A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Interview with Author Sarah Beth Durst & Contest!

Today I'd like to welcome author Sarah Beth Durst, whose exciting upcoming novel, ICE releases October 6th 2009!

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.

Your upcoming novel ICE, a modern retelling of the Nordic legend "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" is about a polar bear, true love and one girl's impossible journey across the frozen Arctic. Can you share with us any teasers or give us a sneak peek as to what we can expect to read about in ICE?

Here's one of my favorite moments from ICE:

Cassie had never seen such a beautiful mirage. Spires soared above her. They shimmered in the bending light. At the tips of the spires, the ice curled into the semblance of banners, frozen midwave. She waited for it to shrink to its normal proportions: an ordinary ridge or an outcrop of ice that had been stretched by a trick of the light.

But it did not shrink or stretch. It shone like a jewel in the sunlight.

"Welcome to my castle," the bear said.

ICE is an adventure and a love story. It's about Cassie, the daughter of an Arctic research scientist, and what happens when she walks outside her father's research station and meets an impossibility, a polar bear who talks to her.

What was your inspiration for ICE -- can you give us any insight into that first spark that helped form the idea for the novel? In addition, can you tell us about how ICE has changed since your initial rough draft?

I knew I wanted to write about a girl who kicks butt, and I knew I wanted to write about real love (not the love-at-first-sight, if-Cinderella-and-the-prince-are-so-perfect-together-then-why-don't-they-tell-each-other-their-NAMES love). I found both things in the Norwegian folktale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," specifically a version of the tale illustrated by P. J. Lynch, in which you can see the girl's fierceness and the depth of her love on every page.

The novel changed immensely from that initial idea, though. ICE is not a strict retelling. I changed major plot elements, switched the setting from Norway to North America, moved it up to modern day, and added my own major plot points and magic system. For example, my "lassie" isn't a peasant's daughter; instead, she's a snow-mobile-riding scientist. And my polar bear is not an enchanted prince; instead, he's the Angel of Death for polar bears. Kind of a big change. :)

Do you have anything in common with Cassie's character in your novel? Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

Nope. Cassie is way braver than I could ever be. She's a look-before-she-leaps kind of girl. (Literally. She's always leaping off cliffs and into oceans and such.) I'm more a make-a-lot-of-lists and think-of-a-comeback-two-weeks-later kind of girl. But I loved living vicariously through her.

Looking at the beautiful, shimmering cover art of ICE, one can just imagine Cassie and her polar bear being swept away through a wintery realm. Did you have any input in the book cover and what did you think about it the first time you saw it?

I had zero input in the book cover, except to hope with crossed-fingers and crossed-toes that they'd put a polar bear on the cover. When I first saw the art, I said, "Oh, oh, oh, look! Yay!" (or something equally incoherent), and then jumped out of my chair and danced. I LOVE my cover! The artist captured the feel of the book and look of the characters as perfectly as if he'd swooped into my brain and scooped out the image.

You’re an avid researcher of fairy tales and have posted many of the enchanting, obscure ones on your website for readers to enjoy. Of all the fairy tales you’ve ever come across, which one is your favorite, and conversely, which one is your least favorite?

I love Beauty and the Beast because it's about real love -- the kind of love that develops over time and is based on friendship, not on admiration of one's pretty dress, pretty voice, or inexplicably fragile shoes. My least favorite is the Juniper Tree, which involves murder, cannibalism, and a freaky bird.

If you could dive into any fairy tale and magically become one of the characters for just one day, which one would you want to become?

Hmm... Most of the heroines are miserable for most of their tales. And the villains might have fun in the middle of the story, but they typically die in horrific ways. So I'd have to vote for the fairy godmother from Cinderella. Nothing bad happens to her, and she gets a magic wand!

You were a multiple award nominee and award finalist for your debut novel Into the Wild. Since then, you’ve also published a follow up book, Out of the Wild, and contributed multiple essays to popular books such as Mind Rain: Your Favorite Authors on Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies Series. In all your experience, what would you say are the best and worst things about becoming a published author? In addition, has there been anything that completely took you by surprise once you became published?

Best thing is knowing that dreams can come true. I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, and I love thinking about how ecstatic my ten-year-old self would be if she knew I'd really be doing this! Worst thing about being published is worrying about whether or not people will like your story. A week before my first book came out, I had a recurring dream that our house was being attacked by zombies. I both can't wait for people to read my books and am petrified about it.

Do you have any writing quirks to share with us, such as a special place you like to tuck yourself away in or certain coffee/food you have to have, music to listen to, etc? What is your writing schedule – do you write at nighttime, daytime, etc?

I like to eat chocolate while I write. Especially Raisinets. But I don't have a particular schedule. My one rule is that I need to write every day. I like to start by writing emails or blog comments or just noting the events of the day -- anything to get my fingers warmed up with stringing sentences together. I find it helps to kind of sneak up on the day's writing. Otherwise, if you sit down and say, "Now I shall work on my novel, the dearest dream of my heart," you might freeze up.

Do you often hear from readers and what sort of things do they say about your books?

I love email from readers! And blog comments! And tweets! I think it's rather amazing that with 26 letters, you can put images from your head into the head of a stranger, and I love hearing that my words have made someone -- someone who I'll never meet -- smile.

You have a pet cat named Perni – do you get inspiration from her for the animals in your novels?

My cat likes to participate in my writing process. Entire house with lots of soft surfaces, yet she only wants to lay on the manuscript page that I'm attempting to edit. She has been known to chew on scenes that she dislikes.

Your next novel after ICE is a magical story set at Princeton University, where you attended college. Can you tell us anything more about that novel or any other projects you are working on?

My next novel is called TIGERLILY. It's about magic at Princeton, and it will be coming from Simon & Schuster in fall 2010. I’m really, really excited about it!

Is there anything else you would like to add today?

Thanks so much for all the great questions!

Sarah has given me one copy of ICE to give away!

TO ENTER- Leave me a comment telling me what your favorite fairy tale is.

+1 BONUS- Link/Post this contest to any social network of your choice!



For another chance to win, check out Squeaky Books for the contest they are running!


A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast!

THanks for the contest!

amanda n.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Oh, and I also linked this on my blog:

amanda n.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Another awesome contest and interview! *high five*

jpetroroy said...

My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid.

+1 I tweeted at https://twitter.com/jpetroroy/status/4444204807

jpetroroy (at) gmail (dot) com

Orchid said...

My favorite fairy tale(s) would have to be the ones written by the Grimm Brothers. Why? because they're not your typical sugar-coated Disney stories, plus they're dark and sometimes gory. :)

hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

Amanda said...

My favorite fairy tale is the original Grimm version of Cinderella. You can't beat being forced to put on red-hot iron shoes and dance until you die.

tapcat16 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Miranda said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, for much the same reasons Sarah listed. I like how, technically, it's the girl who saves the prince in the story by simply being herself. Sometimes you don't need swords or some kind of epic magic to kick butt and be awesome.

Thank you for the interview! It was fun to read.


Trista said...

I'm going to have to agree with Sarah and say Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. I can't wait to read ICE! I know its going to be awesome! Thanks for the great contest. :)


Zombie Girrrl said...

My favorite fairy would probably be East of the Sun, West of the Moon (and I'm not just saying that!). I loved East by Edith Pattou, and the White Bear is one of my favorite characters. Plus it's about true love, like Sarah said, not Disney love.

+1 I linked your contest on my sidebar.

zombiegirrrl21 at aol dot com

Great interview, BTW! I loved reading what Sarah had to say. :)

Sara said...

Wonderful interview... I'm so excited to read ICE!

My favorite fairy tales are Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan - I love them both!

+1 linked contest to sidebar @ http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com


Mariana S said...

Great Contest, please count me in, Id love to read ICE.

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, I love the story because it talks of much deeper subjetcs.

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/Libelula89/status/4445396521


Anonymous said...

Great review can't wait to read ICE!! I'm drawn in by cover lust also wow!! beautiful!! I really love so many its hard to decide but I always pretended to be Sleeping Beauty as a little girl so opposite from myself, just laying around looking perfect waiting for the man of mt dreams to kiss me! So wrong in so many ways, but it would be soooo easy...lol Always a dreamer I suppose!!

Sheere said...

My favourite af all the times is Beauty and the Beast! And Peter Pan is very close!

+1 tweeted


Erica said...

My favorite fairy tale would be Little Mermaid (Is that technically a fairy tale?) if not Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella. They're both adorable.

+1 I tweeted (And @ you)

:) Erica

Cindy said...

My favorite is Beauty and the Beast! I've loved it since I was a little kid!!

cnhand84 at yahoo dot com

Misty said...

You have more contests than anyone. I don't know how you keep track of it all. :)
That being said, of course I want in. I love retold fairytales.
My favorite fairytale, as a kid, at least, would probably be The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I also loved The Elves and the Shoemaker. I know, random.

I posted a sidebar link @ Book Rat


Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

My favorite is definitely Beauty and the Beast. It's so romantic. (:

And thanks for the great review and contest! I can't wait for this book to come out, and I would never have thought of a story like Ice; it's interesting to see where the author got her inspiration.

+1 Linked on sidebar


Reading said...

Please count me in. Thanks for the chance. My fav fairy tale is Cinderella.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Tynga said...

Please count me in!
My favorite disney movie as growing up was the little mermaid!
I tweeted about the giveaway =)

Ellz said...

Isn't it funny how cats always migrate to whatever is in front of you?
I enjoyed Cinderelle as a kid.


Poppy said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast!


Anonymous said...

Cinderella has always been a favourite of mine.
Ice looks amazing and I would love to be entered in your draw.

Jo said...

What an amazing interview! I haven't read nay of Sarah's novels but they sound awesome! I especially want to get my hands on the first two.

My favourite fairy tale would have to be The Little Mermaid, both the Disney version (LOVE!), or Hans Christian Anderson's original. Especially Anderson's version, all that sacrifice for someone else's happiness. Amazing.

I have tweeted about this contest:

Cherie J said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. Thanks for the contest! I think this book sounds great!


Nely said...

What a great interview. My favorite fairytale is Cinderella.

I love the cover of Ice and I'd love to read it so please count me in for the contest.


Cecelia said...

Great interview! I'm that much more excited for Ice now...

My favorite fairy tale - that's a hard one. I'd have to say Snow White and Rose Red (traditional, not Disney). There's a bear in that story, too.

+1 I tweeted this (@celialarsen).



Kiara said...

Great interview. Thanks for this international giveaway :D! My favorite fairy tale is Cinderella.
+1 Twittered HERE.

cait045 said...

Best Fairy Tale is Beauty and the Beast


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Linna said...

I like all kinds of princess fairy tale, especially Cinderalla. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi please include me!
I also love Beauty and the Beast..as well as Mulan(If that counts)
+1 I tweeted here:


Unknown said...

Thank you for the great interview with Sarah & thanks to Sarah for sharing.
Doesn't the cover of ICE look fantastic?
My favorite fairytale is The Little Matchgirl.
All the best,

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Ooh, I LOVE retellings of fairy tales and I've been impressed with lots of East of the Sun, West of the Moon ones too.

Favorite fairytale is much harder to pin down. I really love the Beauty and the Beast themes, but Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney movie for a long, long time.

Shauna said...

I am new here! What a great blog :)

Stormi said...

I would have to say that my favorite fairy tale is Cinderella I am still waiting for my prince charming...LOL

I put this up on my blog here is the link:


Scott Romanski said...

fave fairy tale? beauty and the beast

ParaJunkee said...

My fav is Sleeping Beauty. I tweeted.

parajunkee (@) gmail.com

Sab H. said...

My fave Fairy tale is The Little Mermaid!!

+1 Link on sidebar: http://crystalreviews.blogspot.com/


Jenn said...

Although it's hard to choose only one, my favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. Ice looks fantastic and I can't wait to read it!


Julie@My5monkeys said...

I love also beauty and the beast. I can't wait to read this book too.

aprilmom00 at gmail dot com

Miss Haley said...

My favorite fairy tale is Swan Lake. it's been my dream to dance in that forever... *tear*

i put a link on my blog on my side bar: www.haleymathiot.blogspot.com

thx! haleymathiot at yahoo dot com

Giuly said...

Hi! count me in please! I really want to read this book!
And My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast! I love it! =D

Thaks for the contest! =D I really want to win!


Thanks again! Giuly

Llehn said...

My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid.


Bingo said...

I have so many. I would say probably Beauty and the Beast but think if Kate DiCamillo's THE MIRACULOUS ADVENTURES OF EDWARD TOULANE is classified as a fairy tale, and I don't know why not, it would be that. Required reading for everyone, not just kids...I LOVE that book!

kdhaney (at) gmail (dot) com

Gaby317 said...

I loved the story of the Lonely Giant but am not sure if that qualifies. Just in case, I also liked the story of the Little Mermaid.

Thanks so much for the entry

gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

Jenny N. said...

My favourite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast too. It's one of those stories that I never tire of and love.


Lexie said...

12 Dancing Princesses!


Valorie said...

My favorite is 'The Soldier and Death.'


Natalie said...

+ 1 My favorite fairy tale would have to be Hansel and Gretel.

+1 Link on Contest Sidebar.

Thanks for the contest!

Natalie @ Mindful Musings

throuthehaze said...

One of my faves is Beauty and the Beast
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

branquignole said...

I would love to be entered too! Difficult to choose a favourite fairy tale, though; I'd probably go for Beauty and the Beast as well. :)

Tweeted, too.

Rosalie said...

My favourite fairytale...tough call, but I think Beauty & The Beast wins.

And, tweeted here- http://twitter.com/moreimpossible/status/4502346100

Kelsey said...

My favorite is either Cinderella or The Little Mermaid (:

+1 linked on my sidebar

kelseythebookscout at gmail dot com

M.A.D. said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

My favorite fairy tale is Rapunzel

Anonymous said...

my fave fairy tale is the snow queen



Unknown said...

My favorite fairy tale is The Litte Mermaid.

+1 added to sidebar


brizmus said...

Wow! The cover of this book is so beautiful and amazing that I would have wanted to read it even if I hadn't just read this awesome interview!
So count me in!

As for my favorite fairy tale - there are so many awesome ones that I love, it's hard to say. My favorite fairly tale teller, though, is Hans Christian Anderson. LOVE HIM!

Raspberry said...

I would love this book - I've actually read it, b ut would love to own a copy.
My favorite fairy tale is the one where the princess is a brat and insults every prince that comes looking to marry her. Her father (the king) finally says, "Ok, the next guy that comes in here and wants you can have you." and the next guy is some grungy farmer. He takes her to his farm, and she learns how to cook, clean...and maybe some manners. He finally reveals he's one of the princes (The one she secretly thought was cute), and all is well...


Raspberry said...

It's on my sidebar.
We have a giveaway that ends today if you're interested. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi. Oooh, shiny new book! Enter me please! My favourite fairytale? That's harsh. I'll go with the Nightingale and the Rose, as written by Oscar Wilde.

Katie said...

Ooh awesome contest. My favorite fairy tale is Snow White. I guess I just love the dwarfs. =]


buddyt said...

My favourite is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

I have always had a thing about dwarves ! !

Please include me in the drawing.



buddytho {at} gmal DOT com

babygirlG said...

My favorite fairy tale is Rapunzel.


Cailin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda S. said...

hi! Great contest! Please count me in! :)

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast.

+1 Link on sidebar: http://eternamente-en-tiniebla.blogspot.com/
+1 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/BrendiizSotelo/status/4571720527


Thanks! ;)

Unknown said...

Looks like a good book, please enter me into this drawing.

My favourite fairy tale is probably Town Musicians of Bremen.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

boojumlol said...

I first found SBD's journal by googling my favourite fairy tale, 'Prince Lindworm'. I always like the ones where the heroine rescues the hero. Some others where this happens (also dearly beloved) are 'Beauty and the Beast', 'The Six Swans'/'The Wild Swans' and (of course) 'East of the Sun, West of the Moon'.

Passive heroines never appealed to me, though I find 'Rapunzel' absolutely fascinating. So psychologically complex.

Ask me a simple fairy tale related question and you get an essay...

Email: boojumlol at gmail.com

Bella F. said...

my favorite fairy tale is "The 3 Little Pigs" b/c it was told to me at bedtime many nights. I always wanted to be the smart picggy who used bricks, lol!

~Isabella F.

Haunted Mansion Geek said...

My favorite fairy tale has to be Rapunzel. I crack up every time I read the Tasha Tudor version. It's inadvertently hilarious.

email: geek.of.the.theatre@gmail.com

Priya said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast because unlike all the other fairytales, Belle and the Beast actually got to know each other.


flowerchild said...

my favorite fairy tale is beauty and the beast ..thanks


niki nicole said...

My favorite fairy tale is the Twelve Dancing Princesses. My mom read it to me when I was little and I've always loved it.

Please enter me!

Ashley said...

My favorite fairy tale is Sleeping Beauty. :)

+1 I'm a follower!

Ladytink_534 said...

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairy tale.

Catherine Morland said...

My favorite fairy tale as of right now is The Goose Girl.


Unknown said...

i love the twelve dancing princesses.



andrea b said...

My favorite fairy tale (from when I was a little girl) was The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs (from a Brothers Grimm book)...

and tweeted about the contest here: http://twitter.com/andreadbc/status/4702888945

adbcoz (atGMAILdotCOM)

CallMeKayla said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. I loved Gaston as a child of 6. Even then I loved bad boys, which is an odd thing, usually 6 years old do not fall for the bad guys. But I did, and still do, along with the Beast! The Beast was great, a guy with a problem, I wanted to be the only girl who could fix it.


Froggy said...

Please enter me! My Favorite Fairytale is Cinderella.

I linked this on my sidebar too

A Blog with Bite!

sarah said...

gah! i *loved* her wild books-- the first books ever where i re-read them as soon as i finished the last page. please! i need this new one!

Booklogged said...

My favorite fairy tale is Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.

booklogged AT gmail dot com

Diana Dang said...

Cinderella ><


faked_sugartone at hotmail

Rissa (Pretentious Reader) said...

My favorite fairytale is Goose Girl, I think there are many variations but I love the one with the maid switching place with the princess =). I know a few books that is also based on the folklore and very curios to read Ms. Durst version.

I'm a follower
Posted this at -- http://pretentiousreader.blogspot.com/2009/10/giveaways.html


Myrna Foster said...

That sounds like a great read! I'd love to read it.

Kate at Read This Book! said...

My fave fairy tale has always been The Little Mermaid. :] I love Ariel as a child.

+1 I tweeted: http://twitter.com/readingthisbook/status/4781079876

kate.readthisbook [at] gmail [dot] com

Alessandra said...

Wow! Thank you for opening this to international readers :)

My favourite fairy tale is Cinderella.


Scott Romanski said...

fav fairy tale is.......pinnocciho(sp?)

teeted this @truedeadman

I ♥ Book Gossip said...

I love Cinderella.

+1 Posted blog

cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Sarah said...

Thanks for that author interview, Kim! I never heard of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but I'm looking foward to see how she has changed things in Ice.

My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid. I loved the idea of being a mermaid when I was a kid. XD Also as does Sarah Beth Durst, I'm really fond of Beauty and the Beast also.

+1 I also linked this contest to my sidebar.

two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

Bunny B said...

Cinderella is my true fave!

bunnybx at gmail . com

A Passion For Books said...

I can't wait to read Ice, it sounds great. Great interview too. My favorite fairy tale has always been Beauty and the Beast.

Also, linked this on my sidebar. http://casey62588.blogspot.com


Emily said...

Count me in!

whatbookisthat AT gmail DOT com

also, +1 for tweeting the contest here- http://twitter.com/heynocupcake/status/4820001168


Bunny B said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/bunnyb/status/4828911608

bunnybx at gmail . com

Tena said...

Sleeping Beauty because I want to be able to sleep the way she did, lol


Tena said...

tweet tweet



Ivy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ivy said...

Cinderella... Since I was a little girl it has been my fav. :D


Anita Yancey said...

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. The book sounds good. Please enter me. Thanks!


Unknown said...

My favorite fairy tale is Cinderella - so many ways to tell one story!


heatherzilla said...

My favorite fairytale is Beauty and the Beast. I love fairy tales and Ice sounds like a wonderful story. Please include me in the giveaway.


+1 Tweet

Julie S said...

I've always loved Alladin, if Disney counts :)

avalonne83 said...

Sounds great! Please count me in. Thanks.

By the way, my favourite faury tale is Sleeping Beauty...

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

Amy said...

I love the frog princess..would love to win :)

Virginia C said...

Beauty and the Beast

I am a new follower and subscriber.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

CherylS22 said...

My favorite is Cinderella, with Beauty & the Beast a close second.

Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

Paradox said...

My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid.

+1 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/ParadoxRevealed/status/5010640577

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Little Red Riding Hood.


mark (at) greenfyr (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Little Red Riding Hood.


mark (at) greenfyr (dot) com

Rebecca N. said...

+1 The Princess and the Pea is my fav! Thanks for the great contest!

+1 tweet

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Adelaide said...

+ Fave Fairy-Tale is Beauty and the Beast =)
+ Linked you at my website: www.twistsandtwirls.com
(For one week only!)

Thanks! =)


Nancye said...

My favorite fairy tale is Cinderella

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!


nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

LBeezee said...

Oh my! What writer doesn't love any and all versions of Beauty and the Beast! Oh, Belle....

I'd also like to throw my hat in the ring for Woman Warrior's tales!