Editor Interview: Blair Thornburgh

Hello, everyone! Today I’m thrilled to host an interview with editor Blair Thornburgh!
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blairBy day, Blair Thornburgh is an editorial assistant at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, where she works on a variety of strikingly unconventional fiction and non-fiction projects. By night, and also by early morning, she’s a YA writer. Her next conference will be the , and she would love to say hi to you and talk books.

~*~Website ~*~ Twitter ~*~

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Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What’s the quirkiest thing about you?

Of course! My name’s Blair, and I’m an Editorial Assistant at Quirk Books…which I guess is also a quirky thing about me? Backup quirk: I majored in Medieval Studies, so I can read Old English.

What type of manuscript would you love to cross your desk at the moment? Do you have any projects you’re working on right now that you’re crazy about?

I would LOVE (no pun intended) to see more unconventional love stories—Quirk is actually holding a love story contest for writers () because we really, reeeeeally want to fall in love with a new writer who writes romances that aren’t like the rest of them. Adult, YA, anything goes. We just love good ideas.

I was super psyched to work on William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, since I’m a nerd and never dreamed I’d get to proofread iambic pentameter. And, obviously, I’m HUGELY excited for Hollow City, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Everyone’s editing process is different. What does yours consist of? How do you go about crafting an editorial letter to an author?

My job as editorial assistant means I work as a kind of second pair of eyes, reading projects that the editors are working on and helping them pick up on inconsistencies or weak spots—both ones they ask me to look out for and ones I notice on my own. The editorial advice we give really varies from author to author, depending on how they wrote the first draft (outline? No outline? Wild abandon?) and what their editing style/deadline is.

What is the most common mistake you see in manuscripts? Do you have any advice you’d like to offer to writers?

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of first-person narratives that refer only vaguely to events or people that the protagonist clearly knows about—what Carrie Ryan calls “.” Specific details make a narrative sharp, and they’re a sine qua non of first-person narrative. Use them!

And lastly, a theoretical question for you. You’re headed to a duel: sword or pistol, and why? Also, what did you do to make things lead to a duel?

Pistol, definitely; with a sword I would probably pull a Thisbe and stab myself. The only time I’ve ever had an argument almost come to blows was in the Barnes and Noble on Union Square in New York over whether or not J.R.R. Tolkien was a hack (he was not, thankyouverymuch), so that might do it for me.


Everyone, Blair has generously agreed to offer up two prizes! Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win either a paperback copy of MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN or a query critique from Blair!

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About Rachel Russell

Rachel is the YA author of Harvester (Entranced Publishing, 2014). She works as the Submissions Coordinator and Editorial Assistant for Month9Books, LLC., and is also a freelance editor. When she isn't reading, writing, or editing, she's lurking on Twitter, drinking dirty martinis, and spreading the love for pickles on pizza.
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  • Carolina

    Hey! Nice post :)

  • EllieAnnSoderstrom

    You got to post William Shakespeare’s Star Wars?! Awesomesox. This is a great interview, nice to meet you, Blair!