Interview: Sarah Beth Durst, Author of Vessel + Giveaway

Posted 09/07/2012 by alicemarvels in Author Interview

Welcome to the Author Corner!


Today we’re chatting with Sarah Beth Durst, the lovely author of DRINK, SLAY, LOVE, about her upcoming fantasy novel VESSEL, which hits shelves 9/11.

There is perhaps no higher praise in YA fantasy than getting the stamp of approval from Tamora Pierce, author of the Alanna and Beka Cooper books. Tamora says of VESSEL: “Unique and breathtaking — Sarah Beth Durst outdoes herself, again!”

Trickster gods, brave heroines, flying glass serpents, wolves made of sand…..yeah, we could not be more excited for this book!


Thanks so much for stopping by Sarah! The world of VESSEL sounds fascinating. Did you draw on any existing mythology for the gods, goddesses and creatures in VESSEL?

Yes and no.  I tried to create the feel of ancient mythology and of a culture with a strong oral tradition and so I researched a number of desert cultures, but I didn’t draw the deities or creatures from any particular set of myths. The gods and goddess that inhabit human bodies… the sky serpents made of unbreakable glass… the wolves made out of sand… they’re unique to Liyana’s world.

The one exception is Korbyn, my trickster god.  The trickster is an archetype that appears across many cultures.  He’s often a catalyst for change, a character who works outside the box — and occasionally upends the box, shakes it around, and dumps the contents out.

In VESSEL, my trickster god walks out of a dust storm to save Liyana… because he needs her to save their world.


Can you share a quote from Liyana that gives us a sense of what she’s like?

His eyes widened, the first crack in his perfect, sculpted face.  He placed the knife down, folded his hands, and leaned back as if to contemplate her from a distance.  “You do realize that you are addressing the emperor of the Crescent Empire.”

“And you are addressing a free woman of the desert.  You are not my emperor.  Therefore I am your equal.”  She waited for his response, expecting to be savaged like a rabbit by a wolf.


Which novels have been most inspirational in your writing life? Do you have any writing heroes?

I think I’d have to pick the novels that I read when I was ten, the ones that made me first say, “THIS is magic!  I want to make magic!”  They include ALANNA by Tamora Pierce, DEEP WIZARDRY by Diane Duane, TALKING TO DRAGONS by Patricia C. Wrede, and THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley.


What’s your favorite fantasy novel? Favorite fantasy movie/TV show?

Favorite fantasy novel… probably BEAUTY by Robin McKinley.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Favorite fantasy movie… Labyrinth.



Will you revisit this world again in another book? What book can we look forward to next from you?

I am currently working on SWEET NOTHINGS, a YA novel about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program.  It comes out from Bloomsbury/Walker in fall 2013.  I’m also working on my first trilogy for adults, entitled THE LOST, THE MISSING, and THE FOUND, which will be published by Luna.  I’m really, really excited about both!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!


We’re looking forward to those! Thanks again, Sarah, we love having you! 

About Vessel

 In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love.

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

Read the first two chapters here!

Find Vessel at:  amazon  |  b&n  |  indiebound  |  goodreads




About Sarah Beth Durst


Sarah Beth Durst is the author of young adult novels VesselDrink, Slay, LoveEnchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as middle grade novels Into the Wild and Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. She has twice been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award, for both Ice and Into the Wild.

Sarah was born in Massachusetts as Sarah Angelini and grew up in Northboro, a small town in central Mass 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, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat. She also has a miniature pet griffin named Alfred. Okay, okay, that’s not quite true. His name is really Montgomery.


Catch up with Sarah on:  website | twitter | facebook | goodreads | blog | Simon & Schuster website



Win a hardcover copy of VESSEL!
Let us know in the comments who your favorite god/goddess is in mythology/fiction/TV/movies, etc.
Extra points for spreading the word about the giveaway.
Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
Giveaway ends 9/23.



    Great interview! Vessel sounds amazing, I’d love to win a copy.

    My favorite god is Loki. I mean, he’s the god of mischief, and he is played by Tom Hiddleston in Thor, so all around, that name has awesome associations. 🙂

    Thanks for the giveaway!


    My favorite goddess is Artemis/Diana. She’s so strong and admirable. If there was ever a goddess I wish we could bring to life and send to Congress, it would be her! She would whip that place into shape!!


    I adore Loki! Every myth and retelling of Norse mythology is always more fun when Loki’s around.


    This sounds really interesting. I guess my favorite god is Athena because she’s so wise and just. Thanks!


    My favorite god is Isia because the story of her struggle for the pieces of her husband should empower all women.


    Thos from The Avengers is so amazing and hot!


    I’d have to say that Poseidon is my favorite God because he can control the sea.


    I really like Athena, because she is so strong and wise. She came out of Zues’ head ready to fight, and she never will stop.


    Eris, the Goddess of Discord from the cartoon movie Sinbad. I can’t help it; she’s just so cool! “Places to go, stuff to steal… TA!”


    Athena. For me she is the epitome of what women should be.


    The pantheon in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is only topped by the follow-on novel Anansi’s Boys. Excellent books.

    I also enjoyed the enslaved gods in N K Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.


    I have to say Thor, and that may or may not be solely due to the fact that Chris Hemsworth plays him… 😉


    Oooh this is tough. I guess Aphrodite…I don really know many myths outside of Greece.


    Thor! I love the Norse Gods!


    I kind of like Athena/Diana. She’s awesome. Huntress, warrior, and still lovely. =D

    Elizabeth Keyser

    Prometheus is is my favorite Mythical God, he gave the people fire and brought them out of darkness. He got punished for it but still was satisfied and happy he gave them fire.

    Kiara Zuri

    My favorite fantasy book is Ghostland by Jory Strong and my favorite fantasy movie is The Dark Crystal.

    Lexi E.

    Hmmm…I don’t know many gods, but I’d have to go with Poseidon because I’ve read some awesome books and seen awesome movies with Poseidon in them 🙂


    I really also love Athena….talk about an idol for women.


    Artemis because she is the goddess of the moon. And what could be better than the moon? 🙂


    Hestia. Who doesn’t want to have fire?


    I’m going to have to go with Artemis because she is the Goddess of the moon and I’ve always been kind of fascinated with the Moon and well space in general lol

    Great interview BTW, Deep Wizardry is one of my all time favorite books from childhood, so good!


    I loved DRINK, SLAY, LOVE and can’t wait to read VESSEL! 🙂


    Artemis, a strong silent hunter, and Goddess of the Moon. An awesome Goddess to learn about, in my opinion.


    Oh it has to be Loki!


    Mine would be Athena because she is a just goddess and she is all about intelligence and balance. She’s not a hot-headed god like some of the Pantheon.


    I’m also going with Thor, and yes, it is mostly because he is pretty dreamy 🙂


    Don’t really have a favorite but for this I’ll pick Poseidon, since he’s considered the creator of horses, and I’m sort of partial to Hades.


    My favorite is Athena! I absolutely love everything that she stands for, especially the whole wisdom thing. Not to mention that she’s just a badass goddess in general.

    Susan Light

    Poseidon or Athena. They are really popping up in YA lit these days!


    I have to go with Poseidon because I’m obsessed with surfing and I just think he’d be my kind of dude.


    My favorite goddess ever is the Greek goddess Artemis. She is a very strong female character and always takes care of herself. She never turns to anyone else to help her with her problems. I find her strength and courage inspiring.


    I love Sarah Beth Durst! Her books are definitely some of my favorites!


    Oh and my favorite god is Loki…not The Avengers Loki, the Norse Loki.


    Oh hell yeah! David Bowie!! You remind me of the babe….


    Great interview! Vessel sounds amazing. Can´t wait to read it.


    I guess Aphrodite is my favorite…


    My favorite God has to be Aphrodite from greek mythology. She is always seen as somewhat of a non-important God but I believe she has secrets hidden up her cloak of love.

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