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Interview with Sarah Beth Durst

Have you read Conjured? If not, you need to-- pronto. It's the newest book by Sarah Beth Durst. Author of some of my fave books: Drink, Slay, Love and Vessel.
 (Click the links above to read my reviews of the books)

The lovely Sarah Beth Durst has graciously agreed to stop by for an interview about her newest book, Conjured.

The Book

1.       Conjured was like nothing I have read before! It is completely different from your other books. What was it like creating a world full of both benevolent and malevolent magic?

 One of the best things about being a writer is being able to play with magic.  Beautiful magic.  Dangerous magic.  I love it all.  For Conjured, I was able to explore both sides: Eve can do almost anything, including making the birds in her wallpaper fly around the room, changing the color of her eyes, and flying into the air.  But there’s a cost.  Every time she uses her magic, she blacks out and experiences terrifying visions of a creepy carnival.

2.       What was your favorite scene in the book to write?

 I loved writing Eve’s visions.  To write those, I asked myself what’s the prettiest, creepiest thing that Eve could possibly see.  Sometimes I creeped myself out…  :)  Here’s a bit from one of my favorites:

Bottles clink together on the shelves.  Skulls snap their mouths open and shut.  The skull of a mouse, of a bird, of a cat, of a man.  Across the wagon, the Storyteller knits a ribbon of red and blue and gold.  It coils around her feet already.  Still, she knits it longer and longer.

 “Once upon a time,” she says.

I want to speak, but my lips won’t move.

“A man and a woman wanted a child…”

I touch my face with my fingers.  My skin feels soft and pliant, but my lips are sealed shut.  I tug at them, and then I tear.  My fingers gouge my cheeks and chin and lips.  My mouth will not open.


3.       Speaking of favorites, which character in Conjured gets golden star status? (I personally was in love with Zach and all his nerdiness.)

I did love writing Zach.  His voice came to me right away (and he didn’t shut up for a while).  But I think my heart belongs to Malcolm.

The nuts and bolts:

4.       What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Be kind to yourself.  It’s so easy to be critical.  There’s such a temptation to compare an idea or an early draft with someone else’s finished book.  But that’s like criticizing a baby for not being able to do long division yet or looking ridiculous in high heels.  You have to give your book time to grow.


5.       Many people are interested in the writing/publishing process. What did you find the most difficult aspect of writing a book?

I always have a point in my process that I call the “doomed” stage.  Usually this happens midway through the first draft, when you start to doubt yourself, your vision, your story, your characters, and/or your choice of shoes.  For me, the best way to deal with the doomed stage is to keep writing.  In fact, I think that’s the cure to pretty much any writing problem ever: write more.

6.       I noticed in the author notes that the idea behind Conjured came from a dream. I am both intrigued and terrified by this. Where else have you found inspiration for your books?

Really varies.  For example, ICE was inspired by the Norwegian folktale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” specifically a picture book illustrated by P.J. Lynch.  It’s essentially “Beauty and the “Beast” meets Arctic adventure.  DRINK, SLAY, LOVE was inspired by wondering about unicorns on a random afternoon -- and deciding that, obviously, unicorns are secretly vampire hunters.  VESSEL was inspired by a dream.  And CONJURED both was inspired by a dream and caused a few nightmares in return!

Something random:

7.       Would you rather always get stuck behind someone at least a foot taller than you at every movie, concert, etc. or always get stuck behind Slowface Johnson whenever you are in a hurry?

Tall!  My husband is over a foot taller than I am, and I’d rather go with him anywhere.  Plus getting somewhere when I’m in a hurry is more important than perfect visibility.

8.       Would you rather have psychic visions of available parking spots or have the ability to always choose the fastest checkout line?

Fastest checkout line.  Visions of parking spots wouldn’t help me.  I’m lousy at parking.  Seriously bad at it.  I’ve had the concept of parallel parking explained to me many, many times, and I fail to grasp it on some fundamental level.  I also can’t whistle, despite how many times people say to just put your lips together and blow.


Are you sold yet? If not, check out this trailer! I guarantee it will send chills down your spine.

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.



  1. I haven't read any books by this author, but this one sounds good. I always love a good magic book.


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