Asked about her favorite romances that influenced her writing, Sara had this to say:
I have always been drawn to relationship stories, happily ever after, and romance. I was first sucked into the Sweet Valley High series in middle school and always rooted for the good girl to win. A book I still remember from my early teen years is Dial L For Love by Marian Woodruff. In this teen romance, the girl began dating a socially awkward but popular football player who had his best friend call her pretending to be him, and the girl and the best friend ended up falling for each other. Decades later, I still remember the heart-wrenching emotion I felt while reading that story.
My first adult romance books were Johanna Lindsey historicals that I read late at night when my mother thought I was sleeping. Soon after, I moved on to contemporary category romances by Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, and Sandra Brown. I loved the emotional ride each author delivered in every book, and I lived vicariously through the heroines, experiencing love and heartbreak as they did. When I write, I hope to capture even a portion of the pure, raw emotion those stories inspired in me.
My all-time favorite hero is Kenny Karmody from Suzanne Brockmann’s Out of Control. That mix of sweet, vulnerable, tough, fearless, and irreverent made me fall head-over-heels in love in a way I never have before or since with any other book character. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ First Lady is probably my all-time favorite book because every single character captivated me on every single page. When I finished that book for the first time, I turned to page one and immediately started reading it again.
Contemporary romances with memorable characters and pure, heartfelt emotion are the stories I love. They’ve stuck with me through the years, influenced the core of my writing, and are now the types of books I too write in the hopes they will touch others in the same way.
Love Him or Leave Him
Sometimes dreams are where you least expect them.
Connor O’Malley and Becca Sanders were once high school sweethearts, ripped apart by rumors in the small town of Kortville, Illinois. Connor left to join the military, and Becca stayed, waiting for her younger brother to graduate so she could live her dreams of traveling the world. But now that Connor’s back as the town sheriff, Becca finds herself struggling to resist the too-handsome man who once broke her heart.
Connor loves Kortville—its quaintness keeps at bay the painful memories of Afghanistan he’s sure make him unworthy of any woman, particularly the beautiful brunette he’s always secretly dreamed of a future with. But when a scandal rocks the town, suddenly Connor and Becca must trust in each other if they want to weather this storm…and come out on the other side of it together.
I write what I love—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. On the personal side, I’m a frazzled maid, chauffeur, and slave to my children. I was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. (The children’s book The Bravest Squirrel Ever by my alter-ego Sara Shafer is the squirrel’s fictionalized version of that experience!) I’m crazy about country music and the drama of NASCAR. And I have my very own happily-ever-after romance with my hero husband.