Author Interview: YA Urban Fantasy Author Sarah Beth Durst

I recently started a new monthly column over at featuring upcoming releases in urban fantasy/paranormal romance, young adult, epic fantasy and science fiction. You can catch up on all 100-plus October releases in these genres at this link. Keep scrolling down to get to your favorite category!

I’ve been running the full text of some of the mini interviews from the column in recent days. So far, we’ve heard from Cherie Priest (Dreadnought), Jennifer Estep (Venom), Kalayna Price (Grave Witch), and Richard Kadrey (Kill the Dead).

Stop by later in the week for Beautiful Creatures authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

Today, though, I welcome Sarah Beth Durst, whose upcoming YA novel Enchanted Ivy (which will be out on Tuesday, Oct. 12) is one of the new releases I can’t wait to read since I spend my daytime hours on a college campus. In the book, high school junior Lily Carter goes to visit the college of her dreams, Princeton University, where her grandfather went to school. But when she takes the top-secret Legacy Test (in college lingo, a “legacy” is an incoming student whose parents or grandparents are alumni), she learns there’s a whole ‘nother Princeton–one with talking gargoyles and were-tiger boys and all kinds of danger. I can’t wait to read this!

Here’s what Sarah (herself a Princeton grad) had to say:

How much of the Enchanted Ivy setting draws on your own college experiences?

SBD: It is completely autobiographical.  Except for the dragons.  And the talking gargoyles.  And the were-tigers.  Okay, it’s not at all autobiographical.  But it is emotionally true.  It’s about that pivotal (and terrifying) moment where you know that the decision you are making will forever change you and your future, a.k.a. the college application process.

Junior year of high school, I was obsessed with college.  Every day, I’d receive another college brochure in the mail and add it to a teetering tower in my room.  Every few weeks, my dad and I would hop in the car and visit a few more schools.  (We visited a whopping twenty-two before the start of senior year.)  I worried about SATs, AP exams, grades, extracurriculars, application essays… But most of all, I worried and wondered about what college would be like — and what I would be like afterward.  Enchanted Ivy was inspired by that overwhelming obsession.  Also by my fondness for were-tigers.

Is Enchanted Ivy a standalone, or will it begin a series?

Enchanted Ivy was written as a standalone (though I admit that I miss the characters, especially my tiger boy…).  My next novel is Drink, Slay, Love, about a vampire girl who develops a conscience after she is stabbed through the heart by a unicorn’s horn. No were-tigers in it, though it does have a were-unicorn… 🙂
Thanks, Sarah! So…today’s question: Anything from your own college days make potential fiction fodder? A romance? A scary experience? A creepy boss?
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

4 thoughts on “Author Interview: YA Urban Fantasy Author Sarah Beth Durst

  1. Wow. LOVE that cover!!

    Oh boy, I’ve used some things from my life as fuel for my fiction. But my lips are sealed. **lol**

    I think we can use things we’ve experienced in books and then throw a bunch of twists on it, too, so it’s even crazier than what really happened. That’s the fun part!

  2. I know! I keep thinking about that wrong number from a guy I got my freshman year and ended up going to his house for a party and dating him for several months! Such a dangerous stupid thing…but might be good story fodder!