I have wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old. (Before that, I wanted to be Wonder Woman. Except I wanted cooler powers, like telekinesis or teleportation, rather than the "lasso of truth." I mean, really, lasso of truth? Superman gets to fly and such... But I digress.) I've always loved books. To me, books are magic. They cast spells that can help people escape, even if only for an hour or two, from whatever is hurting them. I've always wanted to be part of that magic, to create characters that can be like new friends, to take people (and myself!) to places they'll never go...
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
ICE is basically Beauty and the Beast meets Arctic adventure. It's set as far north as you can imagine and beyond -- Cassie (my "Beauty") lives in northernmost Alaska and Bear (my "Beast") lives one mile north of the North Pole. Cassie spends a lot of time being cold. I don't like to be cold. Really, really don't like to be cold. And I'm not very adventurous either. So I did a TON of research. I read nature guides, survival guides, polar bear books, Arctic explorer memoirs... I plastered my room with photos of the Arctic and covered my floor with tons of maps. Basically, I immersed myself in as much research as possible until I felt like I had lived in that world. Minus the cold.
If you could collaborate with one author, who would it be and why?
Shakespeare. Because I've always wanted to time travel.
No, I'm totally kidding. I'd miss the indoor plumbing. Seriously, if I could collaborate with one author... I'd have to say Tamora Pierce. I love the worlds and the characters she creates. She's one of the writers who inspired me to say, "I want to do this. I want to create this magic too."
I outline. I have to outline. I'm too easily distracted by shiny things. If I didn't outline, my characters would start off in Alaska and end up visiting dinosaurs in petticoats while the aliens dance the quadrille. (Note: this is NOT the plot of Ice.)
Most exciting experience thus far in your life?
Getting the Call. As I said above, I've wanted to be a writer since I was ten, so I'd been waiting a long time for that call from my agent saying someone wants to publish my book. I think I shrieked. I know I was shaking. After the call, I checked the caller-ID twice to be certain that she really had called and I hadn't just hallucinated the whole thing. (I had dreamed about that moment so many times that I thought it was a distinct possibility that this time, I had simply imagined it really, really clearly.)
Do you hear from your readers much? What kind of things do they say?
I love hearing from readers! Sometimes they write to ask questions. Sometimes they write to tell me what characters or scenes they like. Sometimes they write to send me photos of polar bears or things that remind them of the Wild (from my first two books, Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, about fairy-tale characters who escaped the fairy tale). Sometimes they write to tell me I may have won a million dollars if only I email them my bank account and credit card numbers... Seriously, one nice email from a reader can make my entire day. It's so cool to think about people out there meeting characters that used to be only in my head... *waves at people*
What other projects are you currently working on?
ICE comes out on October 6th so I am working on obsessively Googling myself to see if people like it. (I know, I know, I shouldn't do it, but I can't help it!) I am also working on my next novel, TIGERLILY, which is about magic at Princeton and will be coming out from Simon & Schuster in fall 2010.
Is there anything else you want people to know about yourself or the book?
You can visit me at www.sarahbethdurst.com or sarahbethdurst.blogspot.com.