We LOVE Sarina Bowen!! She writes these characters that are so deep emotionally, you can’t help but be sucked into their heads, their hearts and their worlds. Sarina has yet to write a book that I (Jenn) haven’t been completely devoted to. If you have not read anything by Sarina (GASP!), you can start anywhere since all of her books, while having interconnected characters, are true standalones. My personal favorite is The Understatement of the Year. Get to know more about Sarina below.
20 QUESTIONS WITH SARINA BOWEN
1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Always? Since that third grade. That’s almost always.
2. Are you a full time writer? If so, what did you do in your “previous life?”
Yes I am! I’ve been a waitress, the assistant in an art museum, a real estate appraiser… and then I traded derivatives on Wall Street for a dozen years. Oh, and I was briefly a food writer.
3. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Write more, worry less. Wait–I think my right-now self needs this advice, too.
4. Do you work on one storyline at a time or do you have multiple storylines in the pipeline?
I always have multiple projects. When I get stuck on one I move to another.
5. Your books are filled with real emotion. Do you find yourself feeling the pain of your characters as you are writing?
Of course! I always make myself cry at least once per book, and it always seems like a good sign.
6. Have you experienced any of your stories personally?
This is a bit of a trick question, because my subconscious will sometimes add details from my real life. Have I ever sat in a college dining hall feeling embarrassed? Yep. But never for any of the reasons that my characters do. I’ve never had a spinal cord injury, or hidden a sibling in my dorm room. But I have felt the crush of unrequited love, and the uncertainty of how to carry on.
7. What are your biggest distractions?
Facebook and all the marketing that comes along with publishing. Tweaking things on photoshop. Reddit. Children who want to be fed every few hours.
8. What is your least favorite part of the writing or publishing process?
Copyedits. Fixing commas is the least interesting part of the process.
9. Do you find it difficult, or challenging to write from the male POV?
No! I freaking love it. Writing the men is more fun than anything. I wrote Graham and Rikker’s book more quickly than any of the others. What a ride that was. (No pun intended.)
10. What activities do you enjoy outside of writing?
Ice skating, skiing and music! I still have yet to publish a book which fully exploits my inner music nerd. But that will happen.
11. Do you have a favorite author or book?
I could never pick just one. But the last book that completely wrecked me was I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. It’s just amazing. Also? Tammara Webber’s Sweet is about to come out. And it’s just fabulous!
12. Ever think you have a great idea for a book, only to find out someone released the same storyline already?
Yes and no. There’s nothing new under the sun. There’s only the special twist you can put on it. But once in a while I decide to change things after finding a similarity that’s closer than I’d like.
13. Have you ever had writer’s block and how do you work through it?
Block? Not exactly. But sometimes I write myself into a corner, and the only solution is to break down a few walls. It’s hard to “unwrite” a story and start a few things from scratch, but sometimes it’s the only way.
14. Do you ever find yourself jumping up from the dinner to table to jot down a scene that just ran through your head?
Yes, and my family is not amused.
15. What does your writing workspace look like?
Like my side of the bed, with the computer in my lap.
16. Sharing your baby with the public has to be scary. How do you respond to negative reviews?
I’ve been lucky. There are always ten readers who really “get” the book for every one that isn’t a fan. So I can’t let the negative reviews get me down.
17. Do you have any visuals for your characters from any of your books?
I keep a couple of pinterest boards to help me visualize! It’s so much fun. https://www.pinterest.com/sarinabowen/
18. Can you tell us what you are working on next?
Ivy Years #5 will feature Lianne, the starlet who is Bella’s neighbor in The Shameless Hour. Unfortunately I can’t decide on the title! Yet.
19. What is in your purse right now?
Oh boy. Tickets to the last hockey game we saw. Lots of tinted lip balm. Pens: either seventeen of them, or none. I can’t seem to get it right. My phone, which is probably dead. And a pink notebook. All my notebooks are pink.
20. Which one of your books is your favorite and why?
Whichever one I’m working on! Because it’s a lot of fun when the writing is going well.
Books by Sarina Bowen
The Ivy Years Series
THE YEAR WE FELL DOWN (Book #1)
The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else. What now?
She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.
Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.
Also, he’s taken.
Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.
They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.
But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.
THE YEAR WE HID AWAY (Book #2)
She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.
Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.
Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.
Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few sensual, stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.
The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.
BLONDE DATE (Novella 2.5)
A blind date. A nervous sorority girl. A mean-spirited fraternity prank. What could go wrong?
As a sorority pledge, there are commandments that Katie Vickery must live by. One: thou shalt not show up for the party without a date. Two: the guy shall be an athlete, preferably an upperclassman.
Unfortunately, Katie just broke up with her jerkface football player boyfriend. Even worse, her last encounter with him resulted in utter humiliation. She’d rather hide under the bed than attend a party where he’ll be.
Yet staying home would mean letting him win.
Enjoying herself tonight was out of the question. She could only hope to get through the evening without her blind date noticing that he was spending the evening with a crazy person.
Andrew Baschnagel is living proof that nice guys don’t finish first. He’s had his eye on Katie since the moment her long legs waltzed into his art history class. So when her roommate sets Andy up to be Katie’s date, he’d be crazy to say no. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a lot of practice with either girls or parties. Yet.
THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR (Book #3) (JENN’S FAVORITE!!!)
What happened in high school stayed in high school. Until now.
Five years ago, Michael Graham betrayed the only person who ever really knew him. Since then, he’s made an art of hiding his sexual orientation from everyone. Including himself.
So it’s a shock when his past strolls right into the Harkness College locker room, sporting a bag of hockey gear and the same slow smile that had always rendered Graham defenseless. For Graham, there is only one possible reaction: total, debilitating panic. With one loose word, the team’s new left wing could destroy Graham’s life as he knows it.
John Rikker is stuck being the new guy. Again. And it’s worse than usual, because the media has latched onto the story of the only “out” player in Division One hockey. As the satellite trucks line the sidewalk outside the rink, his new teammates are not amused.
And one player in particular looks sick every time he enters the room.
Rikker didn’t exactly expect a warm welcome from Graham. But the guy won’t even meet his eyes. From the looks of it, his former… best friend / boyfriend / whatever isn’t doing so well. He drinks too much and can’t focus during practice.
Either the two loneliest guys on the team will self destruct from all the new pressures in their lives, or they can navigate the pain to find a way back to one another. To say that it won’t be easy is the Understatement of the Year.
Warning: unlike the other books in this series, this heartbreaking love story is about two guys. Contains sexual situations, dance music, snarky t-shirts and a poker-playing grandmother.
THE SHAMELESS HOUR (Book #4)
The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.
For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second guess herself.
Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright nasty fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.
Bella doesn’t want Rafe’s help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can’t be extinguished.
THE GRAVITY SERIES
COMING IN FROM THE COLD (Book #1)
He can’t have her. And he can’t tell anyone why.
Ski racer Dane “Danger” Hollister does not do relationships, though he keeps his reason a secret. The real-life curse he’s inherited from his mother will eventually cost him everything: his place on the Olympic ski team, his endorsement income, and his ability to fly downhill at top speed.
Reluctant country girl Willow Reade meets Dane by accident. Literally. Her skidding truck forces him off the road during a blizzard. Stranded together in his Jeep as night falls, the two loneliest people in Vermont find themselves sharing more than they’d planned. And not just conversation.
Yet neither can guess how their unlikely tryst will threaten Dane’s frightening secret and Willow’s tentative peace with her own choices. Only mutual trust and understanding can end their pain and give them a hard won shot at love.
FALLING FROM THE SKY (Book #2)
She’s the woman he doesn’t remember. He’s the man she can’t forget.
Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus used to have everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. With his family pressuring him to try a groundbreaking treatment, Hank self-medicates with too much tequila instead.
Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to her newest patient they they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit that she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department.
With another Vermont winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.
SHOOTING FOR THE STARS (Book #3)
For one night she had everything.
Pro snowboarder Stella Lazarus has always loved her brother’s best friend. But the one time she tried to show him, she was shot down faster than you can say “competitor disqualified.”
Until one blissful night in Tahoe, when Stella finally gets her man.
Or does she? In the morning, Stella and Bear wake up to horrible news. The sort that sends them racing back to Vermont, and straight into the arms of guilt and family obligations.
For all of Bryan “Bear” Barry’s life, three natural laws held true: his best friend Hank was destined for greatness, Hank’s sister Stella was off-limits, and Bear would always manage to negotiate the rocky paths that life threw his way. In the space of two days, that’s all shattered.
Bear can’t believe he slipped up so badly with Stella. Even if his best friend wasn’t lying broken in a hospital bed, it would still be unforgivable. Determined to do better, he devotes himself to his friend’s recovery, denying himself the very person he loves. And the very thing he needs.
MORE ABOUT SARINA BOWEN
Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance from Vermont’s Green Mountains. (Her ancestors began logging and farming Vermont during the 18th century. These were rugged, outdoor types without benefit of a laptop or a good latte. It boggles the mind.)
Sarina enjoys skiing, skating and good food. She lives in Windsor County, Vermont, with her family, eight chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.