Sunday, January 29, 2023


I want to thank Sara Ohlin for taking the time for this interview!


Puget Sound based writer, Sara Ohlin is a mom, wannabe photographer, obsessive reader, ridiculous foodie, and the author of the contemporary romance novels, Handling the RancherSalvaging LoveSeducing the Dragonfly, Igniting LoveFlirting with Forever, Promising Love and Embracing Love.

She has over twenty years of creative non-fiction and memoir writing experience, and you can find her essays at Anderbo.comFeminine CollectiveHer View from Home, and in anthologies such as Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Healthcare in America, Take Care: Tales, Tips, & Love from Women Caregivers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Sara loves creating imaginary worlds with tight-knit communities in her romance novels. She credits her mother, Mary, Nora Roberts and Rosamunde Pilcher for her love of romance.

If she’s not reading or writing, you will most likely find her in the kitchen creating scrumptious meals or perhaps cooking up her next love story.

She once met a person who both “didn’t read books” and wasn’t “that into food” and it nearly broke her heart. You can learn more on her website


When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I’ve always loved creating stories, first in my head and then on paper. But it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that writing really became my passion. And essays were my first love.

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

Oh gosh, yes! Lois Lowry, Mary Higgins Clark, Scott O’Dell, Amanda Quick, Rosamunde Pilcher…too many to remember them all!

Are any of your characters based on people in real life? 

I definitely infuse my characters with traits here and there of people I know, but most of my characters sort of appear as their own person in my head and nudge me to write them.

Where do you draw your book inspirations from? 

Definitely from reading, from dreaming, from a desire to write people and places I’d like to live/have in my own life. I love to cook and bake, so many of my romance novels are infused with cooking and baking, sometimes through the character herself, or simply through meals and celebration and food as love.

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way? 

They definitely lead the way, but I have a very basic, spare, scaffolding in my head of what’s going to happen.

When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

Usually, they appear in my head in full color, I write the book, then I have to search for a photo of someone famous who matches their description to send to my publisher for the book cover. I’m probably going about it backward. LOL!

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation.  What is your favorite way to sit back and relax? 

Reading romance or watching cooking shows, or doing both at the same time!

Who are your favorite current authors to read? 

I adore Talia Hibbert, Kate Canterbary, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Olivia Dade, Megan Bannen, April White, Kennedy Ryan, Ilona Andrews, Naima Simone, Juliette Cross, Chloe Liese, Lucy Parker, Rachel Joyce, Kamila Shamsie, Rosalind James. I love Lucille Clifton and Mary Oliver for poetry. 

So many great authors out there!

What are your favorite books by others? 

I just finished The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy and it has quickly settled into one of my favorites. 

Also, The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary, 

Breathe by Kristen Ashley, 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, 

The Brothers K by David James Duncan, 

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor, 

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher, 

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, 

Slay by Brittney Morris. 

So many great books!!

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you? 

Yes! I love, love, love setting and locations. I’m always thinking of places I would want to be. 

I love the water and coastlines. I love quirky, charming downtowns.

Do you write in single or multiple POV? 

Multiple POV, usually alternating between the FMC and MMC.

What do you find to be your best research tool? 

Ha! Definitely Google these days. 

But also cookbooks and gardening books. I seem to always be infusing my books with food and flowers.

Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

 I write everything under my real name, Sara Ohlin.

What genre do you write and why is this your preference? 

I write contemporary romance usually, because I love the emotions and the happy endings. 

I also write essays and creative non-fiction to help me make fun of this beautiful and cruel world we live in.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you? 

Wow, I have had many jobs from lifeguarding to waitressing to teaching elementary school in East L.A. 

I am a complete introvert who has learned to be in an extroverted world. I suffer from anxiety, and I am super sensitive.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer? 

Just keep writing and reading. And listen to your heart. 

There is a ton of great advice and help out there, but there is also a lot of crappy advice. It takes time and practice to listen to your own heart.

How do you deal with and process negative book reviews? 

I try to ignore them and just keep writing. Once I put a story out into the world, it belongs to the readers. 

However, I did get one bad review once where the person said it felt like I was just making everything up…and I WAS. It made me laugh. It’s fiction, people. We’re making it up as we go.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? 

Honestly, the marketing and promotions. I hate trying to sell my book and beg for reviews. And my introverted self is super uncomfortable with social media.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused? 

I used to be able to write in crowded, noisy cafes. But these days. I need quiet to focus. I can write lots of different places, but I like to have quiet.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

Dark chocolate, sometimes red wine at night. And lots of romance books to read as a reward for writing.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose? And why? 

I always wanted to spend a day with Rosamunde Pilcher because her books were so lush with setting and description. 

In one scene she could make you feel freezing in the wind on the Moors and then a few minutes later, warm you up with tea and scone and clotted cream. And you just felt like you were there in that place with those characters.

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing? 

Our current dog is glued to my side when I’m working and everyone else is gone, but he’s pretty quiet.

What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game? 

When my kids are bickering and I can hear it.

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved? 

Not yet!

How do you celebrate after typing THE END? 

I usually cheers a yummy cocktail with my husband.

I hope you enjoyed this interview!

Check out all my interviews/reviews for Sara Ohlin!

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