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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Author Interview: Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of the highly anticipated book ICE, as well as Into the Wild, an Andre Norton Award Finalist for Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy, and its sequel, Out of the Wild. She has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old and holds an English degree from Princeton University. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children, for whom she would happily journey east of the sun and west of the moon. ICE is in stores today!

What got you interested/started in writing?
I have wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. (Before that, I wanted to be Wonder Woman. Except I wanted cooler powers, like telekinesis or teleportation, rather than the "lasso of truth." I mean, really, lasso of truth? Superman gets to fly and such... But I digress.) I've always loved books. To me, books are magic. They cast spells that can help people escape, even if only for an hour or two, from whatever is hurting them. I've always wanted to be part of that magic, to create characters that can be like new friends, to take people (and myself!) to places they'll never go...

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
ICE is basically Beauty and the Beast meets Arctic adventure. It's set as far north as you can imagine and beyond -- Cassie (my "Beauty") lives in northernmost Alaska and Bear (my "Beast") lives one mile north of the North Pole. Cassie spends a lot of time being cold. I don't like to be cold. Really, really don't like to be cold. And I'm not very adventurous either. So I did a TON of research. I read nature guides, survival guides, polar bear books, Arctic explorer memoirs... I plastered my room with photos of the Arctic and covered my floor with tons of maps. Basically, I immersed myself in as much research as possible until I felt like I had lived in that world. Minus the cold.

If you could collaborate with one author, who would it be and why?
Shakespeare. Because I've always wanted to time travel.

No, I'm totally kidding. I'd miss the indoor plumbing. Seriously, if I could collaborate with one author... I'd have to say Tamora Pierce. I love the worlds and the characters she creates. She's one of the writers who inspired me to say, "I want to do this. I want to create this magic too."

Do you have a novel outlined pretty much in its entirety when you start writing, or does the plot take shape as you write?
I outline. I have to outline. I'm too easily distracted by shiny things. If I didn't outline, my characters would start off in Alaska and end up visiting dinosaurs in petticoats while the aliens dance the quadrille. (Note: this is NOT the plot of Ice.)

Most exciting experience thus far in your life?
Getting the Call. As I said above, I've wanted to be a writer since I was ten, so I'd been waiting a long time for that call from my agent saying someone wants to publish my book. I think I shrieked. I know I was shaking. After the call, I checked the caller-ID twice to be certain that she really had called and I hadn't just hallucinated the whole thing. (I had dreamed about that moment so many times that I thought it was a distinct possibility that this time, I had simply imagined it really, really clearly.)

Do you hear from your readers much? What kind of things do they say?
I love hearing from readers! Sometimes they write to ask questions. Sometimes they write to tell me what characters or scenes they like. Sometimes they write to send me photos of polar bears or things that remind them of the Wild (from my first two books, Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, about fairy-tale characters who escaped the fairy tale). Sometimes they write to tell me I may have won a million dollars if only I email them my bank account and credit card numbers... Seriously, one nice email from a reader can make my entire day. It's so cool to think about people out there meeting characters that used to be only in my head... *waves at people*

What other projects are you currently working on?
ICE comes out on October 6th so I am working on obsessively Googling myself to see if people like it. (I know, I know, I shouldn't do it, but I can't help it!) I am also working on my next novel, TIGERLILY, which is about magic at Princeton and will be coming out from Simon & Schuster in fall 2010.

Is there anything else you want people to know about yourself or the book?
You can visit me at or

Thanks Sarah!

For more information on Sarah Beth Durst and her novels please visit her website here.


  1. I loved Wonder Woman too.
    Loved how she described books as magic.

    You would have to be really smart to collaborate with Shakespeare.
    great interview

  2. Great interview!
    I really want to read Ici; it's on my "Next to buy list", which might take some time since my budget is on a diet; but reading this interview makes me wish it wasnt! And now, I want to read Tamora Pierce, too.

  3. Great interview!
    I'm really looking forward to reading this book.
    That's so funny that she checked the caller id so many times to make sure that her agent had really called. Cute.
    And books are magic!

  4. Yes, isn't Google wonderful? lol

    Seriously, congratulations on the release.


  5. That was a fantastic interview! I'm SO looking foward to reading your book, Sarah!

  6. I just love Beauty and the Beast stories in all shapes and genres. This sounds SO good.

  7. That was such a sweet interview!

    The book sounds great too, I added it to my "books to find" list right after reading your review :)

  8. Great Interview. I agree books are magic to me too!

  9. Awesome interview! I'm even more excited to read ICE. I love beauty and the beast type stories.

  10. She sounds so interesting! And I can't wait to hear more about Tigerlily.

  11. Based on Beauty and the Beast? All this time I thought it was East of the Sun West of the Moon. Intriguing.

  12. Great Interview! I'm so excited to read it. I love that she combines Beauty and the Beast with an artic adventure!

  13. The Lasso of Truth really is the lamest power ever... Who thought that would be a good idea?

    The more I read about this book, the more I want to read it... love the retelling of Beauty and the Beast idea...

  14. I must say that Wonder Woman's lasso of truth is at least cooler than the invisible airplane. That was something I never got.

    I loved this interview!

  15. Collaborating with Tamora Pierce would make for an interesting book. I've never read Sarah Beth Durst before, but I've heard wonderful things about Ice Thanks for the interview!

    Natalie @ Mindful Musings

  16. Nice interview. I like fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourites.

  17. Look forward to reading this book. :)

  18. This interview was good. Hope you don't mine...why hasn't anyone commented on my author interview? I'm not trying to come off whiny, I just want to know.

  19. loved ur interview! this has now made me excited to read it!

  20. Great interview! I agree - books ARE magic :)

  21. I like the author's description that it is like Beauty and the Beast meets Arctic adventure. It sounds very interesting

  22. I don't think I'd be able to stop myself from the obsessive googling, either...

  23. Great interview! This sounds fantastic

  24. Wonderful interview! I have always been a fan of books with the Beauty and the Beast concept in them. I also thought Wonder woman got shortchanged. I think she should have been able to teleport or some other cooler power.

  25. Loved this interview! I'm not into cold weather either (at all!) but this sounds like such a wonderful version of Beauty and the Beast. I have this at the top of my list now!

  26. This interview has me even more excited for the book. I'm happy to see Sarah did so much research. I'm sure the atmosphere of the story will be amazing because of that.

  27. Thanks for the interview. I love the cover of the book & it seems like it will be a magical read.

  28. love the comment about having an outline, I would be the same way.
    copperllama at yahoo dot com

  29. This interview was so fun to read! Funny too! And I agree about Wonder Woman. :)


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