Sarah Robinson is the best-selling author of the Kavanagh Legends series. A poet at heart, Robinson is passionate about animals, advocacy and alpha males. She holds a degree in criminal psychology and lives with her police officer husband and many rescue animals in the DC area.
MW: So, tell me about your writing journey, have you always written? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer and when did you publish your first book?
SR: I labeled myself a poet most of my young life. In fact, I won several poetry contests and was published in literary journals- all small time, but I enjoyed it. I truly loved to write, but the truth is that I was limiting myself because I desperately wished I could write longer stories, but didn't feel I'd be able to. I'd also been told my whole life that anything in the arts wasn't a job, it was a hobby, and that I needed to find a job that I could live off of. So, I left high school and pursued other jobs, education, and even a master's degree, but I never felt satisfied. It wouldn't be until after graduate school when I'd actually prove to myself that I could write for a living, albeit accidentally.
I was struggling to find a job after graduation and answered an online ad writing short stories for cash. After turning in my first few, I realized I could do this for a living, and better yet, I loved doing this! My boss eventually told me I should consider writing a book, and trying to get published. I scoffed, because that sounded impossible, but then I decided to bite the bullet and go for it! Still not confident in myself, I decided that no publisher would actually want my book, so I was going to publish it myself. That was a tough choice because that road is nowhere near as easy as it sounds, and I made a ton of mistakes on my early books and marketing attempts. I have a lot of admiration for self-published authors, and if I could go back and change it, I wouldn't. It gave me a great foundation to launch my books, and my understanding of the field.
Eventually, I started to understand more about the book world, publishing, and marketing and was able to start making a name for myself and getting my books out there. This is what attracted Penguin Random House to me and landed me my first big publishing deal. I was absolutely over the moon because all those years ago back when I was a poet, Random House was an impossible dream for me- and now I'm living it. People always ask me if have always dreamed of being a writer, and the truth is no, because I didn't dare, and maybe if I had, I wouldn't have wasted so many years feeling lost.
MW: How does poetry figure into your work now? Do you still read poetry? What are some of the works that inspired you to pursue writing?
SR: My writing's often described as highly emotional, and in order to give that experience to readers, I have to be just as emotional writing it as I was when I was a young poet. I used poetry back then to eviscerate my heart and bleed my pain onto the page the only way I knew how. Those same pains are no longer present in my life, but I now know how to tap back into it when needed. Poetry taught me to pick it up and play with it, examine it from all sides, and then leave it on the page at the end.
My all time favorite book was one I read in elementary school, I believe, called The Cay by Theodore Taylor. It was the first book that ever made me feel, ever made me cry, and I remembered it for decades to come. A weathered and worn copy still sits in a place of honor on my bookshelf. I hope everyone who reads my books feels even a fraction of the emotion I felt when reading The Cay.
MW: On you social media, you describe yourself as an advocate. Can you tell me about what that means to you?
SR: Most of the jobs and positions I've been fortunate enough to hold in my career have allowed me to be a voice for others, and it's something I've always felt called to. Working as a mental health counselor with severely mentally ill adults in residential treatment for many years often put me in positions where I needed to advocate for their rights and needs when they were not capable of doing so for themselves. In fact, I specifically held a position called Human Rights Advocate for several years. I've been able to do this in other avenues as well, including working with many animal shelters and welfare groups, helping animals in need of homes or from abusive situations. Now as a writer, I use my books as a platform to increase awareness and education about topics that may not be familiar to everyone. My books have dealt from all sorts of tough topics from autism, to dog fighting rings, to childhood abuses, to PTSD, and more. I hope to be able to continue to use my public platform to help others through my writing, because that's truly always been my lifelong dream.
MW: How do the novels in the Kavanaghs Legends series differ from you other books? How do you do your research for MMA fighting and are you yourself a fan of the sport?
SR: The Kavanagh Legends series is my first family saga, and going into it I had no idea that this would really be my niche. Coming from a giant Greek family, I am able to use my own experiences of chaotic, bustling family events and relationships to write the exciting dynamics in the Kavanagh's big Irish clan. The family owns a mixed martial arts gym in the Bronx, and that was definitely a new area of writing for me. I did my research through both visiting the place I set it in in person, as well as talking to MMA fighters and researching online. Combining the rough sport with a chaotic, fun, loving family of alpha male fighters, the Kavanagh Legends were born and, thankfully, readers responded in kind.
MW: Could you tell me a little bit about each book in the Kavanagh Series?
SR: In Breaking a Legend,: Rory Kavanagh is an alpha male mixed martial arts fighter who lost his dream after a brutal injury in the ring. Broken in more ways than one, he's struggling to find a new path in life. Clare Ivers is a woman on the run, and despite her best efforts, the demons of her past are catching up fast.
Saving a Legend, (coming June 14th): Focuses on Kieran Kavanagh, who has lost years of his life to a youthful mistake, but he's all grown up now and ready to set right the sins of his past. What he didn't expect was to come across two sisters who pulled at his heartstrings, Fiona and her young, special needs sister Shea. Fiona has been through the ringer, dealing with not only a terrible trauma in her past, but now being her little sister's sole guardian. Life doesn't make it easy, but there's nothing Fiona won't do for Shea, and that includes putting dating on hold. Maybe for good.
You can read more about Sarah and her work at http://booksbysarahrobinson.net or www.amazon.com/author/booksbysarahrobinson
Her next novel in the Legends Series, Saving a Legend, releases on June 14th.