Sarah Fine and Sanctum


Sarah Fine was born on the West Coast, raised in the Midwest, and is now firmly entrenched on the East Coast, where she lives with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she’s working as a child psychologist. No, she is not psychoanalyzing you right now. Sanctum is her first novel.

ABOUT SANCTUM (Guards of the Shadowlands #1)

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone – she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife. As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn’t – the dark city isn’t the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.


"As a modern-day 'Orpheus and Eurydice,' Sanctum will be a hit with urban fantasy readers, who will love its top-notch world-building, page-turning action, and slow-developing romance." ~School Library Journal
"This is one of my favorite books of this year! Smart and sexy." ~Reading Teen blog


Twitter: @finesarah


MAUREEN: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?

SARAH: Well, I suppose I’d go back to being a psychologist full-time, because I think I’m pretty good at it. If I couldn’t do that, I’d want to work in a bakery. I’m a morning person. And I like icing.

MAUREEN: Oh, a morning person... I’m not sure we can be friends, anymore. {joking} I’d like to work in a bakery, but for other reasons. Did you belong to a clique in high school? Which one of the standard high school stereotypes did you best fit in to?

SARAH: I guess I was just one of the smart kids, like a nerd, but I was also in the drama club, the show choir, and on the tennis team. I was definitely not a popular kid, and I didn’t have many friends because I’m extremely introverted (I know that might seems strange since I was center stage in the high school musicals, but that’s like slipping on a mask, you know?). By the end of it all, I could hold my own. The more I became aware that the world was a huge place and that high school was this tiny microcosm, the more comfortable I felt about it. But sometimes, I actually did have to tell myself that my life would get better once I got through it, and that the best parts in my life were yet to come … because at times it was truly painful.

MAUREEN: I take it all back. Other than the morning person/night person thing, we might be the same person. Salsa or guacamole?

SARAH: Guacamole. It’s possible that I’m addicted to it.

MAUREEN: Not such a bad addiction. What’s next for you as an author?

SARAH: The sequel to Sanctum is slated to come out in October 2013—and in the same month, Scan, my co-authored YA thriller (written with Walter Jury, published by Putnam/Penguin), will also be released. Right now I’m busy writing book 3 in the Guards of the Shadowlands series (which will come out in 2014), as well as Burn (also 2014), which is the sequel to Scan. On top of that, I’m working on revisions to Factory Ghost, which is also slated for 2014 (from McElderry/Simon & Schuster). The next few years are going to be extremely busy ones, but I love that, and I feel very lucky.

MAUREEN: Wow, you are busy! Can’t wait for all these books. Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

SARAH: I do read reviews! Thus far, at least. I’ve been so impressed with how thoughtful they’ve been. So many reviewers have taken the time to write in-depth analyses of my book, and to know that they thought Sanctum was worthy of that much time is really inspiring for me.

I definitely pay attention to what reviewers are saying in terms of how they interpret events or characters’ motivations, because it tells me how well I’m doing in terms of communicating to readers. I’ve already determined the arc of the story, so that’s unlikely to change based on anything but negotiation with my editor, but hearing what reviewers think of the writing, the world-building, and the characters—as well as what they’re curious about and the questions they’d like answered in subsequent books—can be quite useful.

MAUREEN: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

SARAH: In November 2009, I started writing quite suddenly. Before that, I had no aspiration to become a writer—it had never occurred to me. So much in my life has changed now. I’ve made so many new friends, people I never would have encountered if I hadn’t become part of the writing community. I’ve had the opportunity to pursue this career with the support of experienced professionals who have helped me become better. Now I get to tell stories for a living (though I still psychologize part time). It is an unbelievable privilege. So, in answer to the question, I guess I’ve realized a dream that I never realized I had.

MAUREEN: What does it mean to love someone?

SARAH: Ah. My books are often keenly focused on this. I guess my idea of the ultimate love is to wish and strive for the beloved’s well-being, no matter what that might mean—and even if it brings sorrow and loss to the one who loves. Sometimes it translates into the willingness to sacrifice oneself, and sometimes it results in the beloved’s anger or rejection. But the lover who truly loves would accept that consequence if it meant that the beloved had what s/he needed to be sustained and whole. This concept is so powerful that it pervades the Guards of the Shadowlands series, and I explore it in depth because it fascinates me so.

MAUREEN: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?

SARAH: I don’t know if this is interesting or not, and I have too many quirks to name, but my biggest may be that I despise paper. I know that might sound odd for someone who’s a writer, but it’s true.


MAUREEN: What do you love best about writing for the young adult market?

SARAH: I could go on and on about this, but I suppose I’ll just say that YA is an incredibly vibrant set of genres, written for an incredibly varied audience. The struggles, conflicts, and firsts are breathtaking in their intensity and newness, and I absolutely love immersing myself in that stuff.


SARAH asks readers: Okay—I gave my definition of love, but it means something different to everyone. Can you guys tell me yours?


Sarah will give away a signed hardcover copy of Sanctum for one lucky commenter.
Don’t forget to leave your e-mail address in your comment so we can let you know the great news if you win.

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.


Creepy Query Girl


  1. Your remark about not liking paper reminded me of this quote from Peter De Vries: "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork."

    And as for love? Well, in looking that up I also saw this: "We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through."

  2. What a great interview. I just finished Sanctum, and I loved it.

  3. Ugh, I could write too many words on love. I agree with your assessment, though. Wanting and doing what's best for those you love. Being selfless and the intense desire to take away pain, even if it means bringing it on yourself.

    Great interview! katiemills18@hotmail.com

    1. Congratulations, Creepy Query Girl! (Love the handle, BTW, LOL)

      You're the winner!!! I'll let Sarah know. :)

  4. I didn't know Sarah was a drama kid! OMG! That's so fun. And tennis?
    Great interview!

  5. great interview. I'm dying to read the sequel to the sequel of Sanctum. I've read the sequel and all the great short stories Sarah has written for the series, but I NEED to read book three. :D

    (Oh, as awesome as Sanctum is, book two is even better. Hard to believe, but it's true.)

  6. oh, what a fun interview! I think all us writers were probably the introverts in HS. I was also in drama, but I stuck to the bit parts. My older brother was the "star*--LOL! :D It is fantastic how many talented writer-friends we've made through this gig. Love it.

    As for what does love mean... hmmm... I think it means different things to different characters. And that's what makes love stories so interesting. Yes? ;o) Can't wait to start Sanctum!!! <3

  7. Hi Sarah,
    Awesome interview and what a huge, amazing premise for a book. I think it sounds like the kind of thing only a really smart person could pull off! Can't wait to read it.

    Love to me (in terms of romantic HEA love) means total commitment and selflessness on the part of both people. There's a Bob Dylan song that has always summed up how I think partners should feel about each other: "To Make You Feel My Love." One of the verses goes: "I'd go hungry, I'd go black and blue, I'd go crawling down the avenue, there is nothing that I wouldn't do, to make you feel my love." Yeah. That's all :-)

    Thanks for being here today!

  8. Sounds like a great book!

    For me, love means total unconditional commitment. Both people have to care about each other through the good and bad times.

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

  9. I love paper only when it's in neat little piles of usefulness. Otherwise, I go into my mean, bug-eyed recycle monster mode.

    Thanks Sarah and Maureen for a great interview!

  10. Great interview and I can't wait to read this.
    To me, love is total trust and sacrifice. I really liked what you had to say about being willing to sacrifice so the other person could be whole. I also think love displays itself almost as a compulsion. Like, when that person you love needs you, you don't even think, you just respond to that need.
    Thanks for the fun interview!

  11. I think it's when people care and support each other and only want the best for the other person.


  12. Hi, Sarah, welcome to get lost in a story. I never thought about disliking paper --hate's such a strong term -- I don't dislike paper to the extend I would a mass murderer, etc. etc., but I do find paper cluttering and annoying.

    Love. Love is that emotion you feel that makes your throat tighten and your eyes well with such happiness that the person who brings out that emotion simply has to be part of your life. When my dad passed away, I felt that emotion, and I feel it often these days through my husband and kids. Love is a person's ability to fill a hole in your life that would otherwise be a void. Hmmm. best I can do.

    Here's to a fabulous writing career!

  13. I've been so behind because of the baby, but this is on my short list!!! I love Sarah (not in a stalkerish kind of way so don't worry). And I also love Guacamole, which I would totally stalk if that were possible. Instead I just eat it.;D

  14. To me, love is what a mother feels the first time she holds her baby - and every day afterwards. It's a bond that doesn't break, but bends and twists to adapt to the situations that face them. Love is unconditional.