Thursday, October 14, 2010

Q&A with Sarah Beth Durst

I'm so pleased to bring everyone the interview I did with Sarah Beth Durst, author of newly released YA fantasy novel Enchanted Ivy (October 12, 2010 - Margaret K. McElderry) I was so excited when she contacted me to review her latest book and I can't wait to get my hands on her other novels!


A little background info before we go on:

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of Ice, an Andre Norton Award Finalist for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild. Her latest novel is Enchanted Ivy, a YA novel about getting into college. You know, taking the campus tour, talking to the gargoyles, flirting with the were-tigers, riding the dragons...

Sarah was born in Massachusetts as Sarah Angelini and grew up in Northboro, a small town in central Mass that later became the setting for her debut novel.

At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories.

She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk.

Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat. She also has a miniature pet griffin named Alfred. Okay, okay, that’s not quite true. His name is really Montgomery.

You can visit her website here:
You can also follow her blog here:


 Me: Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer some questions Sarah!

Sarah: You're very welcome! Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Me: Can you tell us a little bit about Enchanted Ivy and what it’s about?

Sarah: Enchanted Ivy is about getting into college. You know, taking the campus tour, talking to the gargoyles, flirting with the were-tigers, riding the dragons... While visiting the campus of Princeton University, 16-year-old Lily discovers a secret gate to a magical realm and must race against time to save herself, her world, and any hope she has of college admission.

Me: I know you went to Princeton yourself. How much of your experience at the college influenced your writing of Enchanted Ivy?

Sarah: The original idea for Enchanted Ivy grew out of a Princeton superstition: if you walk out the main gate, you won't graduate. My friends and I studiously avoided this gate for four years. So I started thinking: what if there's a reason for this superstition?
I was also inspired by the campus itself -- the trees, the gardens, the gargoyles, the gothic buildings, the catacomb-like library, the mansion-like eating clubs, the wrought-iron campus gate... It's a beautiful campus, but I wanted to make it actually magical.

Me: What do you think was the most difficult thing you faced in writing Enchanted Ivy, from brainstorming to the final draft?

Sarah: Definitely the first draft. With the first draft, the story is as far from perfect as it could possibly be. I always try to push through that draft as quickly as possible (usually with the aid of a LOT of chocolate) so that I can get to my favorite part: revision. I love revising! That's when the story really comes to life.

Me: I really love how the title ties into the story (extremely clever!) But I noticed you originally titled the book Tigerlily which had an equally strong tie, why the change?

Sarah: Actually, the novel went through many, many titles. But once we came up with Enchanted Ivy, it just felt right.

Me: There are so many great characters in your novel…who was one of your favorites to work with and why?

Sarah: The Chained Dragon. He was deliciously fun to write. Oh, and the evil vampiric fairy because, really, how often do you get to write about evil vampiric fairies? I wouldn't want to meet her in a dark alley, but I loved writing her scenes.

Me: This is my first experience with your writing and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it! However if you weren’t writing books what do you think you’d be doing for a career?

Sarah: This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do. However, in my next life, I'd like to be a marine biologist. (I can't do it in this life because I hate swimming and am scared of boats. Love dolphins, though.)

Me: If you could write a book about absolutely anything with any other author, who would you choose and what would the book be about?

Sarah: Shakespeare. But I'd have to talk him out of writing about mistaken identity yet again.

Me: What’s your current/next project?

Sarah: My next book (coming fall 2011 from S&S) is Drink, Slay, Love. It's about a vampire girl who develops a conscience after she is stabbed through the heart by a unicorn's horn. I'm really, really, really excited about it. It's been a phenomenally fun writing experience.

Me: What are some of the books you’re reading or have read recently?

Sarah: I am currently reading (and loving!) The Last Hunt by Bruce Coville. Recent reads that I also loved include: Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison, and Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.

Me: I can’t thank you enough for spending time here at P.S. I Love Books and giving me the opportunity to read your latest novel. I had such a blast!

Sarah: Thanks again for having me here!


Click here to read my review!


Heather R. Holden said...

Fantastic interview! It's so great to see another writer who prefers revising over first-drafting, heh. Loved reading about the inspiration for ENCHANTED IVY!

Cass said...

It'd be cool to hear about some of the potential titles for EI. Lovely interview! :)

Tina said...

Thanks for the great interview! You asked questions that I always want to ask the author when I'm reading a book :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome interview! I love the cover!

misskallie2000 said...

I loved the interview and the cover calls out to pick me up.
This is one book I would love to read and have added to my wish list.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Karielle Stephanie said...

Wonderful interview. I'd love to read "Enchanted Ivy" now!


Kristen said...

I love learning more about the background of an idea for a book. Fantastic interview!

Kathy Habel said...

Can't wait to read about the Chained Dragon. Sounds like a great book.

Unknown said...

I've been wanting to read this book and this only gets my heart pumping even faster! great interview.

Lily said...

Nice interview. It's interesting to read how the author gets into writing there ideas in a book.

Demi Torway said...

Everything about this book and author grabs my attention. Good interview.

donnas said...

Great interview. Love the cover and really looking forward to reading it.

Vivien said...

I love author interviews. There's always great information.

Susie said...

by the way, this author seems far from typical, can't wait to read her latest book.

Beth Sanzo said...

I too am looking forward to reading this. The author seems very likable.

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