Exclusive Interview with

Sally Rawhey

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When did you start writing?

I've been writing poems for as long as I can remember. The sound of rhyming words always caught my attention and warmed my heart. I still have handwritten poems that I wrote as early as six years old.

Sally Rawhey
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What makes writing your passion?

Writing is the voice of my heart, the wings of my soul..writing allows me to climb past my limits and walls. I am all me, when the pen takes the lead, unchained, unconstrained...free.

Sally Rawhey
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How long have you been writing?

I can't state a date since writing has been part of my life all along, I chose journalism at university to make sure writing would be my career, then every job I joined after, had a great deal of writing involved.

Sally Rawhey
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What was the feeling when you published your first book?

My first book "The Unspoken Voices" felt like my baby. It was published in 2018 by the British Publishing House, Olympia Publishers. It had pieces and traces of my life all over it. For two whole years I have a copy in my bag that I never move without. It has become a part of me.

Sally Rawhey
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What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

My selection of poems described many people in my life. People who symbolized the true essence of love, people who carry the seeds of kindness, like those who struggled with tough challenges in their life yet find it in their heart to reply with good to all. I have picked from the faces of the world the ones that lit with love and tried to portray with poems the beauty of their hearts and souls.

Sally Rawhey
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What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

Well the only draw back with being a poet is that not so many people are interested in reading poetry books, even those who enjoy poetry and value it, most people would prefer to buy and read different genres.

Sally Rawhey
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How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

I am quite lucky that I don't experience a writer's block often instead when I don't write it is rather me not wanting to write and not about me being "unable to write". Its more likely to happen when I am discouraged or feeling empty. But I refuse to linger long in that state and I pick up my pen and I fly away as far and as high as I can.

Sally Rawhey
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We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

I would tell the new poets hoping to take this career; You are a million things in one, release your soul, let it take over your heart and soak it with love before you write. Then befriend your words and write, write everywhere and all the time.... speak your heart without fear. Follow no rules when you write so that you may find your own voice. And never go back and judge yourself for anything your wrote, it is all part of your journey.

Sally Rawhey
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If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

There will be stops in life where you will have to change your path, do not carry regret in your heart, it was meant for your best interest even if at times you think you are losing, truth is you are gaining. I would tell my younger self this poem :
I was once too many
had the ambition of a dozen
possessed the will of a nation
owned the dream of a tribe
held the sun in one hand
called all Earth my land
victorious with no victories
destiny at my demand
my path was full of failures
yet above them I stand..

(From The Unspoken Voices)

Sally Rawhey
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Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

I respect them, appreciate them and I try to understand the reasons, perhaps I learn something new from it ,even if it hurts.

Sally Rawhey
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What is the feeling when you get a good review?

It's an incredible feeling, nothing like it. Euphoric moment. Appreciation is such a grand prize when you feel you touched the heart of others, brought happiness in any way to people. That is the greatest accomplishment.

Sally Rawhey
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Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Yes, my poems have a lot of my personal experiences and a lot of real life incidents and cases about people I lived with. But also it has a lot imaginary stories, dreams and fantasies that I never lived in reality. Let me share my little poem, it say it all. It's called "A Poet"

I fell in love a million times
traveled beyond the countries I visited
by miles and miles
walked in shoes of others far more wise
died and lived in other people's lives
felt emotions unexperienced by my own eyes
judge me not by my reality,
reality often lies..

Sally Rawhey
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Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

It is very different when talking poetry.

Sally Rawhey
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What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

The book cover is the doorway to a book, it either resonates with the reader and makes him reach out to look at it or it passes unnoticed and the chance is gone. The book cover is the siren call that draws one to surrender to a book and allow it to consume precious time of his life.

Sally Rawhey
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Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

I enjoy very much communicating with my readers, many of them have become friends. I also organise a monthly online open- mic event and many of my readers join in with other international poets to read their poems. It has become a stable event since June 2020, a way to escape the tough isolation that covid 19 enforced on us. It's a day that my readers and I await every month.

Sally Rawhey
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How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

It sure makes me so happy to be appreciated. I have been very fortunate to be featured in several magazines, radio networks and podcast interviews. These are very proud moments.

Sally Rawhey
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Who is your favorite author? Why?

Jalal as-din Rumi is my favorite Author/ Poet, a Sufi mystic Poet born in the 13th century who wrote the most beautiful poems ever written about love. His ecstatic poems have sold millions of copies in the recent years even though he was born 807 years ago.

Sally Rawhey
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What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

I dream big and up there, I see : Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Battett Browning, Mary Oliver, so many other names. I also have great admiration to Rupi Kaur, she added a new flavor to poetry.

Sally Rawhey
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Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?

No, I wouldn't rewrite any of my books, I wouldn't have them any other way. They spoke of a moment as it was in my life, captured the feel and the taste, and that can not be reversed.