10 Questions For Sarah Beth Durst

So, a couple months back I got an email out of the blue from SARAH BETH DURST offering me not only a NetGalley of her new book but an INTERVIEW as well. If you can’t tell from the caps, I was more than a little excited. She’s definitely on my list of  authors I HAVE to meet someday (but may never since they never really seem to come to Kansas) because I’ve adored everything she’s written. You can read my review of her new book here.

And without further fangirling…

MF: If you had to describe Chasing Power in one sentence, how would you?
SBD: Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind, but will her powers save her or destroy her?

MF: Good sentence. I may have to steal that to handsell the book. You’re writing is so diverse — vampires, mythology, fairy tales, and now telekinesis. How do you come up with the ideas for the worlds you create?
SBD: Sometimes I just open a file, label it “Things I Think Are Awesome,” and write a whole list of things I think are awesome until something captures my imagination.  Really, it’s all about writing what you love.  People always say to write what you know, but I think you should write what captures your imagination and won’t let go.

MF: Why did you choose to write about telekinesis? 
SBD: I’ve always loved the idea of telekinesis — from THE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts to the movie Escape to Witch Mountain to various X-Men to The Raven (from Anne McCaffrey’s books) to Yoda.  It’s such fascinating power because it’s limited only by your imagination.  Look at the damage that Magneto can do with only the power to move metal.

MF: True. (It’s my oldest daughter’s superpower of choice, as well.) What kind of research did you do for writing about telekinesis and teleportation to make it sound plausible?
SBD: Not sure this counts as research, but I’ve spent a significant chunk of time over the course of my life imagining I have various magical powers.  I’d probably list that as one of the job requirements for being a fantasy writer.

Optional but not required: a childhood spent checking closets for entrances to Narnia.

In all seriousness, I did do a fair amount of research into the places that Kayla and Daniel travel.  I also spent a lot of time figuring out the rules of their powers.  Consistent rules help foster plausibility.

MF: Very true. Why did you decide to make Kayla a thief?
SBD: Mainly because it was really fun to write.  Kayla has very limited telekinesis (and a very loose grasp on the concept of personal property).  She can only move very light objects, like a fish hook or an ATM card.  It was a ton of fun to figure out how to, for example, rob a jewelry store with just a little bit of power.

MF: One of my favorite things about Chasing Power is the friendship between Kayla and Serena. Do you have a favorite scene or character in the book? 
SBD: The Kayla-Selena scenes were my favorite to write.  Selena is a sidekick who has zero interest in being a sidekick.  She loves her friend, but she’d rather drink a smoothie on the beach than come along on an adventure.  One of my favorite scenes to write was when Daniel is attempting to intimidate Kayla (in order to convince her to help him save his mother), and Kayla and Selena are completely underwhelmed by his attempts to be ominous.

MF: That was a fantastic scene! So, is this a stand-alone book, or the start of a series? 
SBD: I wrote it as a standalone, though I admit I do miss Kayla…

MF: Who, or what, inspires you to write?
SBD: Everything that I am.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.  Over the years, I’ve discovered that if I don’t write, it messes with my worldview.  I need to write.  It keeps me happy.

MF: What’s the last book you read and loved, and why did you love it?
SBD: Last book I read and loved was THE PRINCESS CURSE by Merrie Haskell.  Really great retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (with a little Psyche and Cupid tossed in).  It features a strong female protagonist and lots of magic, both things that I love.

MF: Ooooooh. Sounds fun! If you don’t mind me asking, what can we expect from you next?
SBD: Next up is a middle-grade novel called THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM.  It’s about a girl whose family owns a secret store where they buy, bottle, and sell dreams, but who can’t have any of her own, and the adventure that she and her pet monster go on when someone starts kidnapping dreamers.  It’s coming from HMH/Clarion Books in fall 2015, and I’m really, really excited about it!

MF: Thanks so much for your time!
SBD: Thanks so much for interviewing me!

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