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The Blog
Q&AMar 3, 20233 min

Q&A with Sarah Hawley, Author of A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon

Author Sarah Hawley talks about her new novel 'A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon,' the debut paranormal rom-com novel set in a quirky magical town.

By Emily Calkins

The cover of A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley.

Sarah Hawley's 'A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon' releases March 7th, 2023.

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Q&A Transcript

Likewise: What made you fall in love with paranormal romance?

Sarah Hawley: My mother shared her fantasy/sci-fi collection with me when I was a kid (Andre Norton, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Douglas Adams, etc. etc.), and I’ve always gravitated towards SFF novels with romantic subplots in them (Tamora Pierce’s books were a strong early influence). Once I discovered the romance genre in college, I was thrilled to find books that had all the magic I wanted plus satisfying romantic arcs! One thing I love about paranormal romance is how creative it can be in terms of worldbuilding and stakes (there’s an entirely different level of stakes when characters are immortal or have fated mates, for instance). The only limits are the author’s imagination.

Likewise: Tell us about Glimmer Falls! What intrigued you about writing about a magical small town?

SH: Glimmer Falls is a small town in Washington State that’s full of paranormal people of all types. The surrounding forest contains hot springs, and the magic woven into the soil nourishes a variety of unusual plants and animals. I’ve never lived in a town that small, so it was interesting to imagine what it would be like—the politics, small businesses, festivals, and interpersonal dynamics. It was fun deciding how a town full of so many different species would work, from building construction to community events. I even wrote a year’s worth of newspapers for fun and to explore more of the world, which you can read on my website.

Likewise: Oz is a special case, but even in general, the demons in A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon are less terrible than readers might expect. Why did you want to re-imagine demons?

SH: I wanted to preserve a lighthearted tone and keep religion out of the story, so that meant envisioning demons as a separate species rather than malevolent entities of darkness. The world is meant to be a diverse and inclusive one, so even though demons are generally less emotional than humans, they aren’t better or worse—just different. I also wanted to do a twist on the typical “sell your soul to a demon” narrative, which started with asking why demons need human souls in the first place. It ended up being a symbiotic relationship—demons can’t survive without the magic humans provide, and humans benefit from what demons offer in exchange for that magic.

Likewise: Tell us about three books that made you love romance.


  • Dreaming of You – Lisa Kleypas: Kleypas’s historical romances are masterpieces full of romantic tension, historical details, and fun and complex friend/family dynamics. This classic story about shy author Sara Fielding who captures the heart of dangerously sexy club owner Derek Craven is one of her best.
  • Demon Forged – Meljean Brook (from the Guardian series): Set in a paranormal world where immortal humans with magic powers fight demons to protect humanity’s free will, this book features a tough blacksmith heroine with the power to warp metal and a sexy swordsman who wields fire. It’s an angsty, complex, brilliantly crafted, and sensual novel that addresses trauma in a nuanced way.
  • The Hating Game – Sally Thorne: Thorne’s voice is witty and fun, and this enemies-to-lovers story featuring rival executive assistants at a publishing house is a delight the entire way through. Josh is deliciously uptight while Lucy brings the best sort of chaos, and their journey from shouting at each other to falling in love kept me smiling.

Sarah’s book is one of 15 new romances we can’t wait to read in March - check out the others here!

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