In the Mind of Sarah Younger – 30 Years of Happily Ever Afters

Since we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary, this year we’re looking to do things a little different leading up to the conference. We’ve invited our workshop presenters and speakers in to give us a bit of insight in their minds, and to, of course, learn about them!

For the first week, I wanted to introduce Sarah E. Younger, who is a literary agent with Nancy Yost Literary Agency. She’ll be presenting a fabulous workshop at our conference in October.  For more information about when registration opens and how you can get information on all our speakers, please go to www.njromancewriters.org.

Please welcome Sarah!

Why did you decide to become an agent?

I didn’t really decide to become an agent, it just sort of happened. I my path to publishing and agenting is one of those stories that is best told in person because of all the interesting twists and turns, but in brief. I had just started working at a textbook publisher in NYC, in marketing, and was fast learning that it wasn’t the type of publishing job I was meant for when my current boss (Nancy Yost) reached out to me. Another industry professional had sent her my resume and cover letter when they heard that she was going to be looking for a new assistant and after reading she contacted me and wanted to know if I was available for an interview. I said yes, and then immediately googled her and found that she represented authors that I had been reading for years. I went for the interview, and I have to say that I was very professional right up until the last five minutes, and that’s when I finally allowed my fangirl to surface. I might had said something along the lines of “Ms. Yost, even if I don’t get this job, I just have to say I am a huge fan of your list, I have been reading your authors for years and I even had to rebuy some titles so that I’d have them on my kindle.” Then she asked to see my kindle…I blushed and handed it over. And the rest is history; I joined NYLA less than a week later.

Why did you decide to become a romance agent?

I want, and do, represent romance because it’s what I love to read. I also love to read YA and some women’s fiction, so I rep that as well. However, I am a huge/superfan of the romance genre and industry. So, it’s makes up the majority of my list. Also, regardless of where I am, what I’m doing, what show I’m watching, or who I’m with I always try to find the happily ever after—much to my friends, roommates, and brother’s annoyance. They regularly hear phrases like “well Captain America would be my favorite superhero, but they killed off his girlfriend in the first movie, so Thor wins.”

How does your family feel about your career as a romance agent?

My family is great, some times they don’t really understand what “agenting” is, but they are super supportive in that they buy my authors books. So, I call that a win.

If you could choose anyone, past or present for a mentor, who would you choose?

I was super blessed to receive a travel scholarship in college that allowed me to design my own three-month trip through Europe. Of course I designed a “Literary and Dramaturgical Tour” that had me visiting the homes and cities where my favorite authors and playwrights lived and worked. I tell you this because interestingly enough the woman who provided the endowment, was Frances L. Phillips. Ms. Phillips did a number of wonderful things throughout her lifetime, she also just so happened to serve as the editor in chief of William Morrow and Company (now an imprint of HarperCollins) from 1931-1957. So, if I could have any mentor besides my current boss, I would love to go back in time to be mentored by Ms. Phillips.

Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

I have a kindle, iPad, and an iPhone. And I read on all three.

If you could have one special, supernatural power, what would it be?

That’s a tough one, but I’m going to go with teleportation. So I could work in the city, but live closer to my family. And then travel whenever and wherever I wanted to. J

What makes a man/hero attractive to you?

Selflessness, the desire to protect his heroine regardless of repercussions is extremely attractive. And then from there I can get extremely shallow…but I’ll stop while I’m ahead.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?

The most interesting thing about me, or that I’ve ever done, is probably my traveling. From Alaska to Monaco to the Isle of Skye I can say that I’ve been blessed to see more of the world and am a better person for it.

Tell us a little about the state/country you live in.

I live in New York City, not sure if you’ve heard of it, but it’s a pretty cool place.

How would you describe yourself in five words?

Loyal, Hardworking, Logical, Blushes-Easily, Ready-to-Laugh (The dashes make those one word, right?) (Lol, right!)

What’s your favorite place in the world to visit?

Scotland. Hands down, I loved visiting Scotland and would go back to visit in a heartbeat. Ironically, I have no Scottish romances. Huh?

Where do you read?

I read in bed most of the time, but other than that I read everywhere, subway, buses, cars, trains, planes, on the couch, in the house you name it I’ve probably read there. I have even read on horseback.

How long have you been reading romance?

Probably longer than I should have, but I’m not complaining. I remember discovering Ella Enchanted in the 3rd grade, and while that is a YA book it does have kissing and a happily ever after. From there I just didn’t stop reading, and by 6th/7th grade I remember putting in a standing pre-order at my local Walden’s Books for Stephanie Laurens’ Bastion Club series. (My mom had to approve, but I don’t think she knew exactly what I was reading.)

What comes first—characters or the plot?

Characters come first for me. I have to love them before I care about what they are doing.

Who’s your favorite hero?

I have too many favorite heroes to list. But to name a few…of course all of my author’s heroes, I mean seriously they are all #1 in my book. And now for a few others you all might recognize: Devil, Curran, Mr. Reid, Vlad, Mr. Impossible (lol), All of Robyn Carr’s Military Heroes, Mitch Lawson, Levi, several Chase’s, and …I’ll stop here. (I truly love so many, I can’t pick just one!!)

Who’s on your auto-buy list for authors?

All of my authors. (Yes, I do buy their books, just one copy though. 😉 Then I have to say Stephanie Laurens, Robyn Carr, Kristen Ashley, Rainbow Rowell, Ilona Andrews, Shannon Stacey, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Rachel Gibson, Sarah MacLean, Jeaniene Frost, Suzanne Enoch, Loretta Chase, Julie James…and so many others!

What’s your biggest dream?

I should probably list something professional here, but in truth my biggest dream is to find my own happily ever after. I keep telling my authors “if they write him he will come” so every time they introduce me to a new hero I get all excited. 😉

Cat or dog person?

I love both cats and dogs, but I’m a horse person. I grew up on a horse farm and I’ve had some of the most meaningful relationships with my equine companions.

Okay, Sarah, get ready. We’re going to do fast-track-trivia (I picked the dash habit up from you!). Rules are you have to choose the first answer that comes to mind. Don’t second guess it!

Favorite color: Blue tied between Carolina Blue and Navy Blue. (Used to be emerald green, and before that amethyst purple.)

Favorite number: 7

Favorite Actor: Thor –I mean Chris Hemsworth

Favorite Actress: Julia Roberts (she’s a classic)

Wine or liquor? Wine

Tea or coffee? Tea (though I also like lattés)

Decaf or caffeinated? Decaf, but not by choice.

Boxers or briefs? Boxer-briefs

Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla though I do love chocolate.

Donald Duck or Goofy? Neither. Mickey, but Goofy in a pinch.

Frozen (the movie) or Tangled? Frozen.

Channing Tatum or Johnny Depp? Channing Tatum.

Want to meet, pitch to, or attend Sarah’s workshop? Make sure to register come June 1st!

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2 thoughts on “In the Mind of Sarah Younger – 30 Years of Happily Ever Afters

  1. Fantastic interview! We’re thrilled you’re attending our conference, Sarah! In the meanwhile, I’ll post a question I’ve long wondered about (despite the fact that I’m not in position to be wondering about it yet!):
    I’ve heard many self-pubbed authors say they have and really rely on their agents. So what is it that agents do/provide/help with for those not on traditional paths, and do you and your agency provide that or no? Is it usually a case of an author you have had who’s branching out? Maybe the more thorough answer is: what do agents do for those traditiionally published versus those indie-pubbed?
    Thanks!

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