Author Interview: Sara Butler Zalesky

Thank you, Sara, for partaking in this Q&A and offering us a little more background on you as well as your debut novel, Wheeler.

I will be fortunate enough to review Sara’s novel, look for it in future posts.



  1. What prompted your desire to begin writing? Where did it begin?

I’ve always had an active imagination but didn’t get diagnosed with ADD until age 40. I can remember sitting at my Commodore 64 keyboard, using the hunt and peck technique to write my first story at age 10. But, this is the first story that I’ve ever taken beyond the first draft and actually shown to someone else.


  1. Where is your favorite place to write?

I don’t have a favorite place, as I write whenever and wherever I can. I have a desk area at home and sit there from 9pm and 2am, most nights. That’s probably why I don’t remember half of what I’ve written and surprise myself when I go back and edit. “Did I write that? ‘Cause damn, that’s good!” is my most often thought.


  1. Do you have muse-music? {Music you listen to that inspires writing}

I created a station on Pandora using the band, Blackmill as a base and branching off of there. Typically, I listen to music that doesn’t have any lyrics. M83, Maserati, God is an Astronaut, Goonies Never Say Die, Kaskade, Morgan Page, Deadmau5, Russian Circles, Kerretta – pretty obscure stuff but seriously awesome.


  1. How do you prefer to write? Longhand or Typing?
    Oh, typing for sure. I sometimes can’t even read my own handwriting!

  2.  Where did the idea for Wheeler come from?

I’ve had these characters in my head in one form or another and have been trying to put them to paper for ages. Literally ages, but nothing stuck. I’d start to write something, then life would take over and I’d abandon it. In the spring of 2015, I was bored at work (shh!) and stumbled upon a ‘fanfic’ website. While reading a story about a particular someone, I was also listening to the 2015 Aviva Women’s Tour playing on Youtube. I could write something like this, I told myself. The phrase ‘write what you know’ kept going through my mind. I know cycling. While I prefer to read sci-fi/fantasy and Dan Brown novels, the ‘romance’ came very easily. What if she’s a cyclist? Any books like that out there? NOPE! I’d have to make up a team. Where’s Team Sky headquartered? Hmm. And so the wheels started turning.


  1. Who inspired the main character, if anyone?

I imagine there are some that might recognize Graham’s inspiration(s), but I’m going to keep that tidbit to myself – for legal reasons. I will say though, Graham is a mixture. It’s not Jude Law, though. Or is he…?

While what happens to Loren is not my experience, her reactions and thoughts are more me than I like. I couldn’t help that. Well, every character is part of me.

Cece Taylor was inspired by Toph from Avatar, the Last Airbender animated series, but with an Irish accent.


  1. Were there any aspects of your life that show up in Wheeler?

I know what it feels like to physically suffer in cycling and to mentally overcome the ‘pain’ but, I live vicariously through the incredible women who do race. Otherwise, it’s a complete fantasy.


  1. What is something that you struggle with as a writer?

I struggle with self-confidence. And public speaking. It’s a strange dichotomy that I can stand before 50 people on bikes and lead them through a great cycling class, but put me in front of a group and make me talk about something, I’m a puddle of anxiety.


  1. What would you like readers to know about you the most?

I’m no different than anyone else. I just had an idea explode in my head and I put it on paper. I have been extremely lucky to have had people put in my path to help me along the way.


  1. How long did Wheeler take to write?

I started writing in June, 2015 and by September, I had a vast majority of it written. The editing, revising, reediting, and more revising only ended, um, last week. I think what is currently available on Kindle is the 5th version of the story. I sincerely apologize to those who got the first 4 versions.


  1. What is the thing you would like your readers to walk away with the most after reading Wheeler?

To be inspired to check out women’s professional cycling and throw your hat into supporting those incredible women. They don’t get the recognition and support they so richly deserve.


  1. Can you give readers two teaser quotes from Wheeler? [Might as well be your favorite!]

So many quotes by Shakespeare that I had to put them all as citations at the end of the book.


“You know that awkward moment,” she said, finally, “when you’re on the phone with someone you like, and neither of you wants to hang up first?”  

“Yes.” Graham rolled his eyes and tried not to smirk.  

Loren bit her lip. “Now we know what it looks like.”  

He laughed and put his hand over his face.




Loren smirked. “I’m pretty sure it was you, because it wasn’t Jude Law.”

He laughed. “You and that Jude Law. I’m going to have to track him down so you can get him out of your system.”

“I don’t want him.” She leaned her head back into the head rest. “I want you. I’ve always wanted you.”  


  1. And finally, how has writing this book changed your life?

I get less sleep. I have read every bloody word every written by William Shakespeare, but can’t remember any of it off the top of my head. I can totally rock out with Guitar Hero. I started using far too much British slang for my husband’s liking.


But honestly, so many things have happened while writing this story (and the 2nd novel to finish it off) that I can’t pass them off to coincidence. Meeting specific people, events, ideas – As Shakespeare said:I am afeard, being in night, all this is but a dream, too flattering sweet to be substantial!And it’s true.

Oh, and I turn into a complete duffer around famous/semi-famous people. Found that out first hand in June when I had the opportunity to meet some of the women riders who inspired me. All I did was stand around, catching flies.


Born on the Island of Manhattan and relocated with her family to Northwestern New Jersey, Sara spent her life with a multitude of characters and stories spinning around in her head.

It wasn’t until the late spring of 2015 that the stars aligned and planets converged in just the right way to spark an idea in her head that would ultimately bring together Sara’s romantic leanings with her passion for the sport of cycling.  It was this creative spark that has brought a unique voice to her first novel, ‘Wheeler’.

Sara lives in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son. She is a paralegal at a boutique law firm in Chester County, PA, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor.

Connect with the author at or on Twitter @sarazalesky



It’s mid-June as the Women’s Elite team of Innovative Design Cycling prepares for the Aviva Women’s Tour, beginning in Bury St. Edmunds, England. American cyclist, Loren Mackenzie reluctantly accepts her new role as team captain and uses her tenacity, heart and spirit to bring her team back together after a disappointing showing in Philadelphia’s International Cycling Classic.

While out on a training ride near Enfield, England, the Fates intervene with a bang, and the ball of Loren’s tightly wound life begins to unravel. After a seemingly chance meeting with a Knight in a Shining Jaguar, British actor Graham Atherton, each feels the undeniable draw toward the other, and their touch holds a sense of familiarity. As the whirlwind romance between Loren and Graham intensifies, so does the media attention, much to Loren’s chagrin. The physical separation caused by both their careers doesn’t diminish their bond, and they discover just how deeply their souls are connected.

The World Tour continues with races in Italy, France, and Germany, where Loren and her IDC team face struggles and achieve victory together. But elements from Loren’s past conspire to snap the threads holding her racing season together, leaving her to face phantoms she had hoped would remain buried.

With Graham at her side, can Loren face the trauma of her past and vanquish the demons within, or will betrayal and obsession defeat them both?

 Wheeler races across the genres of romance and women’s fiction, while reeling in the newly emerging genre of sports romance.

Shelf it on Goodreads | Buy it on Amazon

Please be sure to visit Sara’s website and check out her novel. Thank you.

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