Author Interview: Sara Sartagne



JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Sara. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

I live in Yorkshire in the UK, the setting for Emily Brontë’s stormy classic novel Wuthering Heights. It’s a big county of incredible contrasts – rugged coastlines, spectacular uncultivated moorland, rolling hills – there’s always something to provide inspiration.

My perfect day would be to wake to a bright, sunny morning and do some tidying in the garden, and spend the afternoon writing. The evening would see me cuddling a good glass of red wine and reading.

I wish I had perfect days more often!

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

Some of the first romance novels I read were written by the wonderful Georgette Heyer, and Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters are also among the most well-thumbed novelists in my library, so that makes me a fan of the English Regency.

Having said that, my next book is set in the 1860s and it’s such an interesting time! Emerging thoughts on science and religion, developments in engineering and debate on the place of women in society made this a tumultuous time in England – so I may change my mind.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

Ooh, that’s a really hard one. I read a fascinating autobiography of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, described as the eighteenth century ‘It’ Girl, written by Amanda Foreman. Georgiana’s political alliances, her gambling and her popularity among the common people, really drew me to her.

But I think that I’d love to talk to Jane Austen and one question I’d ask her is why she turned down an offer of marriage from Harris Bigg-Wither. Apart from him having that name, of course.

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

Because I read so much of it when I was younger, I was bound to have a go at some stage! Writing it has given me a renewed respect for authors such as Jean Plaidy, Dorothy Dunnett, Philippa Gregory, Geraldine Brooks, Ariana Franklin, SW Perry and the brilliant Susanna Kearsley. Their characters all come across as authentic and they’re supported by enough historical detail to give a solid sense of place and time, but not turn it into a history book!

Creating convincing characters and a tight, well-paced plot is hard enough in a contemporary setting, but in historical fiction you need to understand what in that time will influence your historical characters and what they do.

Getting it wrong would be a bit like catching sight of a mobile phone on the set of Bridgerton.

JMR- You wrote a trilogy in which gardening is a main feature. Where did you get your love of gardens? Do you have a favorite English garden?

My grandmother was a great gardener as well as one of my favourite people. When I wrote The Garden Plot, I was trying to follow the advice that you should write what you know, and thanks to my grandmother, I know quite a bit.

Do I have a favorite garden…? I guess Harlow Carr, near Harrogate in Yorkshire, is certainly one of them, but there are so many, it’s impossible to choose just one.

JMR- Sara, tell us about your last book, The Visitor.

I released The Visitor last year, and it’s been a bit of a long gestation period! It’s been more than twenty years since I first had the idea for the novel which was based on a line of a poem by Ruthven Todd:

O my heart is the unlucky heir of the ages
And my body is unwillingly the secret agent
Of my ancestors;

This gave me the thought that we are made up of previous lives and histories and these guide our fate. I imagined a young woman whose story, and the history of her ancestors, collide in contemporary life. 

So, The Visitor tells the story of Stacie, a teaching assistant who gets wrapped up in a situation where history has unfinished business. Stacie sees ghosts, something she keeps private, but strangely, they disappear when her parents invite an American lecturer, Nate, to stay. 

The Vistor’s second storyline is about Sarah, a young healer who is alone in the world and in 1619, where the fear of witches and evil can be very dangerous to those who are unprotected. The visitor in Sarah’s world is a new parson, John Dillington, who has the voice of an angel and fire in his eyes. When the village turns against her, he’s the only person who defends her from accusations of witchcraft. 

As Stacie uncovers more of her and Sarah’s history, she realises that choices made long ago are rippling through time to threaten her. History may be repeating itself – but this time, it’s Stacie who’s in danger. 

JMR- Readers continue to be fascinated by stories about witches and witchcraft. Why do you think this is?

I think there are two reasons. The first is that witches are so far removed from our typical, mundane lives, stories of witches and witchcraft give us an escape to a new, magical world. Even before Harry Potter, I’ve been fascinated by the American 1960s TV series Bewitched. I love the idea that I could conjure up the perfect dress, or sort out a bad hair day with the twitch of your nose!

Secondly, I think the idea of being a witch is a universal fantasy. After all, witches are women with power – who wouldn’t want that?

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

The Visitor was the first book in my Duality series and I’m writing another which I hope to release in summer next year. In this new novel, my timelines are contemporary and mid Victorian – an incredibly interesting period of British history! In The Visitor, the stories are connected by ghosts, in this new novel, the connection is through a journal and an old garden. 

In addition to this, I have the final book in my English Garden Romance series, where the love stories involve characters who build or design gardens. I hope to have this out at the end of next year.


JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

My website is 

Twitter feed is @SSartagnewriter

Facebook page is


JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

What my next book will be called!  I don’t have a title yet, I’m hoping inspiration will strike before I finish it!

JMR- Thank you, Sara for stopping by The Book’s Delight, it’s been lovely chatting with you and getting to know more about you and your writing. Readers, I know you’ll want to check out Sara’s books, so I’ve included an Amazon link below.

Amazon UK



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