A few years ago I read a book called Drink, Slay, Love. I loved it. Since then author Sarah Beth Durst has become a favorite of mine. She writes great books, and she’s probably the nicest person I’ve ever met. So it’s really not surprising that when I read her latest book, The Lost, her first book for adult, that I loved that one too. The Lost was unlike any other book I’ve read. Readers, seriously – read The Lost! You’ll love it, I promise!
In the meantime, sit back and check out this awesome interview I did with author Sarah Beth Durst!
BookBandit (BB): Can you tell me a little about yourself, and your path as an author?
Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be (except for Wonder Woman, but that career path really didn’t work out for me, since I lack an invisible jet, magic lasso, or any kind of physical prowess whatsoever).
I started writing stories when I was ten years old, and I never stopped. I actually think that’s the key to being a writer: don’t stop. Really, the most valuable trait a writer can have is sheer pig-headed stubbornness. It can take a long time to write a novel and a long time to get published, and it’s very easy to doubt yourself and your story. You have to write through all the doubts and seize the joy.
BB: What was the inspiration behind your first adult book, The Lost?
SBD: THE LOST is about a woman whose life feels empty. She gets into her car one day to go to her dead-end job and instead of turning left at the light, she drives straight… and drives and drives until she ends up trapped in a town called Lost that’s full of only lost things and lost people.
It was inspired by my fear of loss. I hate losing things. I don’t mean socks or umbrellas or pens… I hate the thought of losing moments, of losing memories, of losing the people I love.
BB: How was writing The Lost different from writing your previous books?
SBD: THE LOST is magical realism, and I chose to write it in very, very close first person, present tense. So that automatically made the writing process feel very intense. It was a much more organic writing process than many of my other novels — I did have an outline, but I mostly let Lauren wander where she wanted to wander, and I followed her through the town.
BB: What are some items that you lost in your life that you would hope to find in Lost? With that, if you were to find yourself living there, much like your main character Lauren, what is one item you would hope to find (for survival purposes) and why?
SBD: I’m pretty sure there’s a blue butterfly earring somewhere in Lost that used to be mine… But for survival purposes, it would probably be more practical to find a knife.One of my favorite characters in Lost is a six-year-old girl named Claire who carries only a teddy bear and a very sharp knife.
BB: If the fictional town of Lost could be compared to a town in the U.S.A., which town would you compare it to and why?
SBD: Lost is sort of, kind of in the Arizona desert. I picture it as one of those nearly-abandoned towns that you see signs for on the highway and then pass in a blink of an eye.
BB: If you had to describe The Lost only using three words, what words would you use to describe it?
SBD: Forgotten. Wild. Beautiful.
BB: All of your characters – like the town of Lost – are so vivid, and feel so real – are they based upon people in your life?
SBD: Thanks so much! Really, they aren’t. I am certain that bits of myself and the people I know seep into my characters, but I don’t do it deliberately.
BB: Can you tell about any upcoming projects?
SBD: My next YA novel is coming in October. It’s called CHASING POWER, and it’s about a girl with telekinesis. THE MISSING, the sequel to THE LOST, will be out in late November, followed by THE FOUND in late March. And I am working on a middle-grade novel called THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM, which should be out in fall 2015. Very excited about all of them!
BB: What advice can you offer to aspiring writers?
SBD: Don’t listen to advice, unless it works for you. Seriously, every writer has a different process, and what works for one writer might not work for another. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not writing as many words a day as so-and-so, or if outlining does/doesn’t work for you. Learn what does work for you. Once you do that, it will get easier. Never easy, but easier, because you won’t be fighting yourself.
A very big THANK YOU to author Sarah Beth Durst for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me and the blog! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.
For more information about The Lost and Sarah, definitely check out her website! And make you stay tuned for all the great books that Sarah has coming out.