#PitchWars 2017 Mentee Bio

Greetings, Dear Reader! I’m Sarah. 

(Get this baby outta my face.)


I write YA. Find me on Twitter.








SECRETS IN THE STONE is YA historical fiction with feathery kisses of romance, mystery, and a touch of magical realism. It’s set in England, 1912, in one eerie island manor and one misty, mossy glen.

Estella Ripley learns on her eighteenth birthday that her late grandfather left her his old island manor, complete with a peculiar underground passage and stone walls that seem to perspire in every season. She is confident that her soon-to-be husband, Edward Maxwell, will run the estate, thereby fulfilling her grandfather’s wishes. But the estate is more than just a house; Estella discovers it is also a secret glen that inhabits a group of wild Irish fugitives who safeguard a mysterious garden of Gaelic plants that wield dangerous capabilities.

When Edward discovers the secret glen, his true colors are revealed — he wants the estate, and he’ll do anything – even commit Estella to Bedlam – to gain control. Estella must extinguish Edward’s vain thirst for power to protect those precious secrets in the glen that her grandfather entrusted to her alone.


The Author and Her Book

I did not write this book to prove a point, or make a political statement, or challenge society. I wrote it because 16-year-old Sarah would have DIED to read this. Honestly, I still love living in this world of deception and love and mystery!

Whenever I read a book, all I want is to thrive in its world. Hopefully that’s what I’ve created for you, Dear Reader — the opportunity to live in these pages, wiggle your toes in the wet moss, get your skin smelling like peat, and root for our determined Estella to somehow escape the cold hands of that sneaky monster, Edward.

Being a PitchWars Hopeful

Sometimes (every day) I dream about an agent calling me: “Sarah, I read your manuscript and I just. get. it. Let’s talk about getting it in teenage girls’ hands, eh?”

Man, I ache for this. And, like Estella, I will persevere, sometimes annoyingly so, until what I want (my published book) is in my hands. I’ve worked on this manuscript for over a year now, doing everything I can to make it better – critique partners/betas, hard-copy printouts for editing, hiring two professional freelance editors (who transformed it!), etc. I even recorded myself reading as a means of revising. I’ve never felt more dedicated to something I want (and I wanted to be an actress in college — and did a terrifying one-woman show…) and I’ve never been more in love with a creation than this book. (Don’t tell my children.)

But I am not married to my words, though I’ve given each and every one of them nonstop thought! I’ve rewritten this story 4.7 thousand times, so killing my darlings is almost no longer painful. I carefully consider feedback and will most likely obsess over it (talk to myself, dream about it, elicit everyone’s opinion, etc.) until I just need to sit and write it out. I work on revisions very quickly because I’m psycho ex-girlfriend obsessive about making this story sing — and I’m not even sorry.

The Author

I live in a small town in NY near the VT border with my husband, three little kids, and a chocolate lab named Walter Sobchak. (“Mark it eight, Dude.”)

I work in a fancy law firm in Downtown Albany, where it smells like exhaust and sounds like a highway. I prefer our country home that smells like cut grass.

I have a useless master’s degree in education, but I like my bachelor’s in English, complete with a side order of musical theatre. Working in law pays for my useless master’s degree; it’s the reading and writing YA part that makes me a happy person.

Some favorite books of mine: Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier); The Madman’s Daughter (trilogy) (Megan Shepherd); Into the Dim (Janet B. Taylor); A Spell For Chameleon (Piers Anthony); A Perilous Undertaking (Deanna Raybourn); Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey (JD Salinger)

Weird Sarah Things:

  1. I write with either “Murder, She Wrote” or “The Golden Girls” in the background because they are my friends and make me feel comfortable.
  2. My blog is a totally different voice than my YA manuscript. Fiction can be exciting and creepy and dramatic; non-fiction life with three children must be funny or I’d have a coronary.
  3. Antiheroes are my thang, and when someone tries to tell me that a protag needs to be likeable, I shove Scarlett O’Hara in their face, quickly followed by any of the hateful characters in Gone Girl. (Protags need to be interesting or intriguing, not likeable, and I shall fight to the death for this!)
  4. I am perfectly comfortable giving up on a book after reading a few pages. If I can’t feel the atmosphere or if the characters aren’t interesting enough, I desert. I’m impatient like that.
  5. I have an obsession with things that smell good, so my manuscript is riddled with poignant scents — and that sense plays a huge role in the plot. (See what I did there? “Scents” and “Sense”? My punny mother would be so proud.)
Here’s Estella, waiting to see whether you’ll stick around for that part where she does what she swore she’d never do.