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Interview with Sarah Beth Durst

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to ask one of my all-time favorite authors questions about her recently released book, Chasing Power. If you haven't had a chance to read it, you can check out my review HERE

The delightful Sarah Beth Durst was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her book (and a few random thoughts I had as well).

The book

I LOVE how each of your books is so unique. I never feel like I’m reading the same book twice.
How does writing a YA novel differ from writing an adult novel?

Thanks so much!

Some things are the same: You flail around for a little while until you find the character's voice, and then you try to tell the story through that voice as faithfully as you can.

The difference is entirely in what that voice is.  The difference between your characters -- their experience, how they see the world, how they see themselves -- is what shapes the stories.  Every time you write through a different person's eyes, you see the world differently and so you tell a different story.  Write through the eyes of a sixteen-year-old, and the result is a YA novel.  Write through the eyes of a twenty-eight-year-old, and you have a novel for adults.

What kind of novel is CHASING POWER?

I always write fantasy.  (I blame my childhood for this.  Hours spent pretending I had a magic wand,
searching for an entrance to Narnia, and exploring the woods in search of elves.)  But within that genre, I like to hop around a lot and play with all the subgenres.  CHASING POWER is an Indiana-Jones-style adventure about Kayla, girl with the power to move things with her mind, and Daniel, a boy who can teleport -- and who lies as easily as he travels.

Above all else, I wanted this novel to be a fun ride.  I want the reader to hop in the roller coaster car
next to Kayla and ride with her up, down, and around the curves.

The Process

What is one thing you wished you knew about the writing process when you started writing your very first novel?

I wish I knew that you don't need to wait for inspiration.  If you sit at your desk, day after day, and string together sentences... the muse will come find you.

I also wish I knew that you don't need to wait until you have time.  Life is always busy.  There are always interruptions and distractions.  It's rare to find those lovely stretches of free time -- in fact, I'd argue that consistent free time is a myth.  You need to steal bits of time.  It is possible to write in only ten minutes with the TV blaring in the background.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write every day.  (Note: this advice doesn't work for everyone.)  If you write every day, even if it's only for five minutes, then writing ceases to become this daunting task.  Make writing as much a part of your daily life as brushing your teeth.

The Fun Stuff

Would you rather live in a world where people could breathe underwater or where animals could

Breathe underwater, because then no one would ever drown again.

(But talking animals are indeed AWESOME.  Especially if they're smart and aren't just saying, "Food! Food!  Food!" all day long.)

What’s your favorite fairy tale character and why?

Ooh, good question.  Favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast (because they become friends before

they fall in love -- also, because in BEAUTY by Robin McKinley and in the Disney version, Beast gives her a library).  But favorite character?  I'd have to go with the fairy godmother.  She has such potential for changing the world, for good or ill.  Unlike the heroes and heroines, things don't just happen to the fairy godmother; she makes things happen.

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

I really hope you all enjoyed getting some insight into the brilliant mind behind Chasing Power (and my other favorites: Drink, Slay, Love;  Vessel; and Into the Wild). I can't wait to see what she has in store for us with her newest novels Fire and Heist and The Girl Who Could Not Dream.


  1. Yes the "brushing your teeth" analogy is effective. I feel as bad if I haven't written s if I've not cleaned my teeth. Habit, habit, habit!


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