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Monday, October 11, 2010

Ten Tantalizing Questions for Sarah Beth Durst, Author of Enchanted Ivy

Ever want to learn more about your favorite authors? Well you've come to the right place! Ten Tantalizing Questions not only showcases exciting books on the horizon, but also provides a glimpse into the interesting personalities of the authors behind them.


There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray



ENCHANTED IVY BY SARAH BETH DURST   
Margaret K. McElderry (October 12, 2010)


Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

1. Enchanted Ivy is a story about Lily, a 16-year-old girl who discovers a magical realm while touring a college campus. Can you tell us a little more about the novel and share with us a favorite line, scene or passage from the book?

Completely out of context, here's one of my favorite moments from Enchanted Ivy:

For a second, they stared at each other, and Lily had the insane thought that he was going to kiss her.  But then he released her and said, “You’re hurt.  What happened to your hand?”

“Oh, uh… you know the dragon on the University Chapel?  It bit me.”

He turned her wounded hand over and examined the bandages.  His fingers were soft and gentle on her wrist.  “What on earth possessed you to get so close to him?” he asked.

“I thought he was animatronic,” Lily said.

2.What three words do you think best describe your novel?

Magic at Princeton.

3.Enchanted Ivy is set at Princeton University where you attended college. Did you go back and tour Princeton before you wrote the book?  Are there any places in particular that were your favorite while you were a student?

Yes, I visited twice -- once as I was outlining (to brainstorm ideas) and once as I was writing (to retrace Lily's steps).  I knew Princeton, but I needed to see it through my character's eyes.  I took about 200 photos, documenting everything that Lily would see, from the sidewalks to the trees to the gargoyles.  I love to include real details in my fantasy adventures.  I'm fascinated by that intersection of real and magic.  (This probably stems from my secret desire to discover a dragon in my back yard.)

4.When writing Enchanted Ivy, did you delve into a lot of gargoyle and supernatural creature mythology? If so, can you share with us any interesting factoids you picked up along the way?

I used a lot of Princeton legends and traditions (such as, if you walk out the front gate, you won't graduate), and I studied the Princeton gargoyles.  As well as the ubiquitous tiger (Princeton's mascot), the campus is crawling with monkey gargoyles.  One of them points a camera at students.  Another climbs into the eye socket of a lion.  There are soldiers and goblins and angels and dragons and an ape in graduation robes...  I never noticed them as a student, but when I went back, it was as if they were whispering me stories.  Um, not literally, of course.

5.If you had to choose a theme song for Lily, what song would you pick and why?

She'd want the Princeton song "Old Nassau."  She's rather in love with the place... at least until she discovers that her dream school has a few hidden nightmares in it.

6.If Enchanted Ivy was to be made into a movie, do you have a certain actress you envision playing Lily or do you think an unknown would be best?

Ooh, I want a famous actress so that they'll make action figures out of her!  I think it would be way cool to have an action figure of Lily on my desk.  Seriously, though, I don't envision my characters as particular actors or actresses or any other real people.  It works best for me if I imagine them from scratch.  I can say, though, that I'm very happy with the Lily on the cover of Enchanted Ivy.  I think she's perfect.  (The cover art is by the extremely talented Sam Weber.)

7.How do you think you would’ve fared if you had stumbled into a magical world of gargoyles, dragons and were-tigers like Lily?

I'd die within a week!  The magical world in Enchanted Ivy is toxic to humans, and vice versa.  But before my painful death, I'd have an awesome time frolicking with werewolves, riding on dragons, and swimming with mermaids in the Woodrow Wilson Fountain.

8.From gargoyles to mermaids to dragons and fairies, there seems to be an ever increasing demand for stories with mythological creatures or fairy tale elements. As a writer, why do you think people continue to find them so appealing?

Because they're awesome.

Seriously, I think people crave stories about fantastical beings and magical events because such stories restore a badly-needed sense of wonder to the world.  Stories about shapeshifters and fairies and vampires and dragons touch the very real need people have for something magic, something special, something beyond the every-day in their lives.  My favorite quote on this is by C.S. Lewis, "At its best [fantasy] can do more; it can give us experiences we have never had and thus, instead of 'commenting on life,' can add to it."

9.If you could inhabit the life of one literary character (your creations included) and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

I definitely would NOT want to be in an adult book (too many traumatic things happen in those), a YA book (already been through high school once, thanks), or anything historical (I like indoor plumbing).  So I think I'll choose to be Silvermist from the Disney Fairies books.  She has power over water, doesn't have Tinker Bell's temper issues, and nothing really bad happens to her (or to any of the Disney Fairies, for that matter).  Plus she has wings.  I kind of really want wings.

10.What can we look forward to reading from you next? Any upcoming projects or new series in the works? 

My next book (coming fall 2011 from Simon & Schuster) is DRINK, SLAY,

LOVE.  It's about a vampire girl who develops a conscience after she is stabbed through the heart by a unicorn's horn.  I'm really, really, really excited about it!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Books by Sarah Beth Durst 
IceEnchanted Ivy 
Into the WildOut of the Wild 

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of 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. For more information, visit her at sarahbethdurst.com.


5 comments:

Chiara said...

I'm now reading Ice, and I love it. I hope having soon more books of her. thanks for the interview!

Erin said...

I haven't read any book by her yet, but I am hoping to change that soon. :]

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I cannot wait to read Enchanted Ivy and this interview has me even more excited. Not really animatronic dragons, mermaids, gargoyles, faeries? This book sounds awesome!

Thanks for sharing :D

Christina/Book Addict said...

I am so excited to read this one. I love all the crazy creatures that she put in this story! I am also impressed regarding all the Princeton research she did.....very cool! Thanks for sharing this great interview!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Magical realm? Why haven't I read this? Sounds awesome! Great interview. I always love hearing the movie choices.