The Compulsive Reader: Interview with Sarah Beth Durst!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Interview with Sarah Beth Durst!

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of eight books for kids, teens, and adults, the latest of which is Conjured! Conjured will be out on September 3rd, and her first adult book, The Lost, will be out next June. I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview her here today!

TCR: What are some books that influenced or inspired you as a teenager and as a writer?


ALANNA by Tamora Pierce
DEEP WIZARDRY by Diane Duane
DREAMS UNDERFOOT by Chares de Lint
DRAGONSINGER by Anne McCaffrey
THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley
ARROWS OF THE QUEEN by Mercedes Lackey
THE BELGARIAD by David Eddings
HOMEWARD BOUNDERS by Diana Wynne Jones

I loved (and love) books about an ordinary character who does the impossible. I love books that take you on a journey and then bring you back again, slightly changed. I love books that make the world feel bigger, more magical, more wonderful, and more full of wonder than it felt before. These kinds of books-- the ones that make you feel stronger after you read them -- are the ones that inspired me then and continue to inspire me now.

TCR: In Conjured, main character Eve has special powers; if you could have any power, what would it be?

SBD: I want the power to make the people I love happy, healthy, and ludicrously long-lived. But if that's not on the table, then I want telekinesis. Just because it would be awesome.

TCR: One of my favorite books you've written is Ice. I loved how you blended the classic tale of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" with modern science. What are some of your favorite fairy tales?

SBD: I love "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" of course -- it's essentially Beauty and the Beast, where the Beauty goes on a quest to save the Beast. I'm a sucker for any girl-saves-the-guy story. I also love "Rose Red and Snow White," even though it doesn't make very much sense. There's something appealing about its randomness. Plus, two female leads. (I highly recommend Patricia C. Wrede's retelling. She fills in all the blanks and spins them into a lovely tale.) And I'm also fond of "Tatterhood," another tale with two sisters, one who kicks butt and one who accidentally swaps heads with a sheep.

TCR: In the same vein as the above question, I also really enjoy how you blend the real world with the fantastical, and not just with Ice, but with Enchanted Ivy and your other books. Are there any challenges to maintaining that balance that you struggle with?

SBD: It's my favorite balancing act: fantasy and reality. I think the more reality you have, the farther you can push with the fantasy. If you're asking people to leap with you into the impossible and pretend it's true, then it helps to give them solid ground to push off of.

From a sheer technical standpoint, I always dedicate at least one entire draft to ensuring that the seeds for the fantastical are planted early and clearly within the real, so that they bloom at the right time.

TCR: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming book The Lost?

THE LOST is my first book for adults and will be coming out from Harlequin/Mira in June 2014. It's the first in a trilogy about a woman who is trapped in a town full of only lost things and lost people. Here's a tease from the flap copy: Lost your way? Your dreams? Yourself? Welcome to Lost. It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost... well, it's a place you really can't leave.

But before that is CONJURED, which comes out September 3rd from Bloomsbury/Walker, and is about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program, who, haunted by visions of carnival tents and tarot cards, must remember her past and why she has strange abilities before a magic-wielding serial killer hunts her down.

I'm really excited about both!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thank YOU for taking the time!

Conjured is out soon--I hope you'll pick up a copy when it is available!

1 comment:

LinWash said...

Great interview! I want Conjured so bad it hurts. One of my favorite books by Sarah is Enchanted Ivy. Then there was the awesome Vessel. I'm glad Conjured debuts soon.