Image of a heart with rainbows

Author Interview: Sabrina Blaum Chats about The Deal

Author Chat IHS Logo
Get ready to learn more about the book The Deal in this discussion with sapphic author Sabrina Blaum.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Sabrina Blaum about The Deal, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Found Family category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write The Deal?

Fake relationships hadn’t been a trope that I had read much or paid a lot of attention to, yet my best friend loves this trope, and she beta reads all my work. So, I’d decided to write a book with that trope for her. I also had finished my first Constellation book, The Chase, at the time. In it, I really liked E a lot, and I wanted to continue her story. So, I combined the two of them.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

This is a hard one. E is more like me, and I really like how calm and relaxed she is. At the same time, I find Nicole more appealing, because once again, she’s a more closed-off character with an affinity for control and a regimented life. Seems like catnip to me.

What was the biggest challenge writing this book?

This was the hardest one to write out of the Constellation series. I just couldn’t seem to get the characters right at first. After that struggle, it turned into a total pain in revisions. I did so many “final” revisions for this one. It might also has given me so many problems because at 92k words, it’s the longest I’ve written and published. Then there’s the forever long sex scene in there. That was a hard one to write and an even more difficult one to revise/proof. I’ll never write such a long sex scene again, that’s for sure.

How much research did you need to do for The Deal?

I had to research making alcohol quite a bit since that’s something I only had heard of before. So, that was really interesting. I learned quite a bit, mind you, I have zero interest in making alcohol myself. It seems like a tedious process with so much waste.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I write mostly either at the breakfast table or the living room at our house. I need to be more mindful of my hands and posture, though, as my hands recently have been giving me some trouble. I bought a lap desk to be able to keep writing while sitting on the couch. I also got a new keyboard that’s better for my hands, but I’m still so slow typing on it, so it’s been a work in progress. I don’t like to cut myself off from my family when writing, so I don’t withdraw into a solitary space. I can write both with noise around me and in silence, so I really just need my laptop and a comfortable space to sit.

Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?

Yes. Kit Kat, our 19-year-old cat. She’s something else. She loves to sit next to me when I’m writing, and then often ends up–somehow–with her paws on my keyboard. She seems to especially enjoy doing that when I am proofreading. I have come back to my open laptop with random letters added, courtesy of Kit Kat. She’s really loving and affectionate, but she doesn’t want to be held or sit on your lap, yet she will make sure a part of her body (paw with one claw digging into your pants, or her head) rests on you in some form.

When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

I don’t. I just sit down and write. I will say, though, there are some scenes that are more difficult to write based on my mood. So if that happens, then I will just come back to it later. But generally, I don’t set any moods. It does help to have been writing for a bit already before getting to such a scene. By that, I mean that it’s easier to write such a scene in the middle or toward the end of one of my writing sessions compared to sitting down and starting a session with such a scene.

Do you feel bad putting your characters through the wringer?

I don’t. I mean, there are moments when I am reading it and I am going, damn, that’s awful, poor XYZ. But while writing, not so much. I am focused on getting the scene right and making everything believable, so I am not approaching it from a readers perspective when I am writing.

There is a character in a book I plan to publish the end of this year. It’s a story I’ve been working on since 2012 (let’s not talk about that), and this character likely endures the most trauma. It’s a historical science fiction (time travel) piece. I remember one read-through where I just sat there thinking, holy hell. She really endures a lot. Do I feel bad? No. It’s part of the story and that’s what makes it work. I am not intentionally cruel or sadistic to my characters, but a story thrives on conflict and drama to a degree, so, some gotta suffer.

Describe your favorite reading spot.

I like to read while lying in bed. It’s just so comfortable, and it then truly feels like a leisure activity compared to when I am sitting down somewhere to read. Perhaps because most reading that I do while sitting relates to my own writing/proofing.

Have you ever thought you’d hate a book, but ended up loving it?

I often want to quit all books by Naomi Novik that I start reading. Like within the first two to three chapters, I don’t feel the book or the characters. I might feel lost in the world and I am all like, what even is this? Then, she suddenly grabs me and I cannot stop reading and I become obsessed with the book/series.

Meet Sabrina Blaum

I’m originally from Germany, but I’ve been living in east Alabama for the last twenty years with my family. I love to read and write, and I used to teach English Composition at a local university.

Visit Sabrina’s Website

share on:

Author Interview