Inspirations and Influences

Guest Author: Sarah Beth Durst on Inspirations & Influences

Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The best part about I&I posts? Writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want: their new book, series or career as a whole.

We are delighted to welcome Sarah Beth Durst to the blog today to talk about Inspirations and Influences behind the writing of her new book Vessel, a story of magic and destiny.

Please give it up for Sarah!

My mom taught me to love books.

She brought me to the library and let me haul as many books home as I could carry. She introduced me to Narnia and Pern and Sendaria and the Shire. She showed me that books are portals that can transport you to other worlds and return you safely back home, filled with wonder and hope and strength. So she is truly my first inspiration and influence.

My second was the books themselves.

I loved (and love!) stories that sweep you away to another world — books like WILD MAGIC by Tamora Pierce, THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley, THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD by Patricia McKillip, DRAGONSONG by Anne McCaffrey, UNDER HEAVEN by Guy Gavriel Kay, LIRAEL by Garth Nix… The power to transport you, to make you forget about the real world, to immerse you in a place that doesn’t exist, that’s a kind of magic.

Ever since I started hauling books home from the library, I have wanted to be a part of that magic.

As a kid, I used to spend hours creating maps of imaginary places. I’d pool together all the scrap paper I could find, tape it together, and fill the floor of my room with mountains and oceans and deserts. I’d doodle imaginary creatures in my school notebooks, and I’d keep lists of characters with exotic names who lived in these places.

So when I sat down to create the world for VESSEL, it felt like fulfilling a childhood dream.

VESSEL is my first high fantasy. It’s set in a desert world with wolves made of sand that hunt inside storms and sky serpents made of unbreakable glass that fly through the skies, and it’s about Liyana, a girl who is destined to sacrifice herself so that her goddess can inhabit her body and save her clan… but her goddess never comes.

I know this sounds cheesy, but I think that being a writer is the closest you can get in this world to being a wizard. You are trying to touch the mind and heart of someone you’ve never met. You are trying to take them on a journey simply through the magic of words on a page.

So I’d have to say that I am inspired and influenced by the wizards who fill my bookshelves and who have taken me away into their worlds. And by my mother, who first showed me their magic.

About the author: Sarah Beth Durst is the author of young adult novels Vessel, Drink, Slay, Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as middle grade novels Into the Wild and Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. She has twice been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award, for both Ice and Into the Wild.

Thanks, Sarah!

And don’t forget to check back today to read our review of Vessel.

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  • Linda W
    September 20, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Yay! Sarah! I’m so excited to see this post, because I’ve read just about all of her books (haven’t read the middle grades, but read all of her YA books–reading her latest–Vessel–right now) and I’ve read the books she admires. I totally agree that a writer has to be a wizard to create story magic. 😀

  • Estara
    September 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

    One of the favourite books is not as old as the others, but I applaud your taste because I share it, heh ^^ – haven’t read Lirael yet, though.

  • Joint Review: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst | The Book Smugglers
    September 21, 2012 at 6:02 am

    […] Guest Author: Sarah Beth Durst on Inspirations & Influences […]

  • Anonymous
    September 21, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Hi Sarah! You really nailed it with this one!

    I hope you still have some of those maps. I am guilty of a similar pleasure.

  • ewein2412
    September 21, 2012 at 8:21 am

    oh , whoops, that anonymous commenter was me.

  • Heidi
    September 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    “I know this sounds cheesy, but I think that being a writer is the closest you can get in this world to being a wizard.”

    That doesn’t sound cheesy at all, it sounds absolutely perfect and I couldn’t agree more. I love this post, it makes me want to go back to those days of combing my childhood library fantasy shelves.

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