One on One With Flagler Beach Based ‘Confession’ Series Author Sarah Forester Davis

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We had the pleasure of sitting down with Sarah Forester Davis before her book signing at Tortugas Florida Kitchen and Bar today. For those who don’t know, Sarah is a published author from Ohio who has written a series of books based in Flagler Beach. Confession’s main characters, Bodhi and Eva, stayed in her head for a very long time. In addition to the three books in the Confession series, she has also written a book called ‘Her Name is Hazel’ and is currently working on another new book.

Sarah confessed that Bodhi and Eva’s story had been developing over several years and trips to Flagler Beach. “The Bodhi and Eva story is over a decade old. It has been in my head for a long time. I have been coming to Flagler for 12-13 years. It was during my very first visit here, I was newly pregnant with my oldest, that we were driving down Highbridge Road and it was at that moment that the story started to kind of play out in my head. Then, I started to see the surfers in the water when I would eat at Funky Pelican. Every time I would come, more of the story would just develop in my mind. The story was fully there. After I had my oldest child, two years later I had my second. Two years after that I had my third and two years later, I had my fourth. My husband travels a lot for work, so I never had time to actually sit down and write the story. It was when Covid shut down the world that I actually decided I’m just going to do it and that’s when I started writing it.” 

The Confession series follows teenagers Bodhi Bishop and Eva Calloway, who live in Flagler Beach. The two are aware from a young age that they are soulmates. When they were 14 years old, they were separated by an unfortunate accident, and they spent the next three years trying desperately to navigate life without one another. They plunge headfirst into their very own epic love story when a tragic event brings them back together. They discover, however, that nothing in Flagler is always as it seems, and their relationship quickly becomes intertwined with dangerous moments and past secrets.

Sarah holds a special place in her heart for her readers in Flagler County. When asked what the most important thing was that she wanted her Flagler readers to know, she replied, “How much I love them would be a huge thing. I absolutely adore my Flagler readers. The Confession series wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is today if it wasn’t for my Flagler readers. They are the ones who totally made it what it is today, they grew the fandom, they are the reason I am here. I want them to know how thankful I am for what they have done for my books because I honestly don’t think the books would be where they are today without them. I have a lot of readers, but 50% of them are from right here in this small town.”

When asked how long she had been writing, she recalled, “I have been writing forever. My dad was in the military and we had to travel a lot because of that. Back when I was like 10 or 11 years old there weren’t any iPads you could throw in the car. I had no books, so whenever we would have long road trips, I’d write. I lived in Japan for a while, any time we were on a train, I had like a Hello Kitty notebook and I would just be writing stories. I actually still have a bin of all these old notebooks with these crazy stories in them. So I have been writing since I was little, it was my way to keep myself busy on all these little trips we always used to take. It wasn’t until high school that I realized I was creative. My English teacher told me that I have a gift with words. She told me that she hoped to see me do something with them one day. I didn’t really think too much of it. I was still writing stories all of the time, just nothing that I ever thought would amount to anything.”

The inspiration for the books she has written comes from her love of traveling. “Her Name is Hazel is from where I live. I drive the route every day to take my kids to school. I drive the circle that the craft fair was at. The places that they go in the book, I’ve been to. Flagler was my inspiration for Bodhi and Eva. Every time I am here, I think of something new to add because of something here. The new one I am working on takes places in Bar Harbor, Maine where we spent a summer a couple of years ago. Traveling is where I get my inspiration and where the stories kind of develop,” she explained.

Since Sarah has a style of writing that gets its inspiration from her family’s travels, we wanted to know if she develops her characters or the plot first. “To be honest, the characters come first. I see the characters in my mind first and then their story starts to play out. I am working on a new one right now and the names of the two characters literally came to my head before their actual story did. Then their story started to develop. So definitely the characters come first. I see them before I know why they’re there,” she answered.

This led to the next question that we had. We asked her if she had any quirks when writing. She boldly admitted, “A lot of authors frown upon the way that I write. Whereas some people will plot out every chapter, they will have the beginning of the book, the middle of the book, the end of the book. Sometimes when I write I don’t necessarily know where the story is going to take me. I write from the beginning to the end. I never skip around. I never plot out anything. I never have to do character descriptions regarding who or what their quirks are or anything like that. I write from the beginning to the end. I will read every chapter after I have written it. After every four or five chapters, I’ll go back to the very beginning of the story and read the entire thing to make sure that things are still flowing and that things make sense, instead of worrying about the end and how I’m gonna get there, I just let my characters tell me what to do.”

She also let us in on a little behind the scenes of writing the third book in the Confession series. “When I wrote the third Confession book, I almost questioned, ’Do I need to go back and read the first and second one over again?’ Even though I’m the writer, I just don’t want to miss anything or screw anything up. But the first one was fresh in my mind because I keep getting screenplay emails. It was more of the second one that I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. But I didn’t do it. I didn’t want to dive back into the second book and have it in my brain as I was trying to write the new one. The characters grow with each book and I didn’t want to throw them back to where they were. I wanted them to be where they were in my mind in the third. A couple of times I just went back to double check that everything made sense. They are so in my mind and just very persistent that I never feel like I have to go back,” she told us.

Readers are eager for the fourth and final book of the Confession series to be released. “So many people are like when is the fourth book coming out?” she said. “They are in my head, I do have some scenes playing out in my head all of the time. But there needs to be a little bit of a break. The Confession books are very detailed and this will be the fourth and final one. I have the one I am working on now and I haven’t said this out loud yet, it will be kind of like a follow up to Her Name is Hazel. Killian and Hazel will not be the main characters but they will be in this book. I kind of want to get this book out before I start focusing on the fourth and final book of the Confession series. I know that it is going to take me a while and I don’t want these other stories up here to be screaming at me the entire time.“

Sarah has held a few book signings in different locations in Flagler Beach during her trips to Flagler Beach. We asked if she had any memorable fan encounters during these book signings, “Definitely the cup with Bodhi and Eva quotes that someone gave me. I also had one reader who got all of my books at the last book signing. She sat down to eat lunch with her mom and saw the trigger warning at the beginning of Her Name is Hazel. I believe she is a survivor along the lines of something Hazel went through in the book. She got up and came over and hugged me and thanked me for including the warning. I have also had people message me thanking me for that warning. That meant a lot.”

If you didn’t already know, the first book in the Confession series is being made into a movie! We asked if there was anything else that she wanted to let her local readers in Flagler Beach know, she enthusiastically told us, “Stay tuned because big things are coming for Bodhi and Eva. The screenplay is pretty much finished. I think this summer is when more information will get thrown out there. We will be seeing more of what’s to come with Bodhi an Eva and the movie.”

Fans eagerly lined up for today’s book signing, excited to share their stories about the books with Sarah. Readers both young and old were in attendance. Sarah happily signed books, shirts, and posed for photos with her fans.

A few patrons of the restaurant who didn’t even know about Sarah and her books ended up buying books because they were intrigued. Several other ladies standing in line waiting for autographs assured them that they would love the books and wouldn’t be able to put them down.

You can follow Sarah Forester Davis on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Be sure to check out her website for links to purchase her books and apparel. 

By Kim Hunt

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