Hello everyone and happy Friday! To kick off the long weekend in style, we are thrilled to have Sarah Beth Durst over for a guest post. To celebrate the upcoming release of her new novel, paranormal contemporary young adult fantasy Conjured, we are thrilled to have Sarah over to talk about her inspirations and influences about the book – namely, the story behind the
Give it up for Sarah, folks!
Here’s what research for Conjured was like:
Picture me, at my desk, with my browser open to Google Images.
I type in “creepy carnival,” make a few notes, and then type in “creepy circus”…
My husband wanders in. “Did you feed the cat? She’s meowing.”
Husband: “Are you going to?”
Husband: “Um, okay. Why not?”
Me: “I’m not going down to the basement. Ever.”
Husband: “Why not?”
Me: “Can’t go. Clown will eat me.”
Let this be a lesson to you. Choose your inspiration carefully. Or only do research in daylight.
Conjured 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. It comes out on September 3rd from Bloomsbury/Walker. And I’m really, really excited about it.
It’s the creepiest novel I’ve written, by far. I’ve written an epic desert fantasy (Vessel), a vampire and were-unicorn comedy (Drink, Slay, Love), a getting-into-college contemporary fantasy (Enchanted Ivy), a modern Arctic fairy tale (Ice), and two fractured fairy tales (Into the Wild and Out of the Wild). But Conjured is my first novel that is creepy and mind-bending.
One question that I’m asked a lot is: Why are my novels so different? And the answer is… I dunno. I write what I like, and I like a bunch of different stuff.
Actually, that really is the answer. Sometimes my novels start with a tiny sliver of an idea, even as little and as bland as “Wow, carnivals are creepy,” or “Deserts are beautiful.” From there, I start asking myself, “Well, what’s the most awesome thing in a creepy carnival?” Or “What’s the coolest/scariest/freakiest thing that could happen to a girl with amnesia?”
And then I start chasing that idea to the next and the next and the next, each time asking myself what’s the coolest or most awesome or most whatever thing that could happen, given everything that’s come before. By the end of that chase, I have this mass of stuck-together ideas that serve as the seed for the entire novel.
The litmus test for all my ideas, though, is always the same. I always ask myself, “If I were to walk into a bookstore or library right now, what book would I want to read?” And I try to write that.
Really, that would be my advice to any aspiring writers out there: write the book you want to read. Write what excites you, interests you, scares you, makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you care. Write what you’re passionate about. Let that be your inspiration.
About The Book:
Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past.
She’s been told that she’s in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.
At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.
About the Author:
Sarah Beth Durst is the author of Vessel, Drink, Slay, Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. Her next book for teens, Conjured, comes out in September 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker. Her first book for adults, The Lost, comes out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira. She has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old and holds an English degree from 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 and children. For more information, visit her at www.sarahbethdurst.com.
Thank you, Sarah!
To kick off the holiday weekend, we have one autographed copy of Conjured up for grabs! The contest is open to addresses in the US only and will run until Sunday, September 8 at 12:01am (ET). To enter, use the form below. Good luck! And make sure to stop by next Tuesday for our review of Conjured!