Romance can be sweet, fiery and poetic. Local romance author, Sarah Williams, writes stories to captivate your heart and rope you in. Writer, Angela Reedman-Polinski, recently sat on the veranda with this talented writer learning where these stories begin.
by Angela Reedman-Polinski
Sarah Williams loves romance and writing; so melding the two was the perfect career choice for this accomplished woman.
You will find Sarah speaking at conferences and writing festivals, teaching writing courses and mentoring aspiring authors.
When she is not doing those things, she is working on a new book or interviewing well-known authors about their writing journey for her podcast ‘Write with Love’.
Home for Sarah and her family is picturesque Witta, a haven to enjoy a lovely view from their large comfortable veranda where I sat, hearing of her writing journey.
Born in Hawke’s Bay on New Zealand’s North Island, Sarah grew up on a kiwifruit orchard in the coastal region, now known for its wineries and orchards.
“It was a quiet rural area, so I had to amuse myself.” She started using her dolls to act out elaborate storylines inspired by TV shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 and The Young and the Restless.
“My dad travelled for work and brought me home a new Barbie doll each trip.” These dolls sparked the creative flare for Sarah in creating her own storylines.
“I also developed a taste for romantic storylines watching daytime soap operas with Mum after school!” Sarah laughed.
At 14, Sarah read a book given to her by an aunty. Entitled This Calder Range, it was written by American romance author, Janet Dailey.
Set in the American West, the novel drew her into a world of cowboys and Indians. “I loved being able to escape into another world.” Sarah was soon devouring all forms of fiction but she would always return to romantic fiction.
Sarah was soon interested in becoming an author and, knowing this, her father offered some wise advice. “Dad said to me, ‘Sarah, you need to get some life experience so that you can become a great author’.”
While in high school she wrote her first novel which has never been published but still holds a special place in her heart.
Sarah pursued a career in tourism and, whilst working part-time for her husband’s business and juggling four young children, she decided to start writing again.
“I was living in Townsville and we had a writers’ festival. Romance author, Barbara Hannay, presented a workshop that I attended. It was fantastic and taught me a lot about structuring a novel and the whole writing process.”
At Barbara’s suggestion, Sarah joined the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) and received support, mentoring and advice. She listened, adapted and grew as a writer with this thriving community of support and knowledge.
“Listening to their suggestions, I would rework my manuscript multiple times and had several fellow authors review it and make suggestions,” Sarah shared.
“When I thought it was ready, I pitched my book to three publishers at a writing conference and each one wanted to see it in full.”
Sarah was offered a paid contract for the book with a large publishing company but surprisingly, she turned it down.
“The contract on offer had tight restrictions and limitations and I didn’t feel it was a good fit for me.”
Following her instinct, Sarah went back to her industry connections and discussed further options to publish the book and see it out in the world.
“In the end, I made the decision to set up my own boutique publishing company called Serenade Publishing,” she explained, “and in May 2017 I released my first title The Brothers of Brigadier Station.
Graphic designer and fellow author, Lana Pecherczyk, designed the front cover and has continued to design all of Sarah’s covers including The Outback Governess and her upcoming title The Sky over Brigadier Station.
Things are certainly on the up, with Sarah nominated for the Best Debut Romance Author in Australia for 2017 and her books becoming Amazon and Kobo bestsellers. She also has a huge Australian, American and UK fan group.
Sarah is also a huge fan of Jamie Fraser, the strapping Scot from the ‘Outlander’ television series. “Jamie is such a great hero. He’s so well written and I love that time period,” she smiled.
I asked Sarah about her future plans and continued success in her writing career.
“I believe that perseverance, grit and sharing my work are what has developed my success as an author, so I will keep doing what works for me.
“I would love to see my books turned into a screen version, whether it be a television mini-series or the big screen.”
As for being a writer for a career, Sarah can think of nothing better. “It provides me with a viable income and the freedom to write anywhere, anytime.
“I am grateful that I get to be with my family, enjoy school events, be there after school and earn an ongoing income. Plus, I’m doing what I love.”
I asked Sarah what she would like to tell her 14-year-old self. She reflected for a moment…
“I would say keep following your dreams. Anything is possible!”
Sarah’s books are available world-wide in print and ebook format. You can listen to her podcast at www.sarahwilliamsauthor.com