Kelly-Anne Tomlinson-Docherty, writer, photographer and self-proclaimed artist and swiss-army-knife type of all-rounder discusses what goes on in her world.
If your life resembled a book, which book would you choose and why?
I would say that my teens and 20’s were definitely a mix between Belle de Jour and Eat, Pray, Love; I was learning about myself, working through my rather intense emotions and trying to find myself and where I wanted to be. I felt pretty much adrift at sea and took every opportunity that I could. To travel, to hang out with different groups of people, to experience quite a few things out of the norm. Now I am a mother; settled and still trying to find myself, I could say that my life now resembles something from Hurrah for Gin.
What inspires your photography?
I have always appreciated shape, shadow and something that elicits deep emotional connections. For me, trees are a great subject matter. They are aged, weathered, bending and stretching and casts interesting shadows against the horizon. If you look closer, no tree is the same. I love abandoned buildings; broken and neglected things hold a certain beauty. Then, there is the beauty of life – little colourful villages, landscapes pitted between towns and forest, my children, random animals that I come across. Everything in a sense is its own little universe, and for a time, I am a part of it too. Or even my own imperfections; scars, photography when I’ve been at the height of depression and felt like I was slowly sinking into madness. Yes, I do selfies – because we should all have a vanity moment too… and when I feel like crap, a decently edited or angled selfie can make me feel less like a scarecrow even in reality that I still look like a scarecrow.
What is the most surprising thing that few would know about you?
- I hold a lot of secrets. Most of them my own and my truths are like a 1000 lifetimes.
- I suffer from mental health issues. I am on medication. I am also trying to get out of my hermit lifestyle and work on healing. I have PTSD from a huge loss in my life. And I am so particular about things – like I don’t eat, use or relax in my living room – it is for the kids and my room is my sanctuary.
What is your favourite piece of writing to date and why?
This has to be Painted Feels – as I used quite a few mediums in that piece of writing. I made a playlist on Spotify that is to be played alongside the story. To create a form of synaesthesia. Some have said it made the story more intense to read, for some it was distracting and suffocating, to others, highly triggering. All my goals. The story was about a painter serial killer with synaesthesia and his latest victim which impacted his art.
Why do you enjoy deeply psychological or triggering subject matters?
Things happen; whether you are a good person or not, I like to delve into its impact on an individual and I heavily research to make it as real as possible. I like looking at why and how people act the way that they do, the impact on the world around them and the impact on the individual. It is fascinating. Raw. Sometimes rather dark and I think it comes from aspects of my own experiences. Yes, it is always exhausting to write, but if I like and find that it affects me then I know I have done well on the subjects.
How do you stay out of a slump?
Energy drinks. Lists. Using what quiet time I have between kids dropped off to school and picked up and I plan my weeks – each day has its goal and it keeps me going.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?
I’d probably be behind the scenes somewhere, supporting some CEO and being the best “someone” any business could have. I work hard and like to be needed in a company. I learn fast and can handle a lot of pressure. Plus I am an expert prioritizer. I also keep a range of skills fresh – from using up to date tech, a wide range of programmes, social media and I also am happy being busy.
What is the best piece of advice that you would give someone?
Self-care is largely neglected in our fast-paced world. You are bombarded with the idea of perfection and are pressured to just handle the world. I would say to give yourself a day or a few hours at least to do nothing but look after yourself. Whether you have a nap, paint your nails or just do nothing. Looking after yourself actually helps the other areas of your life. If you neglect yourself, eventually, those spinning plates will fall.
When are you happiest?
Just before bed, when everyone is asleep, everything is off and my mind wanders before I too succumb to sleep. That and when my kids are feeling particularly loving. My youngest [autistic] son feels things so intensely and most of the time wants space but occasionally he will randomly give me a hug and kiss and tells me that he loves me. It means the world to me because I have to be here and be on his wavelength so his brain can handle each day. He has a lot of bad days but when he is in a loving mood – he shows by action, rarely by words. It makes all the bad days worth it.
What makes you feel productive?
A clean house, a checklist ticked off, coursework done, a podcast done and knowing that I am ahead of a lot of things. Achievement, however small it appears to be, is hugely gratifying.
What advice would you give for anyone working from home?
Get into a routine. Plan your days in advance. Find your workspace and prioritise! Communicate with whoever you are working for and be available. Good internet. Alarms. Regular breaks and lots of coffee.
Which writers do you admire most and why?
I follow a lot of indie writers on twitter. I admire their dedication, hard work and they are all a bunch of really nice, focused people. I love Laurell K. Hamilton. She’s really cool – honest, true to herself and a badass. The writers on my master’s course are so varied and raw; they know themselves and their craft and give amazing critiques. I wouldn’t say I am the best a critiquing, in fact, I find it frustrating because I have moments where I forget the right words or can’t truly focus – but I try. We are all very different too so you have to keep in mind that our stylings are unique to ourselves and to not push your own writing-belief-systems on eachother.
What projects do you have planned next?
I have coursework to do – a short story and a 15k work major piece. The last one is about a girl facing parole after killing her parents yet protecting her baby brother. It’s a heavily researched piece but will need tons of editing. I have been working on and off on a dystopian novel about a fascist political party that takes over Britain, with the goal of “returning Britain to it’s former [Empire] glory”. I also do podcasts weekly which is a sort-of journal/learning sort of podcast – I talk about anything from my life, writing, to interesting things that my listener might enjoy. It’s a good outlet; not professionally edited so pretty raw and real. I will also be adding things to my website store, regularly blogging on both my professional and personal blogs and I go on my socials daily.
You can find Kelly-Anne Tomlinson-Docherty on:
And her podcast From Mind to Mouth, can be found on all major podcasting platforms and also her website.
Her first published novel Black Moon Rises: The First Book can be purchased directly from Katomdoc.com or via Amazon.
The mentioned Playlist for Painted Feels can be found on Spotify.