Writer Interview: Sarah L. Blair

Dear writer friends and blog enthusiasts—it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the uber-fabulous Sarah L. Blair.  We met at Writer’s Digest Conference 2012 and she is just a delight.  Follow her on twitter @sarahlblair, peruse her witty and adorable blog at, and enjoy this interview.

AG:  Tell us about your current project.

SLB: I’m currently working on an Urban Fantasy called THE SHIFTING DARKNESS. I officially got to the end of it in August of last year, and now I’m shopping it around for an agent. I’ve also got the sequel started (even though that’s a big no-no since the first one hasn’t sold, but the story will claw me to death if it doesn’t get out!)

AG:   Is it your first book?

SLB:  This definitely isn’t my first attempt at a book, but it’s the first thing that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Y’all know what I’m talking about. I have a pile of “first chapters” and loads of ideas that I want to work on. . . one day!

AG:  How did you tackle the revision process before you queried?  Did you use CP’s?
SLB: I finished it. I cried. Then I went to my best friend’s house and we ate McDonald’s and drank champagne. Then we cried together. And ate more fries. It was pretty awesome.
After that I gave myself a week to tinker with it and I printed out copies for a few of my friends to read. While they were busy with it, I resisted temptation and put it away for a month. I don’t know if it was more difficult to finish it, or to put it away and not mess with it. You have to do that though. It’s the only way to come back to it with some kind of a clear mind and that’s really important after spending years with a project. I probably should have waited even longer, but my self-control isn’t THAT good.

AG:  What was the querying process like for you?  Any tips?
SLB: I’d like to say it was blissful and wonderful and that I landed an agent on my first try and there were fireworks and unicorn farts, but alas, I’m still searching. My only advice is to do loads of drafts of your query. I did six. Check out Query Shark and follow agents on Twitter for awhile to find out what NOT to do. I wish there was more out there about what a good query is like, but the truth is, every project is different and every query has to be different. It’s kind of like American Idol or The X Factor. A good query is magical and you can’t really explain how it’s done, you just have to keep at it until it feels right. You’re also perfectly allowed to send a few out and re-write if you don’t get the responses you need.
    Definitely DON’T query until you have a manuscript that’s the best it can be. I was lucky enough to write a query that was decent enough to earn some requests for partials and a couple fulls and I got good feedback from a handful of awesome agents. At the moment I’m taking a break to fix some of the things in my manuscript that they pointed out.
     Take your time with the process! Don’t get too impatient because that will only make you frustrated and angry and send mean emails to agents who are actually nice people.
    That’s another thing I have taken away from this experience. I was totally terrified to click ‘send’ that very first time. I wanted to crawl under the desk and hide for a week. My query was OUT THERE. A REAL agent was going to READ IT. But you know what? Out of the 10 or so agents I’ve sent to so far, they have all been very nice and professional, even when telling me things I didn’t want to hear. Agents are people too. Despite what we’d like to think (that they kick puppies and drink martinis made with baby tears on their lunch hour), the truth is this:  they don’t ENJOY letting anyone down.   
Once you’re ready to start the query process, your writing is going from a place that is extremely personal and being transformed into a business. If you really want to be a professional writer, that’s how you have to treat the process, as a business. And we all know the ‘ol phrase, “It’s not personal. It’s business.” So you have to separate yourself from the process a little bit and make sure that you don’t take it too personally. If that’s something you feel like you can’t handle, or aren’t ready to handle, then it’s perfectly fine to write what’s in your heart and share it with your friends and go on with your life. If a career as a published writer is something you know you want, then you have to totally GO FOR IT and keep trying until you get there, because the biggest advocate you’ll ever have for your work is yourself. And your mom! But don’t let your mom call agents.

AG:  Do you blog?  Where can we find you on Twitter and the internet?

SLB: I blog sporadically over at I need to get better at updating it. I’m really bad about that. My Twitter is @sarahlblair and I’m over on Facebook at I feel completely ridiculous asking anyone to come ‘like’ me though. It feels so desperate. Do it if you want, by all means! I’d be happy to see you, but know that you’re doing it of your own free will and not because I begged.

AG:  What online resources have you used to help your writing and querying and revision process?
SLB:  The most useful online resources that I’ve found would have to be Query Shark, Writer’s Digest, and Twitter. It was really tough for me to find a writing community in real life, but SURPRISE! I’ve found some pretty awesome peeps on Twitter. It’s been really useful and everyone is very kind about sharing information over there.
Thanks again for coming, Sarah!  Seriously, though, some of my favorite tweets of all time come from this girl.  FOLLOW!  ;)

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