Today's author: Sarah Beth Durst
Interested in winning a copy of Sarah's latest, Enchanted Ivy? Check out the details at the bottom of the interview!
Bookworm: Welcome, Sarah! What was your inspiration behind Enchanted Ivy?
Sarah: Enchanted Ivy was inspired by one of the most harrowing experiences of my life: the college application process. Seriously, junior and senior year of high school, I was obsessed with getting into college. It was all I talked about and practically all I thought about for two entire years.
In Enchanted Ivy, Lily Carter is obsessed with getting into Princeton University. While visiting the campus, she discovers a secret gate to a magical realm and must race against time to save herself, her world, and any hope she has of college admission.
So this novel is completely autobiographical. Except for the were-tigers. And the talking gargoyles. And the dragons...
Bookworm: You yourself are a Princeton graduate--what is one of your favorite memories from your time there?
Sarah: I met my husband there so that memory has to be top on the list. :) He was my next-door neighbor freshman year. In winter, we used to borrow trays from the cafeteria and go sledding on the golf course behind our dorm.
Another favorite memory is working on my senior thesis at the same time as performing in Into the Woods. Literally, the same time. I had my laptop backstage. I'd revise part of my thesis and then I'd jump on stage to sing a song, and then I'd be back at my laptop.
(In case you're curious, I was the Granny in Into the Woods. And my senior thesis was a stage play about the birth of stories called "To Ride a Dragon". It included a live, fire-breathing dragon.)
Bookworm: How long was the writing process for Enchanted Ivy?
Sarah: Enchanted Ivy took about a year to write. This included two research trips to Princeton. You'd think after living there for four years, I wouldn't need to do research, but a place looks different when you see it through a character's eyes. I visited once during the outline stage and once while writing, and I walked every step that Lily took. I really like to get the details right so that the real world feels as real as possible to contrast with the magic.
Bookworm: Ahhhh, I'm so excited! Speaking of magical creatures, which one of the magical Princeton creatures
in Enchanted Ivy was your favorite?
Sarah: I'm partial to my were-tiger. I like shapeshifters. But I'm also fond of the talking gargoyles. The dragon in particular was fun to write. Ooh, and I LOVED writing the fairy. I can't really talk about her without giving spoilers, but she was very fun.
Bookworm: Are you on Team Jake or Team Tye?
Sarah: I adore them both! Plus I wouldn't want to hurt either of them by choosing. That said, I do think Lily makes the right choice for her. I think you should always go for the guy who loves you for who you are, not who you could be.
Bookworm: How are you and Lily alike, and how are you different?
Sarah: We're both devoted to our families and dedicated to our dreams. But other than that, I see her as a very different person. I talk about the novel being autobiographical, but that's only because it's based on emotional truth. The actual events and people are drawn from imagination, not reality. Except for the talking gargoyles. Obviously, they're real.
Bookworm: What upcoming YA book are you dying to read?
Sarah: I can't wait for Tamora Pierce's Mastiff (next in her Beka Cooper series). Also, I'm looking forward to Theodosia and The Last Pharaoh by R.L. Fevers and The Unnaturalists by Tiffany Trent.
Bookworm: What's your next writing project?
Sarah: Next up 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. It's been so much fun to write, and I'm so excited about it. It will be out in September 2011 by Simon & Schuster.
Thanks, Sarah! As always, it was a pleasure to read your latest book. :)
**Want to win a copy of Enchanted Ivy? Simply comment below with your name and email address. You must be a follower and a resident of the US. Enter before February 1st to win!**