Exclusive Author Interview with Sarah Beth Durst

SciFiChick.com recently had the opportunity to interview author Sarah Beth to talk about her latest release Vessel. Her novels Ice and Enchanted Ivy are two of my top favorite young adult novels that I always recommend. And last year’s Drink, Slay, Love was a fantastic vampire romance novel.

Reviews:
Ice: http://scifichick.com/2009/11/11/book-review-ice/
Enchanted Ivy: http://scifichick.com/2010/10/07/book-review-enchanted-ivy/
Drink, Slay, Love: http://scifichick.com/2011/09/20/book-review-drink-slay-love/

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Can you tell us a bit about VESSEL in your own words?

VESSEL is about a girl who lives in a harsh desert land and is destined to sacrifice herself so her clan’s goddess can inhabit her body… but her goddess never comes.

Can you talk about Liyana’s character and the reason for her sacrifice?

Once a century, the goddess of the Goat Clan claims a human body and uses it to work the magic that fills the wells, revitalizes the oases, and increases the herds. Without this infusion of magic, the clan will wither and die.

Liyana has been chosen to give her body to the goddess. She doesn’t want to die, but she is willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of her clan and especially for the sake of her four-year-old brother. She is both brave and extremely practical as she faces her own death.

The creatures in VESSEL seem very unique. Where did the idea for the wolves of sand and serpents of glass come from?

I use the Rule of Awesome to develop my ideas. (Okay, yeah, I made up that term just now.) It goes something like this:

Me: I want to write about a desert.
My brain: Okay. But is it awesome?
Me: Deserts have sand storms. And wolves.
My brain: Okay. But is it awesome?
Me: The wolves are made out of sand.
My brain: Okay. But is it…
Me: And there are dragons made of sand… no, sky serpents made of GLASS. Unbreakable glass! And monstrous worms. And gods and goddesses that displace human souls when they…
My brain: Okay, okay! Write that.

This seems to be your first novel not set in world similar to present day Earth. Was that a natural progression that your fantasy world-building has taken?

Actually, it’s more of a return than a progression. When I was a kid, I used to grab a stack of paper and roll of masking tape and cover my room in enormous maps of fantasy worlds. I’d spend hours and hours drawing pictures of nonexistent plans and animals and making lists of people who lived in these worlds…

What do you enjoy most about writing fantasy novels?

Creating your own world is kind of the extreme sport version of fiction writing. You’re not only asking readers to care about nonexistent people, but you’re asking them to come with you to a nonexistent place… and not just a cute Connecticut town that doesn’t exist, but a place where everything from the legends to the food to the insects could be different. It’s enormously satisfying to breathe to life not just a few people but entire peoples.

Besides your first two published novels, your other novels have been standalone YA fantasies. Any plans on doing a series? Do you prefer standalone to doing a series?

Actually, I recently sold my first trilogy! They’re called THE LOST, THE MISSING, and THE FOUND and will be published by Luna sometime in 2014 and 2015. They’re my first books for adults.

I love both standalones and series. With standalones, you have a story that you can wrap your mind and heart around all at once. And with a series, you can sink into a world long-term.

What’s next for you after the release of VESSEL? Can you talk about any other stories in the works?

After VESSEL, my next novel is a YA thriller called SWEET NOTHINGS. It’s coming from Bloomsbury/Walker in fall 2013, and it’s about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

Writing is what makes me happy.

It’s pretty much that simple. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be (except for a brief period where I wanted to be Wonder Woman — not a viable career choice, as it turns out). When I write, the world feels balanced and full of shiny, happy goodness. When I don’t write, I morph into Snow White’s Grumpy.

What inspires you?

Things that are awesome. Like wolves and dragons and manatees and sunsets and moonrises and the soft moss that grows in deep forests. Also, chocolate. My muse requires Raisinets.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, Charles de Lint, Mercedes Lackey, Diana Wynne Jones… I love books about girls who kick butt. I love books that make me feel like the world is more magical than I thought it was. I love books that make me laugh, make me care about the characters, and take me on an incredible journey.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?

I’m either writing or spending time with my family. Sometimes I sleep. Lots of times I eat. One of the primary benefits of being a writer and working at home is constant access to the fridge.

Thanks for your time!

Thanks for reading!!!

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