Sarah Doran, author and military children’s book creator, has experienced almost every side of military life- from growing up as a military child, to her time as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic, and currently as a veteran and military spouse. Sarah found her true passion for writing with the help of a good friend’s advice – which inspired her to create stories for and about military children.
MilspoFAN: What book are you currently publishing?
Sarah: “The Peppered Sky” follows military children siblings, Haleigh and Mason, on their way to watch an airborne paratrooper training exercise! This story is inspired by my own memories watching my paratrooper dad jump out of C130s at Fort Bragg. Preordering goes LIVE on July 1 at: www.kickstarter.com/projects/thepepperedsky/the-peppered-sky. My stories are written to encourage, empower and instill a sense of pride in military family life.
MilspoFAN: Tell us a little about yourself, your journey as a military spouse, and where you are today.
Sarah: I am an Army veteran (3/227 AHB, 1 ACB, 1 CD) and prior MIL spouse and Army brat. Now I’m an author living outside Fort Hood, TX, and I write military children’s picture books. I live with my husband, two boys and cat, Autumn. I grew up the daughter of an Army chaplain and we lived at Fort Bragg, NC, Fort Monmouth, NJ, Fort Campbell, KY, Fort Leavenworth, KS and Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy. My husband and I were stationed at Fort Hood, TX for our entire enlistment, deploying once to Iraq in 2009 and once to Afghanistan in 2011.
MilspoFAN: How did you become a writer?
Sarah: I think I’ve pretty much always been a writer at heart. I’ve written a variety of things over the years including poetry, songs, and short stories, but I never really pursued writing professionally until 2020. My writing, to me, lacked something, but I didn’t quite know what it was. Another writer friend of mine told me I should “write what I know”. I grew up a military child, I joined the Army at 21 and then married a soldier… so I definitely know the military. I’ve always had a heart for military families, but couldn’t figure out how to manifest that passion. When I realized the huge lack of military children’s stories, I knew it was what I was meant to do. My goal as an author is to inspire warmth, joy and understanding for military children.
MilspoFAN: Describe for us your creative process and how that influences what you write?
Sarah: My creative process is different for every line of every book! Being a homeschool mama, my moments of creativity and solitude are limited. Sometimes lines come to me while I’m doing the dishes or drying my hair. Other times, stories float around in my head for days, with only scribbles or notes in my phone to show for it. I try to give myself lots of grace in my writing and processes.
MilspoFAN: How has your role as a military spouse impacted your work as a writer- creatively, logistically, or otherwise?
Sarah: Being a military spouse has afforded me a place of authenticity when writing my stories. I know what it is like to be a military spouse, with the uncertainty, constant demands and ever-changing roles, locations and adjustments. I want to write stories that authentically reflect and represent the culture, values and patriotism of military families, and being a military spouse has given me another military perspective from which to write.
MilspoFAN: What’s next for you?
Sarah: More military children’s books! I have several titles in addition to “The Peppered Sky”, ready to get published. “Sleeping Giants” follows military child Finn and his aircraft mechanic Mom into a world of Army helicopters, imagination and wonder! This story is inspired by my time at Fort Hood, serving as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic. I have also written deployment, PCS and military culture stories. Getting these and more military children’s stories into the hands of military kids and families is my dream and I cannot wait to see what comes next!
MilspoFAN: What is the most practical piece of advice that you would give to other writers?
Sarah: My friend’s advice has been so instrumental in my own writing career. Write what you know. And don’t give up! My first story was not good… and it wasn’t written from a place of passion or mission. Once I found my mission, I finally had the passion that my stories had previously been lacking. When you’ve written something you are really proud of, take time to walk away. For a day, a week, a few months. When you return to it, you’ll have fresh eyes and the story will only get better. Keep writing. There are so many stories unwritten and the world needs to hear yours!
Find Sarah online at:
“The Peppered Sky” on Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/thepepperedsky/the-peppered-sky?ref=clipboard-prelaunch