... Dolores Ayotte
1. Tell me about your book Up The “Down” Ladder ~ Simple Ideas To Overcome Depression and where you got your inspiration for it?
I have found that one of the most difficult things in life, for me and probably for many other people as well, is to embrace our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Our basic human nature is created with faults, foibles, and frailties. It is not to say that we don’t have many wonderful and desirable traits, but we seldom want to admit to some of the less complimentary ones, not even to ourselves.
I have discovered that when I honestly acknowledge and embrace my own weaknesses, they actually have less power over me and my actions. It’s when I refuse to admit my personal weaknesses that I come up short in being the true Christian I desire to be. In essence, the more aware I am of my flaws, the more able I am to control what I say and do.
It took me years to be honest and open about suffering from depression. Depression doesn’t always fall into the same category or receive the same compassion that physical illnesses do. Based on my experience, I still notice that many people are still very reluctant to openly discuss that they suffer from depression because it is considered to be a form of mental illness. I decided that it was time to “come clean” in order to help educate others in an effort to, not only help those who suffer from depression, but to better educate and inform people who are exposed to those who do.
It has been this realization that sparked my decision to journey down the path of writing and I haven’t looked back. I know in my heart it was the right way to go and this desire has been the inspiration behind all my writing…to help others.
2. Who has had the most influence in your life? What lessons did this person teach you?
The person who has had the most influence in my life is my husband. We started dating when we were in high school and have now been married for 44 years. The reason I have chosen him as this person is because I feel he was somewhat ahead of his time. Right from the very beginning of our friendship, he always treated me as an equal. I think this is a very important facet in all relationships. Being treated as an equal adds to the friendship or marriage and contributes to our self-esteem, personal growth, and gives us an all round sense of well-being.
3. How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a person with a strong character that is both considerate and kind….a woman that set the example rather than talked about what it should be. I would like to be considered as a leader of sorts. In other words, to be recognized as having the ability to lead or help when required but having the wisdom to know when to let go and back off at the proper time.
4. Do you have a writing process? If so describe it.
Due to the genre of my books…inspirational and self-help…I write in a journal like fashion. When I feel very strongly about a concept, I sit at my computer and just write. The words seem to flow so freely. In essence, the passion I have for any particular topic fuels my desire to write and the words just follow.
5. What is usually your first thought in the morning?
Every morning I wake up talking to God. I go over a variety of things with Him but mainly I express my gratitude for my family and friends, a good night’s sleep, my plans for the day ahead, and I also pray for others. I usually address some of the frustrations I may be facing at the time. I look for the guidance I may need in my daily journey. I do the exact same thing at night before I fall asleep.
6. Are you mostly a clean or messy person?
I am a clean person but not to the point of being fastidious. I like to keep as organized as possible so that I know where everything is in order to easily search it out when required. I like a tidy home. My kitchen is clean and I definitely make my bed everyday.
7. If someone came up to you and wanted to tell you about an idea or a book they were writing, what would you do? Or what advice would you give?
Actually a couple of would-be writers have actually already asked me how to get started or have shared their book ideas with me. I gave them some pretty simple advice. I suggested that “before” they start with the concept of writing an entire book…perhaps, they should start by writing a paragraph, a page, eventually a chapter, and so on. I discovered for myself that when I write in small doses it can be the beginning of a book that hasn’t yet taken shape. For a beginner, it’s great to think and dream big; however, in my opinion it’s better to start small and build from there. Every little step towards a book creates a sense of accomplishment and with that comes the desire to pursue your dreams even more. Writing books is multifaceted…it is not only important for the authors to creatively express themselves but it is equally important to them for others to read their work.
8. How would you describe yourself in three words?
9. Would you rather write for children or adults?
As an author of inspirational and self-help books, my target audience is the adult reader; however, as a mother, grandmother, and former teacher I would love to have the “gift” and ability to write children’s books. Maybe one day…
10. What are books for?
This is kind of a tough question to answer. I would have to say that it depends on the book and why the person has chosen to read it. In other words, it depends on the genre and the purpose or end goal of why the reader is engaged in his/or her book reading endeavor. Some books are to acquire knowledge…others are for pure enjoyment and a form of escaping… yet again, other books may be a way of seeking answers to a problem or getting help etc.
The reasons for writing a book may be as varied for the authors as they are for the readers. As I reader I like to be captivated by what I read. As an author I want my reading audience to be captivated by what I write.
11. Are you jealous of other writers?
I do not think I am jealous of other writers and their success as I have help promote their work at every opportunity. I will say this; however, when I notice how successful they are becoming or have become, I think that maybe one day I will also share in that kind of success as an author myself. A writer is encouraged to write more if they feel rewarded by how their work is perceived or received. That reward is not always reflected in high sales…it may be as simple as someone letting the author know how much they appreciate their books.
12. Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?
Based on that fact that I married my high school sweetheart…I would pretty much think I do agree with love at first sight. I was sixteen years old and in the 11th grade when I first spotted my husband to be. I mentioned him to one of my girlfriends about my attraction to him. My husband and I have a little line we share with each other...because he obviously spotted me too. It goes like this…”.I ran after him until he caught me”. In other words…we were both smitten at the same time. Therefore, in answer to both of your questions…Yes, I believe in love at first sight because I have experienced it!
13. What do you like most about being a writer?
In some respects, I am probably what one would consider to be a “late bloomer” when it comes to being a published author. I did try to write in my early thirties but with raising a family and working outside the home, this idea didn’t quite pan out. Twenty-five years later, at the urging of one of my daughters, I revisited this dream of mine. I have now published four books so obviously it was meant to be…and I love it! The thing I like most about being a writer is that it gives me the opportunity to express myself. Writers have something to say…and I am thrilled to have found my voice in this unexpected and creative format.
14. How do you overcome writers block?
I overcome writer’s block by just taking a break from writing. I then chose to read and enjoy the talents of other authors by reading and reviewing their books instead.
15. What is your favourite quote?
I am a huge fan of quotes and use them at every opportunity in all four of my books. This one by Victor Hugo reflects my sentiment about writing…“there is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come”. After waiting twenty-five years to pen my first book…I feel that my time has come.
16. Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
Several new authors have grabbed my attention. Actually they are too numerous to mention. Since becoming an author myself, I have become aware of how difficult it is to get book reviews. I now have a personal “pay it forward” plan. I read and review books for new or unknown authors every chance I get. I seldom read a book these days without leaving a review on Amazon. I now have over 200 book reviews posted there by a number of talented authors on a variety of different subjects and genres.
17. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t consider myself to be an author even after I published my first book. I soon realized how much this title meant to me and quickly changed my way of thinking when I published my second one.
18. What’s your favourite love story?
My favourite love story is “Return of the Native” by Thomas Hardy. It was required reading in high school. I also was deeply affected by “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. It was very memorable and it brought me to tears. The final quote in this book has stuck with me my entire life…"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known”.
19. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
It would be to…Live life to the fullest….Laugh with joyful tears running down your cheeks….and Love as much as humanly possible. Also….take yourself seriously during troubling times and reach out for help if need be. No one is exempt from the trials and tribulations life has to offer. The ability to cope during these difficult times is the key.
20. Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcovers?
I enjoy them all…but just over a year ago, my husband bought me a Kindle Reader for my birthday and it has opened up a whole new world for me. I am now an avid reader and book reviewer. I feel like I have a whole library at my fingertips and I read more than ever before…with a pleasure and gusto that is new to me and that has enhanced my life beyond words.
21. How did you come up with the title for this book?
I titled this book Up the “Down” Ladder because it describes that I was at a nadir or extremely low point in my life. I was overcome by what was going on and it felt like was drowning. My depression was actually so severe that I was hospitalized. In other words, I was at the bottom of the ladder when I opted to take that first step up the ladder to get out of the black waters surrounding me. I could not swim and I found myself to be in way over my head. It was a very big decision for me to learn how to help myself because at times, it seemed easier to do nothing and just go with the downward flow. The dismal draw of the murky waters can be inviting when you’re feeling sorry for your personal state of affairs rather than making an effort to swim. I had this “woe is me” attitude which wasn’t getting me anywhere.
My book is written in retrospect. It explains my experiences and what I did to turn my life around. My goal is to demonstrate to others that we can be “over-comers” and live full and rewarding lives even when faced with some of the most difficult challenges.
On a personal note ~ I would like to thank Sonnet for taking the time to interview me. I appreciate the questions she has so adeptly prepared. I would also like to thank all of you for spending a little time with me. Bright blessings to each of you!
Books by Dolores Ayotte
Dolores holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology as well as teacher certification in Manitoba, Canada. She has taken courses in human relations and communication. Upon completion of the Education 1A program at the University of Manitoba, she became a primary school teacher. During her teaching career Dolores furthered her education by completing her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology from the University of Winnipeg.
After leaving her teaching career, she became a bank employee for a major financial institution for a number of years. In her earlier years, she volunteered her time by teaching Christian education, tutoring, working in the school library, and belonging to the ladies church group.
She is now retired and spends half the year with her husband in a retirement community in Arizona. For the remainder of the year, Dolores enjoys her children and grandchildren in Winnipeg, Manitoba where she was born and raised. She continues to learn from all the people who touch her life. Upon moving to Pine Falls, Manitoba due to her husband's career change, Dolores assisted at Wings of Power and worked on the women's auxiliary at the local hospital. She also served on the Hospital Foundation Board.