Author Interview & Giveaway: Elizabeth Sutherland
Today, I chat with Liz Sutherland, author, blogger, speaker, and advocate. She graduated from Western Carolina University with degrees in Computer Information Systems and Criminal Justice. Now, she lives in Tampa, Florida, running her blog, No Ordinary Liz. There, she shares her experiences and knowledge as a way to educate and inspire others. She is a frequent speaker for organizations such as the Women of Compassion Forum, 4Kids, and The Junior League of Tampa Bay. Liz was featured in the 2010 anthology Growing Up in the Care of Strangers. Her memoir, No Ordinary Liz, was published in 2018.
Part memoir, part guide to those in all aspects of the foster care system, chronicles Liz’s early life in the foster care system. Liz has no memory of the first few years of her life, until she and her siblings were dropped at a stranger’s house they were told was their grandmother. After years of abuse, they finally escaped, only to be separated and thrust into the foster care system. The day she turned 18, Liz was on her own. From there, she struggled to survive on her own, eventually succeeding and learning her birth story.
Liz was kind enough, not only to agree to an author interview, but offered to give away a copy of her memoir to a lucky reader!
All you have to do it read our interview and leave a comment. One winner will be selected on Wednesday morning, May 27th. (U.S. entries only.)
Author Interview: Elizabeth Sutherland
Ramona Mead: In general, does writing energize or exhaust you?
Liz Sutherland: I believe writing is very therapeutic and energizing. Your thoughts to paper are yours and nobody else’s. It’s invigorating to be able to tell a story in a blog or a book. I like writing that makes the reader feel like they are right there experiencing the moment with me.
RM: What part of the book was hardest to write?
LS: I would have to say the part about being separated from my siblings when we entered foster care. Having to relive that memory took a toll on me for a few days. No one never wants to be seperated from those you love, but sometimes, life has other plans.
LS: Since launching, I feel that people have responding to my book rather well. I feel that this book can relate to most individuals regardless if you grew up in foster care or not. If anyone is struggling with any obstacles in their life, my book can help them embrace that obstacle and find light in the matter.
RM: Are you hearing from kids who have been in the foster care system, or foster parents?
LS: Yes, all the time. You know, when I wrote this book, I had hoped that teens in foster care would get their hands on a copy and after they read it, it would ignite them to go chase their own dreams and to show that regardless of their current path, they were destined for greatness. I’ve heard from several foster youth who were about to age out tell me that they were inspired by my story and they could relate. That made me feel good. Afterall, this is not my story I’m telling, but theirs! Foster parents have been really receptive to the book as well. They tell me all the time how it opens up their eyes to the journey a foster youth goes on and appreciates the view of walking in their shoes to try and understand who they are. I also wanted to shed light on foster parents and show that they are indeed valued and appreciated.
RM: What’s your preferred method for writing? Do you write by hand at all?
LS: You should see all the journals I bought to get my writing juices started. I thought that if I wrote it by hand, I could get into it more easily. I had a lot of thoughts on paper, but that was just it. Thoughts. I spent a lot of time at books stores looking for self help writing books. But at the end of the day, I prefer a blank word document on my laptop with the flashing cursor and the sounds of the keyboard.
RM: Some writers create a bubble around themselves until they’re finished with a project – would you say that pertains to you at all?
LS: I wouldn’t call it a bubble per se. In working with my publisher, I had a short window to get my book written. So I travelled to NC and submerged myself into the Great Smoky Mountains for a few weeks. After that, all my time on the weekends were spent at various coffee shops in small quaint towns and beaches for hours at a time sipping on much needed caffeine. I needed the variety to help keep me in the moment of writing my story. It worked!
RM: Do you read much? If so, who are your favorite authors?
LS: Unfortunately, I don’t read as much as I should. If I do choose to pick up a book every now and again, I enjoy reading local authors who are like me.
RM: Can you tell us about any current/future projects you’re working on?
LS: Prior to the pandemic, I had several fun projects on the horizon. From traveling to do speaking engagements at foster parent conferences, working with local legislature, books signings, etc. Now, with everything on hold, I work with local agencies to do virtual speakings, sharing my story for articles, etc.
Many thanks to Liz for taking the time to answer my questions.
Don’t forget to leave a comment below and good luck in the giveaway!
And, if you don’t want to wait, you can buy the book here!