News & More

The North Central News article on page 3 of the November 2023 edition:

The Struggle Within, A Song by John Arcarese

One reader of The Struggle Within: A Novel felt inspired to write and record a song. John Arcarese is owner of Arcapella Studios in Bozrah, CT, and his song, “The Struggle Within” is copyrighted 2018. Listen here:

Journal Inquirer article on page 29 of the June 2-3, 2018 weekend edition:

journal inquirer article (2)

Interview by Sione Aeschliman, Author and Editor 

June 1, 2018 Interview – Sarah was featured on Sione Aeschliman’s website and blog. You can read the entire interview at

Here is an excerpt:

Congratulations on publishing your first book, Sarah! Thank you for making time in your busy schedule to do this interview. First things first: what was your inspiration for The Struggle Within?
Thank you, Sione. I appreciate the opportunity to introduce your readers to my debut novel. The concept for this book came from my love of stories with strong female characters. Since my work and interests revolve around the criminal justice system, the experiences of prisoners and the counselors who support them are particularly captivating. I envisioned a situation where a well-meaning but idealistic advocate might inadvertently inspire a powerful, strong-minded prisoner to use violence to force the system change. This is exactly what happens to my protagonist Beth Sharpe and the formidable José Ayala.

As someone who’s been immersed in the field of criminal justice for 20+ years, what do you see as the greatest challenge the U.S. justice system faces at this time?
The way I see it, inequality is the biggest problem in the criminal justice system, simply because it is so pervasive. In every facet of the system, treatment and outcomes vary depending on a person’s socioeconomic status, race, and gender. It starts with laws that punish certain crimes more severely than others and continues with police who have enormous discretion over who, when, why, and how they arrest people. Beyond that are issues with bail, prosecutor decisions, and plea bargaining that result in poor people going to prison when others with more resources do not. Finally, there are well-documented racial disparities in parole and in the services and opportunities available to prisoners. Whether or not the bias is intentional, the negative impacts on lower-income communities and people of color are devastating.

How does The Struggle Within engage with these issues? What do you hope readers will take away from it? 
The Struggle Within touches on many of the inequalities in the criminal justice system. That said, I am not trying to teach my readers a lesson. Rather, my primary goal is to tell an interesting and entertaining story. I want readers of my book to feel emotionally invested and care what happens next. And if they gain a new perspective or pause to think about injustice, I will be beyond thrilled.

Let’s talk for a minute about process. What did your process for writing and editing this book look like?
I work out of my home office in Ellington, Connecticut. I am type of person who needs absolute quiet when I write. I even wear earplugs when other people are around! I get in “the zone” when I’m writing, and to the relief of my two teenage kids, I’ve learned to set a timer to remind me when it’s time to pick them up.

The storyline for The Struggle Within has been developing in the back of my mind for many years. Four years ago, I finally decided to organize all of the notes I’d made, which resulted in a basic outline for the book. I started writing the story of Beth and José, but what surprised me was how the subplots and the secondary characters revealed themselves. I experienced many “aha” moments, and I know the book would be incomplete without those motivating backstories and supporting characters.

Read the full interview at


September 18, 2019 Connecticut Authors Trail Finale at Mohegan Sun Cabaret Theatre

August 8, 2019 Connecticut Authors Trail at Willington Public Library

December 9, 2018 Holiday Pop-Up Shopping at BookClub Bookstore

December 8, 2018 Holiday Open House and Book Sale at The Storyteller’s Cottage

December 6, 2018 Holiday Bazaar at Barnes & Noble UConn Hartford Bookstore

December 1, 2018 Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association Author Trail at Willington Public Library

Local authors, craft fair, and bake sale.

November 1, 2018 Author Panel at East Hartford Library

Four authors read from their novels, answered questions, and signed their books.

11-1-18 E Hartford Library

October 6, 2018 Book Signing in Laconia, NH 

September 28, 2018 Books on Pratt! on Pratt Street in Hartford 

July 25, 2018 All Access Authors at The Storyteller’s Cottage Steampunk Library in Simsbury, CT

Featuring local authors Mark Dressler, David Garnes, Penny Goetjen, and Sarah Whelan.

8-18 storytellers cottage

June 16, 2018 Book Signing at The Airport Grill in New Bedford, MA

50+ guests   •   delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine

June 9, 2018 Book Launch at Book Club Bookstore & More in South Windsor, CT

Great turnout   •   Excellent question and answer session   

June 1, 2018 Book Launch Party was a huge success!

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