grieving the loss of her mom. When her dad remarries and moves them to a small town, Molly’s grief is compounded by so much sudden change and loss. She meets an abandoned dog, Buddy, also struggling from the loss of his family, and together they help each other cope. Molly meets the townsfolk and learns much about them all and how they adopted Buddy as their own. She also uses her artistic talent to cope and learn how to express herself.
When did you start writing the book?
I wrote this book over the summer of 2021. I found it soothing to write about a girl recovering from the loss of her mom because I lost my mom six years ago and relied on my art to cope with grief.
How long did it take you to write it?
It only took me two months to write the book, design the cover, get it edited, have beta readers read it, make revisions, and obtain endorsements from authors. So, I released it in September 2021.
Where did you get the idea from?
I think the idea first came to me when my son brought home a dog he rescued from the shelter. Buddy has been such a blessing to us. And then I decided to make Molly a teen struggling with grief because I wanted to write this story to help out anyone struggling with grief. Writing about a dog and art was the perfect blend for me because I love both!
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
The parts about the dog sitting in the road everyday waiting for his family to come back and get him always made me teary-eyed. Also, writing the “goodbye” scene between Molly and her mom was tough to write, but the story flowed easily for me. It is probably the most autobiographical book I have written yet.
What came easily?
Writing Molly as an artist came easily to me. Like Molly, I relied heavily on my art as a teen to get me through tough times at home and in school. So, describing how she sketched or how she saw things came easily to me.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
They are fictitious but Molly is a lot like me. The dog, Buddy was a blend of dogs: My son’s black dog he rescued and my childhood dog, Jake. Jake was a gorgeous Golden retriever.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion left a huge impression on me when I was a kid. I drew horses everyday after reading that book. I loved how he wrote the young boy, Alec, and his time on the island with the horse. Plus, the horse race scenes were so exciting. He taught me how to tell a story.
Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows was perhaps the most impactful book I read in my childhood. I loved how he starts it off as a flashback and then how descriptive he was in his storytelling. Plus…dogs!
Right now, Susan May Warren is an author I admire because she writes wonderfully, and she writes various genres. She writes romance, suspense, time-travel, and more. I admire her as a prolific author as well as talented.
Do you have a target reader?
I wrote The Road to Home for the readers who love stories about family, stories with tension and conflict, but they also want a hopeful story. My book offers a sweet story of a family progressing through grief but with a message of hope that faith in God provides.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
I am a planner, in that I do plot out my books scene by scene. I brainstorm the idea first and typically ask writer friends for feedback.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I use Trello to set up my book’s characters and each chapter. Trello has lists, so I have a list per chapter with three scenes per chapter. I’ll jot down what’s happening in each scene and so on. I also use a list for each character and post a photograph of what I think the character looks like. I also create a playlist of songs on Spotify to help me when I’m writing. Usually songs from movies in the genre I’m writing.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I taught writing and language arts, so I am tempted to edit as I go, but I’ve learned not to do it.
Did you hire a professional editor?
Yes! An independent author should always hire a professional editor to edit their books. A professional editor knows how to check the story for plot holes, they help with finding repeated words or phrases, in addition to checking for grammar.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
Yes! I create playlists for each book! Mostly movie soundtracks work best because they are already written for a story.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
Not anymore. I did for a while but not lately.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
My first book was published through a small house publisher. They were wonderful and made my dreams come true by publishing my book. But I decided to get my rights back and re-published my book along with all the others I have written. I found it easier to get my stories out there. I tend to publish 3 books a year. But, I do have a publisher interested in my next book that is a contemporary fiction for women.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
Because I am an artist, I now design my own covers. It’s been a lot of fun designing my covers and I have received excellent feedback on them.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I do have a plan but don’t always stick to it! For my next books, I will form a launch team, send out ARCS (Advanced Reader Copies), and a cover reveal on social media. Hopefully these moves will help me sell books.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Yes, do your best to learn the craft, hire an editor, find critique partners if you can, join writers’ groups, and remember why you write in the first place: Personal growth and fulfillment. That will help you get through the hard times, because this is a tough business. Hang in there and keep writing!
Where do you live now?
I live in sunny Arizona with my husband and our little dog.
What would you like readers to know about you?
That I am also a runner. I love to train for and run half marathons and have completed twenty-one. I also have completed seven full marathons and four ultramarathons. As I run, I do write scenes inside my head. I can definitely see how running a marathon and writing are so similar. You have to go one step at a time and keep going when it gets tough. Crossing the finish line is such a feeling of euphoria! Same with holding your book in your hands.
I also have a podcast called A Writer’s Day where I provide writing tips and interview published authors. I really enjoy talking with other writers because they are so inspiring!
What are you working on now?
I am writing book 3 in my Elves of Vulgaard series: Dragon Riders. I am illustrating the book, too. I also am writing a novella for a novella collection I and a few friends are publishing for a Christmas release. And then I am writing a novel set in Rome that was inspired by the classic Enchanted April, about two middle-aged friends who head to Italy for an adventure. In my story, one of the friends takes photographs of the doors of Rome, wondering what lies behind them. She writes emails home to her husband about her adventures because he refused to go with her. She hopes her stories of Rome will inspire him to come join her. It’s called The Doors of Rome.
End of Interview:
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