New Client Alert — Sara Shamansky

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Jul 21 2023

Sara Shamansky


What you Write:

#OwnVoices Women’s Fiction



Jessica Faust


Why BookEnds?

Like probably most authors who went through the querying trenches, I’m a huge fan of BookEnds’s blog and videos. I feel that along with the information Jessica and James share, there are values that shine through, and a goal to make publishing more accessible, and those are values that are very important to me too.


What book do you wish you had written, and why?

I believe every person has their own story to tell. I don’t want to write anyone else’s, just tell my own.


If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?  

Probably my day job. I’m a Software Engineer, which involves a lot of writing too, but of a different kind. I also have 4 small kids who keep me quite busy. Every pocket of free time is divided between writing and swimming.


Where can readers find you on the web and social media?

I blog at Frum N’ Flipping and tweet as @FrumNFlippin about my experiences as an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman. It started as a blog about my matchmaker-arranged dating life, but once I got married I had to move on to other topics! 


What’s the last book you read?

I’m on a Multi-POV binge read, since my own novel is told from the POV of three protagonists. I just finished These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany and was so impressed by how she portrayed her community. I’m always fascinated by the universality of our experiences as women in very different worlds. I’m now reading Grown Ups by Marian Keyes. I love the way she writes about heavy and often semi-taboo topics with humor, she’s one of my role models for writing women’s fiction. 


If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?

This one is easy to answer, I’ve been fantasizing about Grace and Frankie’s beach house for years. It’s right on the beach and has a swimming pool, what more can anyone ask for? I’m planning to turn Frankie’s pool-house/studio into my writing retreat. I’ll swim laps every morning, while thinking up that day’s chapter, and then throw on a robe and sit down to write it. 


What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?

My mother is an author of historical fiction, and she always told me – “You’re a writer.” Once you believe in yourself  (and make sure you actually write, don’t just dream about it) the rest follows.

I also found Savannah Gilbo’s podcast was incredibly to the point and insightful, I followed a lot of her advice in order to improve my book’s story arc.


What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?

My mother’s version of the Thomas Edison saying- “Writing is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Some scenes came to life so vividly in my head that they almost wrote themselves, but there were other scenes I knew needed to happen but wasn’t feeling inspired about. For a coherent story line, I had to force myself to write those scenes too. It sometimes felt like pulling teeth. To my surprise (after countless revisions) I get just as good feedback from my “non-inspired” scenes. 


What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?

Don’t give up!

On a more practical level – I splurged on 1 month of a subscription to Publisher’s Marketplace – I was able to see which agents recently sold books similar to mine, and really target my queries. 

I also found a subscription to QueryTracker was helpful for my mental health. For instance when I saw that an agent hadn’t replied to a single query in 3 years, I felt much better about not hearing back from her, even though she was “perfect” for my book…


How did you know your book was ready to submit?

This is a good place to thank all my wonderful beta readers. I went through countless cycles of beta reading and revisions. In previous versions, one of my protagonists got a lot of flak from readers for her choices, I realized that the character in my head wasn’t the character that readers were seeing on the page, so I worked hard on layering in her very human hang-ups, to make her more relatable. 

When I sent out the latest version to beta readers, many of them finished reading it by the next day and told me that they couldn’t put it down. Then, when they told me how much they connected to all three of my protagonists’ stories, I was like “Yay! I did it!”