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Author Interview: Sabrina Blaum Chats about The Well of Shadows

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Get ready to learn more about the book The Well of Shadows in this discussion with sapphic author Sabrina Blaum.

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

This book is part of the Royal Romance category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write The Well of Shadows?

I wanted to see if I can write a fantasy novel, considering I hate writing descriptions, and back then, I also struggled with writing narrative. At the time, I was also preoccupied with death and dying because a close friend of mine had been declared terminal. So the idea of loss, death, what comes after life, and the quest for a happy ending guided me in this, too.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

I love Chris. No, personality wise, she is not at all similar to me, but she’s the kind of person I am drawn to, especially in fiction. She’s smart, really focused on her duty and on doing what’s expected of her. Throughout the story, she realizes that she is more interested in doing what’s right, even if that’s not easy and requires certain sacrifices. However, she also then experiences a conflict, and it’s interesting to see how she deals with all of that. She loves fiercely, but often feels alone. She is someone who likes to be in control and makes decisions more based on her head. In Aimee, she has found her opposite there.

What was the biggest challenge writing this book?

Definitely having to describe more stuff and explaining the world I’ve created to the readers without doing an info dump.

What part of The Well of Shadows was the most fun to write?

There’s a scene where they fight a sort of shadow monster, and it’s still one of my favorite moments in the book. It’s really serious, but there’s also some humor there. It was a lot of fun to write. I had been stuck there before, and I ended up brainstorming this plot point with a friend. So it had been quite the relief when I was able to push through there.

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

I am tempted to write a prequel that details the story of the twins in the book. I am not sure I will ever get around to it given my ideas folder is already too full, but you never know. It’s been on my mind for a while. They are very interesting characters, and I’d love to explore their story more.

What is your writing process like?

I’m in between. I used to be a total pantser, but that always landed me in trouble. I have a friend who betas all my stuff and we also brainstorm stories together. Once we do that, I have an outline of where this is all going. Then I get started. It’s like a travel itinerary. I know the main pit-stops and final destination, but I do not plan what I do at each stop on the way beforehand, and sometimes, there are detours because characters decide they want to check out something else.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

OK, this is going to be weird, and I’m not sure she’s considered popular, but I would love to spend a day with Margaret Fuller. I read the book Figuring by Maria Popova, and I was utterly captivated by Fuller, her life, her writing, her personality. She felt like a kindred spirit, and I have spent way too much time contemplating what she’d think and say about the world today.

How do you celebrate when you finish your book?

I take the day off. I used to then jump right into the next project. Depending on what’s going on in my life, I sometimes actually take a week or two off from all writing projects. Some books are more draining to finish than others. But I don’t have a real celebration, besides being really happy that another one is done and out there.

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing, and by whom?

My mentor W.B. Gerard. I sometimes feel like he taught me all I know about writing. He taught me to believe in myself and my own instincts, and to go with what I feel is right in the end. He also encouraged me to read a lot and across different genres. He was the first one who believed in me when it comes to writing, and that I can publish my work. I think he also taught me to be fearless. I had a lot of worries about putting my real name on my books, and he helped me get to the point where I was no longer afraid of that.

His best advice? No can write like you can, so only you can tell/share the stories in your head with the world.

It’s not about being better than anyone else. It’s to combat imposter syndrome where you feel that everyone else is so much better than you. In the end, only you have your voice, so use it.

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

Starting a new book can be so daunting because you once more find yourself staring at a blank page. So, sitting there and thinking, OMG, I have to write another 75k plus words story! can cause some panic. Not that you HAVE to write, but you know, the idea of, up to the next one I go! It’s fun, for sure, but again, it can be intimidating, too. So, I tell myself, don’t look at the 75k or whatever words. Write one page after the other, one chapter after the other. You will get there again.

What books did you grow up reading?

I read everything growing up. I read a lot of kids and teen stuff when I was that age. Girls in boarding schools, tiny detectives, little vampires, and so on. When I got into my teens, I want to say I read more fantasy, and well, Star Trek TNG books. I also always loved vampire novels. I wasn’t into romance until I discovered lesbian romance, as I didn’t know for the longest that even exists. Reading a lot has definitely helped me as a writer. It has allowed me to see and feel different worlds and voices, and it has given me a feel for how something is supposed to sound.

Do you only read books in one genre or do you genre hop?

I read a lot of romance, so that’s definitely my number one genre. I also used to read a ton of fanfic, and there again, romance. I also love fantasy, but more the magical realism type. I can’t picture anything, so I get lost in most high fantasy novels. I also like mystery and detective stories. I don’t know why I choose them. I just really enjoy reading them. They keep my attention.

Meet Sabrina Blaum

I’m originally from Germany, and I’ve always written. I now live with my family in east Alabama. I am a big fan of cats, and skulls.

Visit Sabrina’s Website

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Author Interview