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Friday, October 8, 2010

Guest Post: Sarah Beth Durst (Author of Enchanted Ivy)

I'm thrilled to have Sarah Beth Durst on my blog to today where she talks about the setting of her upcoming novel Enchanted Ivy.

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of Ice, an Andre Norton Award Finalist for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild. She lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. For more information, visit her at

Enchanted Ivy hits shelves October 12, 2010!

Location, Location, Location

Enchanted Ivy is about magic at Princeton. So one of the questions that I am often asked is: Why Princeton? I have a bunch of different (and true!) answers to that:

1. I went to Princeton and absolutely loved it, and this is how I express my love: by inserting magic into a place. Also, by kind of destroying parts of it. Sorry 'bout that, Princeton.

2. The whole college application process can become this overwhelming, anxious, exciting obsession. Junior and senior year of high school, it consumed me. So I wanted to write about that.

3. Princeton has gargoyles. Lots of them. A monkey with a camera. An ape in graduation robes. A dragon in chains. They were practically begging to have a story written about them.

Stepping back from Enchanted Ivy... I think those three reasons work well as a guide to choosing a setting for any story: pick a place that is fun to play in, pick a place with emotional resonance, and pick a place with features that either inspire you or fit your plot.

I often choose my setting before I know the story or even the characters. It's that important to me. As they say in real estate... location, location, location!

I'm curious what you guys think about setting... Readers: How important is setting to you? Is it something you consider when you choose what book to read? Writers: At what stage in your process do you choose your setting? What criteria do you use to decide?

For more information about Sarah Beth Durst and her books, please visit her website here.

You can also click here to read an excerpt of Enchanted Ivy!


  1. Setting doesn't matter to me much in terms of what I read. I've only written high fantasy so far. If I was writing in this world I'd probably pick aplace I know and like like you did.

  2. The setting matters a lot to me when I chose what to read next. I always have a list of books I'd like to read that pertain to the season, a holiday coming up or even an activity I have planned like a trip.

    There are a lot of times that I just pick up a book because I want to read it so badly, but I also have my lists throughout the year.



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