Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic

YA Dark Fantasy

In Revisions

I write young adult dark fantasy and use far too many exclamation points. I graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in creative writing and adolescent psychology. When not writing, I can be found playing video games, hiking, or desperately trying to cultivate my dry Illinois flowerbed into a mystical cottage garden.

I have been pursuing publication since I was eighteen. After six years in the query trenches and five books under my belt, I received my first offer of representation. After working with that agent for two years, we decided to part ways and I began to hunt for a new agent. After only a month and a half in the query trenches the second time around, I received an offer from my fabulous new agent! We are currently revising and hoping to go on submission soon.

I majored in Creative Writing and Adolescent Psychology at the University of Illinois. As part of my major, I helped edit a publication of poems from teens around the state. I was selected as a winning entry in Brenda Drake’s Writer’s Voice contest, where I was mentored and learned many useful skills in terms of revising and finding the true heart of a story. I was a mentor in FicFest, a contest in which I helped ready a mentee’s manuscript and query for agent eyes. I am thrilled to be participating in Round Three of Author Mentor Match and can’t wait to unearth a beautiful manuscript

Hello and welcome to my mentor page! I’m thrilled to participate in this round and can’t wait to jump into the lovely slush we will be receiving. Send me all your fantasy, anything from dark and atmospheric to an adventurous romp through a magical kingdom. I love mysteries full of red herrings and books that can keep me from guessing “who-done-it” to the very end. I’m also a huge fan of horror. Anything that can make me dive for the nightlight and sleep with my head under the covers will win you a fan for life. Sci-fi that explores where humanity will be in 1000 years has always been intensely interesting to me, especially if it deals with new species. I love stories where the main character grows internally as they journey through their tales, especially if they shape their world as they do it. Give me worlds I don’t want to leave and characters I’ll follow to the ends of the earth. I don’t shy away from multi-POV stories, especially if the novel delves into how the characters relate to each other and their world. I’ve also got a major soft spot for tales about siblings, especially sisters. So send me all your wonderful, inventive, and unique works! Even if you think it might be too odd or ‘out-there’. There will never be anything too weird for me. I can’t wait to meet my future mentee and help them through the process of querying, and hopefully, finding an agent!

I’ve always been really passionate about giving back, especially in the writing world where personal advice and mentorship seems daunting to find. I was very lucky and thankful to have friends I met via conferences and online message boards to help get me through all the hard stages where I felt like a suffocating (extremely floppy) fish. I want to be there to help someone else through those stages. I’ll cheer them on when they feel like they can’t get that next rejection and celebrate when they get their first full request. I’ve found my home with my agent and now I am hoping I can help someone achieve their dream by finding theirs.

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Historical
  • #ownvoices
  • Horror

I absolutely love the enemies-to-lovers trope, or best friends who find they love each other (this goes for any genre!) Blended genres are also a favorite of mine. Give me an excellent fantasy with a mystery or a sci-fi with a strong horror subplot and I am yours. Historical fantasy also has a special place in my heart, especially if it deals with pieces of history that don’t get a lot of attention.

I’m not the best for near-future sci-fi. While I like it, I feel I’m best suited toward new worlds and exploring frontiers. I’m also not the best fit for urban fantasy as it has been a long time since I’ve read anything within that subgenre. I also likely will not be drawn toward female characters that are the “too tough to care” type as I feel there are many ways to be strong and cutting out other’s feelings has never felt genuine to me (think MCU Black Widow compared to DC’s Wonder Woman).


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

My motto is whatever works best for the mentee works best for me. Typically when I give feedback I like to leave my reactions and odd problems in comments throughout the word document and give an edit letter with overall problems broken down by character, plot, and worldbuilding. I love DM-ing and chatting whenever people need it, so if my mentee likes that form of communication, I am more than happy to oblige. I also have no qualms about chatting via Skype or phone call as I love talking with people!

My ideal mentee would be one who understands their book and knows they would do anything to make it better. I am ready to fight for a story I am passionate about and I want a mentee who feels the same about their book and is ready to work to make it shine.


  • Lush, fully realized fantasy that puts me in an amazing new world
  • Non-European settings (preferably by ownvoices writers)
  • Historical fantasy about the Silk Road, the Gold Rush, anything that takes place in South America or Africa, Mary Queen of Scots, or Catherine de Medici
  • Sci-fi that deals with deep space exploration and aliens (think Mass Effect)
  • Mysteries that really have me guessing who the bad guy is until the very end
  • Horror that deals with ghosts (its a weakness!)
  • Fantasy that deals with folklore or myths
  • could really go for a military intrigue type book where I’m guessing which army can best the other


  • Love triangles (unless the love is truly cyclical)
  • Demons/angels
  • The snarky main character
  • Post Apocalyptic
  • Anything where a woman is abused to further the male main character’s development


  • Lord of the Rings
  • Harry Potter
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Any Studio Ghibi Film
  • Summer Wars
  • Legend
  • The Secret Garden


  • Avatar: Last Airbender
  • I-Zombie
  • Reign
  • House Hunters (Yes i’m that person)
  • Game of Thrones
  • Insecure
  • Stranger Things
  • Salem
  • American Horror Story

Video Games:

  • Dragon Age (ALL OF THEM, I will defend #2 until my dying breath)
  • Skyrim
  • Stardew Valley
  • Banner Saga
  • Diablo
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Dishonored
  • The Last of Us
  • Warcraft