Monday, September 10, 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Sarah Beth Durst discussing VESSEL

Today I have an interview with the lovely Sarah Beth Durst, the author of fantastic novels such as DRINK SLAY LOVEENCHANTED IVY, ICE, and more. Today, we are discussing Sarah's upcoming novel, VESSEL, which releases tomorrow on September 11th. 

Quick! Describe VESSEL in 7 words or less! 

Epic fantasy in a harsh desert land

Ooh, that's a good answer....What was the experience like writing VESSEL in comparison to your previous novels?

In my previous novels, I injected magic into the real world (a magic polar bear in the Arctic, talking gargoyles at Princeton, vampires and were-unicorns in the suburbs, fairy tale characters in a sleepy New England town...), but VESSEL is my first novel set entirely in a fantasy world.  It takes place in a desert filled with wolves made of sand and sky serpents made of unbreakable glass and monstrous worms and gods and goddesses.  Writing it was intensely immersive.  I'd sink into that world while I wrote.  In a way, writing this novel felt a lot like reading!

From reading the VESSEL excerpt posted on your website, I noticed that the world in VESSEL seemed very developed and rich in culture…what steps did you take to achieve this? Did you draw inspiration from other cultures?

I love mythology, and I really wanted to create a world that felt steeped in ancient mythology.  I didn't draw from any particular mythology for my world, but I tried to create the feel of an oral storytelling tradition with rich, archetypal tales.

VESSEL has a first line that really grabs your attention:On the day she was to die, Liyana walked out of her family's tent to see the dawn.-- What are your thoughts on first lines? 

I love writing first lines.  I agonize over them, as if they're some magic spell for unlocking the rest of the novel.  Once I have the first line, then I'm free to write. 

Scenario: You are a vessel, destined to give your body to a goddess. What you would do on your last day, and what type of goddess (of any mythology) would you hope to have inhabit your body? 

I'd spend it with my family.  And I'd write for a while.  And eat a lot of chocolate-covered strawberries.  As to what goddess... I think I'd pick an earth goddess so she could save the rain forests and so forth.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on a YA paranormal thriller called SWEET NOTHINGS (coming fall 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker).  It's about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program.  I'm also working on my first trilogy for adults (from Luna) called THE LOST, THE MISSING, and THE FOUND.  I'm really, really excited about both projects!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

It is always a pleasure to interview you, so thank you for agreeing to answer some questions!


September 11th, 2012
Margaret K. McElderry 
"In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own."

Because I'm a Sarah Beth Durst fan and I think VESSEL sounds beyond incredible, I'm going to give one copy away:

International (so long as TBD ships to you)
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  1. This looks SO good! Awesome contest. Good luck all! (not an entry)

  2. Great interview! Vessel sounds incredibly interesting, and right up my alley :] Can't wait to read it! Also very curious about Sweet Nothings as well.

  3. This book sounds amazing! I had to add it to my TBR as soon as I read the synopsis :).

  4. Ahh, this is so flipping awesome of you! If I'm a vessel, then my last day would be filled with memories at some new, unexplored place, hopefully with someone I love alongside me... And that sounds really cheesy. The god/goddess I'd choose...? Hmm, I'd have to go with someone who's a trickster of some kind :)

  5. I would spend my last day doing something epic - as for which god/goddess I feel like depending on the day, that might change :)

  6. You are a vessel, destined to give your body to a goddess. What type of goddess (of any mythology) would you hope to have inhabit your body? - LOKI. :p

  7. The goddess: Athena! Lots of wisdom that
    And my last day would be spend with my family & eating chocolates. lol.

  8. Sounds good. I'm adding it to my TBR list

  9. I think on my last day Id spend all of it with my boys and go to Disney Land and Id love The Goddess Artemis :)

  10. Figure out away to spend time with my friends and a special guy
    a kind and loving one of course
    I also have this book on my TBR list already (I think I placed it on my second one)

  11. I would spend lots of time with my family and hope I received a god/goddess that would do a lot of good!

  12. I think I would be saying my goodbyes on my last day, because I would choose to inhabit the body of a warrior.

  13. I would spend my last day skydiving or rock climbing or something that I've never done before, and I'd want to be a warrior. I always thought Athena was cool...

  14. Out of all of Sarah Beth Durst's books so far, Vessel is the one that I am most looking forward to. I mean, sand wolves and sky serpents?! How awesome and fantastical is that? Holy creativity. Can't wait to read it!

  15. I would spend my last day with the person I love the most..from sunrise until midnight. Then I would like..the goddess of love to inhabit my body. :)

  16. I would surround myself with the people I love and make some pretty memories :) I would like to be inhabited by Athena, because I like wisdom and art.

  17. I would do something crazy on my last day, like jump out of a plane. As for which god or goddess, I would want someone kind who would give my body back unscathed.

  18. Well, on my last day I would surround myself with friends & family and I would eat all my favourite foods. The goddess I would pick to inhibit my body would be Artemis. I've always wanted to go to the moon.

  19. Definitely Athena. She is so strong!!

    I would have the best chef around cook my last meal :)

  20. Replies
    1. Oh, and... I would probably chose the goddess Athena, and spend my day eating chocolate until I could no more, and watching/reading my favourite movies/books!

  21. I'd want to have a goddess with a lot of knowledge that I would get to experience. That way I would get to learn a ton, even if I wouldn't get a chance to know it for long.

  22. Never really thought about what I'd do on my last day. I think I'd like to spend some of it alone in a forest and the rest talking and laughing with loved ones.

  23. What a lovely cover! And I love anything to do with tricksters, so I'm excited to read this book. On my last day... Well, I'd probably try to find a way to get out of giving everything up. I'm very attached to being myself. Barring any escape attempts, though, I'd hang out with my family and let them know I love them.

    I don't know what type of goddess I'd pick. Either one that had to do with books and reading or one that had to do with space. I've always wanted to visit a black hole.

  24. On my last day I'd probably freak out. I mean, a god(des) in my body?! No, thank you! xD
    BUT if I have to choose I think about the nordic goddes Eastre or Freya.

  25. I'm really curious what Vessel will be liked. I read Ice by Sarah which I liked and Drink, Slay, Love which I adored, so I hope Vessel will be as awesome as DSL :D

  26. What would I do on my last day? Spend it with my family of course and do something exhilarating, like jumping out of a plane or bungee-jumping. Oh and gorge myself on all my favourite foods. I've always thought Athena was pretty cool.

  27. I'd like to spend my last day doing anything, as long as it involved quality time with my family. Besides the who, I could care less :)

    And HESTIA for sure! She has always, hands down, been my favourite goddess and I would be honoured if she'd take over my body (LOL... um maybe not)

    Thanks for the fantastic interview and giveaway, ladies!


  28. I think I'd spend my time with my parents and close friends in a beach. I've always wanted to have a get together but life just always get in the way. Also, I'd like to meet Johnny Depp before the day ends. ;) I'd like Athena to inhabit my body. She's just so fiercely brilliant. What would it feel like to be inside her head?

    Amazing interview! I always feel like Vessel is so different from all the books I've read. I'm definitely looking forward to it. Thanks for the opportunity to win, Lea! :)

  29. I'd spend my last day with my family and friends. Go on a great vacation or eat all my favorite foods. I would like the Goddess Athena to inhabit my body.