Sarah Beth Durst is the author of nine fantasy novels for children, teens, and adults, including Conjured, Vessel, and Ice. Her most recent YA novel, Chasing Power, came out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury, and her next middle-grade novel, The Girl Who Could Not Dream, is scheduled for release in fall 2015 from HMH/Clarion Books. Sarah was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and has been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award three times.
Sarah was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town that later became the setting for her debut novel. At the age of ten, she decided she wanted to be a writer. (Before that, she wanted to be Wonder Woman, except with real flying ability instead of an invisible jet. She also would have accepted a career as a unicorn princess.) And she began writing fantasy stories. She attended Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and two children.
Guest Post: Places I’d Like to Take My Laptop to and Write by Sarah Beth Durst
I write on a laptop because I like to think of myself as one of those kinds of writers who can flitter off to a beach or mountainside or deserted island or quaint coffee shop and write page after page of poetic prose in an idyllic, inspiring setting.
In truth, though, I’m not actually one of those kinds of writers.
I’ve tried writing outside, but there’s invariably glare or wind or bugs. And inside, in cutesy cafes and coffee shops, there are other people, and I get all caught up in imagining lives for them that I forget to write about my own imaginary lives. I love people-watching. And eavesdropping. And baked goods.
In truth, I write best at my ordinary desk, with easy access to both my refrigerator and bathroom. I like to listen to music, and I like to have a glass of water and a stash of chocolate nearby, but that’s about as exciting as I get.
Which might explain why I wrote a novel like CHASING POWER, my newest YA book. It’s about Kayla, a girl with telekinesis who meets a boy who can teleport. It enfolds into a kind of Indiana-Jones-style adventure that ranges across several continents, as they hunt for three magical stones and uncover betrayals that Kayla may not be able to forgive… or survive.
Through Kayla, I got to travel without leaving the comfort of my own desk — to Tikal in Guatemala, to the Andes in Peru, to New Orleans, to Spain…
Sometimes being a writer is like being the ultimate armchair traveler.
But if I could take my laptop and travel anywhere, here are a few of the places I’d love to be able to write:
– Ireland — I’ve never been to Ireland, but I am convinced that it is full of elves, brownies, and other magical beings that would be enormously helpful to the creative process.
– Venice, Italy — I have been to Venice (though not to write), and it was one of the few places I’ve been that looked exactly like it was supposed to look.
– Kawachi Fuji Garden in Japan — I once saw a picture of a wisteria tunnel, a passage of delicate purple flowers that drooped over you. Clearly a magical portal to another world.
– Crystal Caves in Mexico — I’ve read that humans can’t actually survive in these caves for more than a few minutes, and that’s with a spacesuit-like hazmat outfit. But if one could survive… wow.
– Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico — You can survive in these caves, and they’re also magical-looking. Not exactly sure how the park rangers would feel about someone plopping down on the path with a laptop, though…
How about you? Where would you want to go?
Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers — and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both.
When she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy with the ability to teleport — he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.
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