Blair thornburgh headshot with WRiting Process podcast typewriter logo

01:05: YA Author Blair Thornburgh

Blair Thornburgh comes from “book people, going back generations.”

The author of the 2017 Young Adult Fiction novel “Who’s That Girl” from HarperCollins, she says there is a saying around her family. Never give a Thornburgh a book — or you’ll be forced to sit there politely while they read it in front of you.

She’s just 28 but as an editor at beloved novelty publisher Quirk Books and in the midst of a two-book deal with a major industry powerhouse, she has some insight.

The author of two books, an editor on several others and working on her next novel, she reminds us that the joy of a book is that, as author, “you’re making a promise to the reader” and want to deliver.

Among the topics, here’s what we discussed:

  • Have different modes: Blair schedules long working sessions “locked” in her office to do most of the real writing, short sprints on a train commuting, and then thinks through plot while doing the dishes (or activities like it) while also collecting ideas throughout her life.
  • The work is convincing yourself the work of not getting work done is still work. That is, you must live to collect.
  • Blair references author Anne Lamott who talked here about feeding paper to the “Dr. Seuss character inside of us,” whom will naturally find clever ways to tell story.
  • “You write behind your back,” meaning you must always capture what you have. Or as she also says: Don’t hold the butterfly too tightly.
  • We also discuss writing exercises to develop character, which she says can work.

For extras, listen here Blair talk about the business of selling books and here for thoughts about what’s harder, writing funny or writing sad.