Meet Sarah Beth Durst

Durst_photo_1 Today we’re pleased to bring you an interview with Sarah Beth Durst. Sarah is a writer, and has her debut novel, Into the Wild, coming out in 2007. She blogs at Sarah’s Journal and also has a MySpace page. She started blogging in September 2006, and has jumped in with both feet as a judge for the Middle Grade Fiction committee of the Cybils. Today, Jen Robinson interviews Sarah about her blog and her upcoming book.

Jen: Why did you start blogging, Sarah?

Sarah: I have wanted to be a writer since I was 10 years old, and so when I sold my debut novel–Into the Wild, coming in June 2007 from Razorbill/Penguin–I wanted to shout the news from the rooftops. My husband pointed out that I have a lousy sense of balance and would most likely fall and hurt myself. So I started a blog instead. Seriously, this is a dream come true for me, and I blog because I want to share the experience with my friends online. Plus, I want to meet new people who also love books or fairy tales or just random conversations about Smurfs or Wonder Woman’s invisible jet or whatever, and I’m hoping that my blog will be a way for those kindred spirits to find me.

Jen: What is it about kidlit that you love most?

Sarah: You know that Cartoon Network show "The Adventures of Juniper Lee"? Best show on TV. If you don’t know it, it’s basically "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" but in cartoon form and without the whining. Anyway, June has this little brother Ray-Ray Lee who thinks it’s AWESOME that his sister is a secret superhero who kicks monster butt. If I were a cartoon character, I’d be Ray-Ray Lee. And that, in a nutshell, is why I love kidlit. I love the optimism that you can find in kidlit. I love the sense of humor. I love the sense of wonder. But most of all, I love that you can find stories and characters and ideas in kidlit that make you think, "That’s so AWESOME!"

Jen: What’s your favorite book that didn’t make the shortlist?

Sarah: Changeling by Delia Sherman. Also Devilish by Maureen Johnson.

Jen: If you could have a fictional character visit you for a day, who would it be and how would you spend the time together? 

Sarah: Oddly, I’ve never thought about this before. I think a lot of characters that I love would be downright annoying to spend a day with. The heroes and heroines either have "issues" or are so magnificent that I’d end up having issues, and the villains are, well, you know, not the kind of people I’d want in my house. So I think I’d have to choose a sidekick. Someone smart, funny, preferably non-human (just because that would be cool and freak out the neighbors). You know, a snarky telepathic dragon or a wise-cracking talking cat. And we’d just hang out, eat popcorn and kibble and whatever telepathic dragons eat, and make witty comments to each other until we laugh so hard that we fall off the couch.

Durst_intothewild_coverTo get to know Sarah a bit better, and get a feel for her writing, check out this post, in which she shares her joy in finding out that her book (pictured to the left) will be published. She also has a funny post about the perils of media mail, with a suggestion that one package traveled at the approximate pace of a squirrel (complete with photo of said squirrel courier). Finally, for a laugh, check out this post, in which Sarah starts a series of obscure fairy tale recountings:

A tailor has 3 sons and a goat. He asks his sons to feed the goat. After each son takes his turn guiding the goat to sumptuous grasses, the goat lies to the tailor and says he was fed nothing but rocks and weeds. So the tailor kicks his sons out of his house.

Okay, I have to comment here. The Thing I Love About This Story #1: the random talking goat. There’s no explanation for why the goat talks. No one is fazed by it. It has zero bearing on the rest of the tale. It’s purely there as the set-up to the sons leaving home so they can find something magical. Um, hello, talking goat, right here.

Visit Sarah at Sarah’s Journal, and be sure to look for her book when it comes out this summer!