Today I am lucky enough to have an interview with the awesome Sarah Beth Durst. Sarah Beth Durst is the author of many young adult novels including the upcoming Vessel which will be published on September 11 from Margaret K. McElderry.
In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.
Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.
Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.
The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.
What made you decide to write books for young adults? Did all your books start out as YA?
The story ideas that were gripping my heart all seemed to call for a teenage protagonist… so it kind of occurred naturally. VESSEL, for example, is about losing your destiny and what happens after, and I thought the story would be most powerful if the protagonist was at the age where most people begin to shape their future.
The first few drafts of ICE weren’t YA. Cassie (my Arctic research scientist heroine) was originally twenty-eight. But the novel didn’t feel right. So I switched her age to eighteen… and once I did that, it all began to click. I realized that she had to be eighteen because the novel is about leaving your childhood home and creating a new home for yourself, and that’s a very logical age for that kind of emotional journey.
All of your books are very different. Do you have a favorite? One that was more fun for you to write?
I can’t choose a favorite! All of them are different pieces of my heart. (Okay, that sounded cheesy. But seriously, I can’t choose between them. It would be like choosing a favorite child.)
As to the most fun to write, though… that’s easily DRINK, SLAY, LOVE (my vampire girl and were-unicorn novel). Pearl, the main character, is fearless, fun, and completely evil. She was enormously fun to write.
Do you have any must-haves while you are writing?
A computer. A room that’s not too hot and not too cold. And… that’s about it. I’ve discovered that the more must-haves I jettison, the more writing I actually get done.
What has been your best moment so far as an author?
Best moment… I think it has to be getting to write the next book!
Can you say anything about what you are currently working on?
Yes, I’m currently working on a YA novel called SWEET NOTHINGS (coming out in fall 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker). It’s about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program, who, haunted by dreams 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 also recently sold three more books, my first books for adults, to Luna. They’re called THE LOST, THE MISSING, and THE FOUND.