We Love to Entertain By Sarah Strohmeyer: Review/Giveaway/Interview

May 20, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we have a review of We Love to Entertain by Sarah Strohmeyer along with an interesting interview with Sarah. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

We Love to Entertain by Sarah Strohmeyer
Review by Sandra Murphy

To the Manor Build is a home rehab cable show. Like the others, their cameras follow homeowners as they renovate their house. One couple is designing a ranch retreat for bullied LBGTQ teens to give them a safe place to live. Another couple decided to make their retreat for medical people who were traumatized by the pandemic. Holly and Robert are a young, rich, beautiful couple in love, and their house will be an energy-efficient home, off the grid but with all the amenities. High end amenities no working-class family could ever afford. I mean, a $7,500 Vermont farm table, custom made by a local artisan who talks to the trees and asks permission before cutting them.

Of course, to beat out the other two couples, Holly and Robert have to downplay how much money they’re spending and add drama. There are the obligatory arguments when Holly goes way over budget and Robert tries to say no, but being in love, gives in.

Their on-air wedding was to prop up the numbers of watchers which did spike but dropped quickly. In their daily blogs, Robert talks about how to buy properties cheap, fix them up, and flip—and confesses he ‘stole’ this super buy out from under the locals who didn’t want to risk buying a property for back taxes. Of course, the homeowner was none too happy about losing his home but he should have been on the ball.

Robert decides he and Holly need a quick honeymoon and head for Canada which doesn’t go over well with the show’s producers. Just when they should be going for the gold, they want to go for a few days of solitude?

Erika is their assistant who’s been in constant contact with them daily for almost a year. Now, she can’t reach them. Should she report them missing or act like everything is normal and they’ll be back on schedule? There are threatening letters, armed security at the wedding, and more to worry about—the police think there might have been foul play and Erika is behind it.

This tale is full of twists you won’t see coming. Erika is a likable character with problems of her own. Her mother tends to hover and has secrets she’s hoping to keep. I found the present tense narrative somewhat of a distraction, so heads up, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of a good story.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s editor for Peace, Love, and Crime: Crime Stories Inspired by the Songs of the ’60s, with twenty-two cozy stories. She also edited A Murder of Crows, twenty-one stories featuring animals and crime (no animals were harmed). She also writes for magazines, newsletters, and the occasional guest blog. Both anthologies are available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Interview with Sarah Strohmeyer:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Sarah: Technically, I’ve been professionally writing since I was sixteen and used to do business fluff features for a local newspaper. But I started working as a reporter the day after I graduated from college and then published my first novel in 2001.

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Sarah Strohmeyer

Sarah: Bubbles Unbound, a humorous mystery involving Lehigh, Pennsylvania, hairdresser Bubbles Yablonsky was published by Dutton in 2001 and for reasons that escape me still won awards such as Malice Domestic’s Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. It spawned a six-book series.

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense and if not, what else have you written?

Sarah: Well, my first “book,” was a parody of Barbie entitled Barbie Unbound: A Parody of the Barbie Obsession published by a Vermont lesbian/feminist press. It was a weird hit, landing me on CBS This Morning and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. (I think they were trying to see if this would prompt Mattel to sue; they didn’t.)

In between my Bubbles series and Do I Know You? I wrote standalone “women’s fiction,” including The Cinderella Pact, which became the Lifetime Lying To Be Perfect and several young adult novels for Balzer + Bray, a division of Harper Collins where I am now.

KRL: The Barbie book sounds fun! What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?

Sarah: We Love To Entertain is the first in the 19 books I’ve written to be set in Vermont where I’ve lived since 1992 and where I’m the elected Town Clerk in Middlesex. So, this small-town, backwoods setting has been marinating for quite a while. But I also love HGTV, which was huge during the pandemic, and wondered what if these two worlds collided, what would happen? The result is We Love To Entertain.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?

Sarah: Absolutely, I write to entertain because that’s what and why I read!

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?

Sarah: With a full-time job, I have to work my writing schedule around my work schedule so I carve out 2 hours before I go to work and then write when I can. Flash writing is really helpful, as is the dictating app on my phone just to trap ideas and dialogue. Most of my weekend is given over to writing, which is not that great for my health. I try to get in some exercise/walks so I don’t just turn into a lump of dough.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

Sarah: Morning. No question. 5:30 – 7:30 A.M. You can get a lot done,

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Sarah: I do everything. I outline thoroughly. I make sure I know right off who the bad guy is. But as I start writing I find I’ve either overcomplicated some aspect of the proposal or failed to address a hole or understand a character. Once the characters start engaging, I usually need to rewrite those first 50 pages, the most important pages in the book next to the last 50 pages, and then I’m off!

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Sarah: Kind of. I had a LOT of rejections for Barbie Unbound, mostly because of the legal questions. But that book easily led to Bubbles Unbound, so I guess I’m lucky that way.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Sarah: I think every author has that moment in her life, if not several times a day, of facing rejection. You might be under the misimpression that once an editor agrees to buy a book it’s all roses and butterflies. Far from it. This business is extremely rejection dependent, right down to the readers (who have no problem sharing their occasionally superficial criticisms on online book sites or social media). All that matters is focusing on the work currently on your screen, making it the best it can be, better than even you expected! That’s the challenge and, frankly, the only joy in writing/publishing.

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Sarah: I’ve experienced everything from a guy showing up with a map and a compass to prove that my character could not have been facing a setting sun at that particular time in a scene to being surprised by long-lost ex-boyfriends. You just never know who will show up to a public event!

KRL: What are your future writing goals?

Sarah: To write novels that are better, more gripping and unputdownable (which is now a word, apparently)!

KRL: Who are your writing heroes?

Sarah: Geesh, I have tons from Charlotte Bronte and Louisa May Alcott to Lisa Jewell and Donna Tartt!

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Sarah: It depends on the book. Some books require tons – which is fun. I always visit the settings, but if there’s something particular – such as super recognizing as in Do I Know You? or how HGTV films in We Love To Entertain – then I read as much as I can on the subjects before and as I write.

KRL: What do you like to read?

Sarah: Naturally, I read a lot of suspense. While I’m drafting, I usually avoid suspense so as not to subsume another author’s voice and read historical fiction or nonfiction. I highly recommend Empty Mansions and Cults.

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

Sarah: There’s so much good stuff out there. Reservation Dogs is fantastic and I will watch (and rewatch) any Wes Anderson film!

KRL: Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Sarah: Read, read, read. Draft, draft, and rewrite. And FINISH THE DAMN BOOK! No one wants to read 50 pages of your first 50 pages if that’s all you’ve written. Once you’ve done all of that, then keep the faith as you submit. Remember, publishing is a life lesson filled with ups and downs and weird moments. That’s why you celebrate any little success.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Sarah: Hmm, maybe that I believe in ghosts?

KRL: Do you have any pets?

Sarah: I am down to an elderly rescue with no front teeth – a cat named Harriet who is the absolute best cat I’ve ever had.

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Sarah: I think you’ve pretty much covered everything! Thank you for the opportunity to tell readers and potential readers about my books and the publishing process.

KRL: Where can people find you online?

Sarah: Sarahstrohmeyer.com
Facebook @sarahstrohmeyer
Instagram @sarahstrohmeyerwriter

To enter to win a copy of We Love to Entertain, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “entertain” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 27, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This book sounds so intriguing!

  2. Sounds interesting! count me in!

  3. I’ve read some of the “Bubbles” books years ago and really enjoyed them. Would really like to read “We Love To Entertain”.

  4. Sounds like things might not be on the up-and-up.
    Will put this on my “must read” list. thanks

  5. Sounds like a very interesting read, I love when they have twists and turns that I don’t see coming.

  6. We have a winner!


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