My blind dog, Charlie. The best girl.
When I began writing with the idea that I would like others to read my words, I started with romcoms. Romantic comedies were (and are) huge, and author Jennifer Crusie was my writing idol. (Check her out if you enjoy relatively clean romance, excellent characters, incredible dialogue and great dogs).

Traditional publishing was still the only way to see your book in print back then, so I went through the torturous query process with my best book, Living in Bliss, which included multiple attempted murders—a sign? Agents responded well to my queries but told me that while I write comedy and sex well, I miss the mark on romance. (No shock there, says the happy single chick.)

Then someone gave me a book called Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. I was hooked as a reader, and just as important, I realized there are people like me who want to read dark stories about the worst—and best—in humanity. I stopped trying to force myself into a box that would never fit, and let myself dive deep into what really gets my imagination and creative juices soaring: dark psychological thrillers, sometimes bordering on horror, ALWAYS rooted in real life.

Each of my books started as an idea after learning about some real-life case somewhere and asking myself, "What if?" The Dollhouse could be tied to Elizabeth Smart, Shasta Groene, and others. The Hunted shares some similarities with David Parker Ray, aka the Toy Box Killer. The victims in The Mercy come from several true crime situations that break my heart and make me angry. Little Doves is a bit of a fantasy (for me) in that, for once, people like Epstein don't get away with it. And the soon-to-release Small Gods was ‘inspired’ by the manosphere.

For the record, I'm a pretty nice person in real life. In 2008 I started an animal-welfare nonprofit that's still helping the people & animals of Iowa; I founded and operated a social impact pet food company for 8 years; I'm on multiple nonprofit boards and try to do good whenever I can. Hobbies include buying and killing houseplants, taste-testing tequilas, playing with my ball-obsessed blind dog Charlie (girl), and traveling.

But like any good writer, I have multiple personalities and I’m putting them to good use! When I'm not diving into the darkest corners of the human psyche, I switch gears and write cozy mysteries under the pen name Sara Isabelle. These light-hearted tales are filled with humor, found family, and of course, as many adorable furry companions as I can include. The most common feedback I get about my fictional river town, Bliss, is “I want to live there!”

In my cozy mysteries, you'll find Lyssa Jones, Maybee Gladstone, Holly Bliss and friends, solving crimes while navigating their own personal dramas, supported by a cast of lovable and eccentric friends and neighbors. When you need a mental palette cleanse from the dark side, come on over.

Whether you’re here for the darkness or the fun, I'm glad you're here. I hope you enjoy the stories, whether they're thrilling or cozy. Stay safe! There are weirdos out there.

Contact Sara

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