Ask the Author: Sarah Hogle
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’m a stay at home mom of three kids in rural Ohio, and I’ve been writing stories since I was five years old. I love terrible reality television (90 Day Fiancé owns my soul) and crafting. Lately, I’ve been trying my hand at watercolor painting. I started writing YA fantasy about twelve years ago, then began dabbling in category romance after discovering that genre in my digital library, before writing a book that I saved as ‘New Women’s Fiction Novel’ on my computer. I came up with the title You Deserve Each Other while washing dishes one day, mentally planning the next scene I was going to write. When ‘you deserve each other’ popped up in the dialogue, I had a lightbulb moment. Nowadays I refer to the book as a ‘rom-com’ so regularly that I forget I didn’t even think of it as a rom-com while writing it. I pitched the book as ‘humorous women’s fiction’ or something like that.
Romcoms are my favorite genre of movie to watch (Nora Ephron, forever and always a legend) and they are so fun to write! Strangely, my reading preferences and my writing preferences don’t match up exactly. My favorite books to read are fantasy and category romance.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
My book is a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romcom about an unhappily engaged couple who are set to get married in three months but secretly cannot stand each other. They commence a battle of petty wills, both trying to get the other one to call off the wedding, and inadvertently begin falling back in love in the process.
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.
Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.
But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves—and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
This is always the toughest question for me to answer because I didn’t set out to write this story at all. I set out to write about a woman who’s sick of her fiancé and intends to leave him. Naomi was supposed to break up with Nicholas in chapter four. But while typing the last sentence of chapter three, I realized I was writing the wrong kind of story and what I’d intended it to become wasn’t what it was meant to be. The plot I’d planned went out the window and I basically just had fun with it from there; writing pranks was so much fun for me because I have an evil streak that I got to play with via my characters. I wrote to amuse myself, one hundred percent. My husband can attest to that – I got a lot of looks from him while cackling over my keyboard.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
Chapter 10. It’s the pettiest chapter of the book. It’s Peak Sabotage, and I had a BALL writing it. Naomi and Nicholas are both behaving very badly in that one.
I enjoyed writing so many scenes that it’s hard to pick favorites, but another standout to me was the snow-shoveling scene because it was a turning point for the characters. I imagined Naomi’s gesture of goodwill like it was a domino, which knocked into one of Nicholas’s dominos, and which knocked over one of hers, and so on. Naomi had been resentful and bitter in their relationship for a long time, but when she did this one selfless act of good toward Nicholas (which actually benefited people she despised, but she wasn’t doing it for them, she was doing it for Nicholas), it kicked off a series of kindnesses and changed everything.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
When I was growing up, I inhaled Sharon Creech’s books and fell in love with her writing style. Her books are fun but they pull at your heartstrings, and they often have an eerie, peculiar touch. Magic without being magic. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer – I’ve never been able to imagine myself as anything else.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
What they say about perseverance being the key to making it as a writer is ACCURATE. You Deserve Each Other is my debut novel, but it is definitely not the first novel I’ve written. I’ve got a very full virtual shelf of books that will never see the light of day, and each and every one of them broke my heart when they never went anywhere, and each and every one of them was a step in the right direction. They’ll never be published, but they were invaluable craft honing experience. Every time I finished one and I queried it, the universe said “Not yet,” so I began another. On and on and on I went, writing books and racking up rejections until the stars aligned for me and I wrote the right book at the right time and queried the right agent, who found the right editor. After years of no, I finally got my yes! I got a whole string of yeses, out of nowhere, which was unexpected and surreal. I received so many rejections that from the outside, it probably looked crazy that I was still trying. When you get rejected and the self-doubt settles in and you fall into a spiral of Will This Ever Happen, that’s when you open a new Word doc and you try, try again.
If you’re a writer, or if you want to be a writer, the main thing to remember is to keep trying. Keep learning. Listen to constructive criticism, and implement it in your work to make your writing stronger. Keep your eyes on your own paper, don’t compare your writing journey to anyone else’s, and DON’T. GIVE. UP. If you keep at it, you’ll get there. Write to amuse yourself! Write the book you want to read.
Physical/ebook purchase links:
Audio book links: