Champaign author publishes first novel


Photo Courtesy of Sarah Robinsons Instagram

Author Sarah Robinson holds up her new novel “The Secrets of Oakley House” for a photo. Robinson is a Champaign native who was inspired by the victorian home and their stories in the area to write her first book.

By Gwyn Skiles, Features Editor

Victorian homes line the streets of Champaign, each filled with stories and secrets. 

The book “The Secrets of Oakley House” is displayed. (Photo Courtesy of Sarah Robinson Instagram)

Champaign native, Sarah Robinson, grew up watching these houses. She later pulled from these memories to write her first novel, The Secrets of Oakley House, which released on Tuesday.

“My parents actually have a Victorian House that was built in the 18oos so I think just the creepy-esque style of the houses and not knowing the history of them inspired me to write a book about them,” Robinson said.

Robinson lived around Park and University avenue where homes like the fathomed Oakley House reside. 

Drawing from memories and nightmares, the novel follows the main character, Mariah Litback, as she moves back to her hometown and rehabs an old Victorian home. As she ventures throughout the house, she digs a little too deep and unleashes a ghostly rage that is centuries old.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“Every now and then I just have a dream where I’m like ‘That was a really creepy nightmare’ and I think ‘Well you know I think I should write a book about them,’” Robinson said.

Although the book takes some creepy turns, Robinson said the book isn’t gory and that anybody can read it.

Robinson has self-published children’s books before. This is her first time working with a publishing group, Global Publishing Group LLC.

“Honestly, it’s writing the book that is the easiest part,” Robinson said. “It’s writing it and pitching it to agents and publishing houses that took forever.”

Robinson started writing The Secrets of Oakley House in October. She finished editing the novel in January.

Robinson took to Twitter in an attempt to catch the attention of publishers. On a pitch day, she posted a summary of the novel through #PitMad.

“A ton of writers come together and one-line pitch their books with the hopes that a publishing house or literary agent will see it, like it and want to read it,” Robinson said. “I actually got three responses from that and it ended in a contract with my publishing house.”

The best advice she could give to a University student that aspires to publish a book is to be persistent.

“There’s a lot of people that will tell you that publishing is too much work and you should just either not write a book or just self-publish it,” Robinson said. “Forget them all. Do what you want to do. It’s your book.”


[email protected]