Sarah Beth Durst Talks CONJURED

Posted 01/09/2014 by alicemarvels in Author Interview
We are huge fans of Sarah Beth Durst’s fantasy thriller, Conjured, so we’re very excited that she has agreed to stop by today to chat about the book! If you haven’t read Conjured yet and you love creepy, atmospheric, mysterious fantasies, you’re going to want to make room on your TBR pile for it.



Eve’s memory loss leaves her dependent on others for clues about her identity. She’s almost forced to live in a constant state of paranoia, wondering who she can trust. If you were in Eve’s shoes, waking up with few memories of your past life, what would you do?

Search for a diary.  Or random Post-Its that I may have left with clues.  And if I don’t find a diary, I’ll start one.  And I’ll leave myself as many Post-It notes as I could.

Written words are how I understand the world, how I process and cope with experiences.  So written words are how I’d deal with memory losses.  But Eve doesn’t really have that option.  She doesn’t have enough privacy, or even enough understanding of what she’s going through, to leave herself clues.


One of the things I love about this story is that nearly every character seemed to have hidden motivations, and I never knew who to trust. I think I suspected pretty much everyone of evildoing and betrayal at some point during the story. In your own reading life, have you ever had an instance where a character betrayed your trust or surprised you with their motivations?

I know I uttered a Luke-Skywalker-esque “NO!!!” while I was reading MASTIFF by Tamora Pierce.  That one had a twist that I didn’t see coming.

And as a side note, I did have one character in CONJURED surprise me by not betraying Eve.  He or she (I’m not going to say who) had a different fate in my original outline.  I love when you discover things through the act of writing.  It’s like finding an extra birthday present stashed under your pillow.


If you could do magic, but the price was passing out and having terrifying visions and memory loss, would you keep your powers under wraps, or would you use them anyway?

I’d totally use them, because magic.  I’d know I shouldn’t, and I’d feel bad about it afterward, but I know myself well enough to know I’d have about as much willpower with magic as I have with chocolate.

Mmmm, chocolate……


I love the atmosphere you created in the story, especially the carnival scenes and Eve’s flashbacks to her time traveling with the Magician. Did you have any music/movies/tv shows you listened to or watched to get into a certain mood before writing?

Sometimes I listened to Cirque Du Soleil soundtracks.  And I had a playlist for the book that included The Dreaming by Kate Bush, Cornflake Girl by Tori Amos, Across the Universe by the Beatles, Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machines, and Don’t U Forget About Me by Simple Minds.

Most times, though, I wrote to whatever random song popped up on iTunes (unless it was too perky — those could be jarring).  I love writing to music.  I find it (oddly enough) helps keep me focused.


There’s a massive twist at the end I didn’t see coming at all. Did you always know you would take the story in this direction, or did it evolve into that ending as you wrote?

I always knew.  Generally, I know the beginning and the ending for my novels, and it’s the middle that’s often really mushy when I start writing.  My outlines tend to look like that cartoon with a scientist standing in front of a blackboard filled with equations on the left, equations on the right, and the words “and then a miracle occurs” in the middle.


I love CONJURED’s ending, and feel it was a very satisfying resolution, but I’d still love to see future stories set in this fictional universe. Any chance you’ll revisit these characters?

While I don’t have any immediate plans to write a sequel, I have to admit that I do miss Eve and Zach so who knows what the future will bring?  Right now, though, I’m enjoying working on my next two projects: THE LOST (coming in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira) and MIND OVER MAGIC (coming in fall 2014 from Bloomsbury/Walker).  I’m really excited about both of them!


Can you give us any hints about what we can expect next on shelves from you?

THE LOST is the first book in a new trilogy for adults about a woman who is trapped in a town full of only lost things and lost people.  And MIND OVER MAGIC, my next YA book, is about a telekinetic girl who is trying to save the mother of a boy she’s just met, a boy who can teleport and who lies as easily as he travels.


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!


About Conjured:


Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she’s in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

Available now: Amazon | The Book Depository | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Google Play



Praise for CONJURED by Sarah Beth Durst

“A twisted circus of a book, completely freaky and delicious at the same time. It’s a thriller, a fairy tale nightmare, and a romance all in one, unlike anything else and impossible to predict. I could not stop reading!” — Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series

“Durst excels at describing grotesque violence and gorgeous magical transformations alike, painting a touching portrait of first love against a backdrop of Twilight Zone-type terrors.” — Kirkus

“Durst combines the particular terrors of memory loss and icy bureaucracy with the colorful horrors of carnivalesque murder, killer sleight-of-hand, and a creepy, terrible truth about Eve’s very being. Disorientation, curiosity, and fear course through the story, offering tight suspense and satisfying mystification even up to the last pages. An unusual blend of magical worlds, psychological thriller, and teen romance.” — Horn Book

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Watch the trailer:

About Sarah Beth Durst:



Sarah Beth Durst is the author of seven fantasy novels for teens. Her latest, Conjured, came out in September 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker. Prior to that, she released Vessel, Drink Slay Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild from Penguin. Her first book for adults, The Lost, comes out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira. She 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 has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old and holds an English degree from Princeton University, where she spent four years writing about dragons and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. She lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. For more information, visit her at

Find her online: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook 





    Loved this interview. One of my biggest fears would be to have something happened where I didn’t know who I was or those I loved. It would be terrible and so very frightening!


    Wonderful interview, and I agree I learn and assess through words too. I love that so many of the characters were unreliable and I am curious about the twist.


    Thanks for sharing! I actually like writing to music today. I have certain songs for a lot of my projects so listening to them brings me back to the storyline. Love “playlists” for books!

    I’m very curious about Sarah’s novel The Lost!


    I really should read the Durst book I have


    This is truly a great interview! It’d be scary not to remember who you are basically. I mean I’d be sacred of everyone. This book sounds really interesting though. Maybe I’ll give it a try 🙂


    “I’d totally use them, because magic. I’d know I shouldn’t, and I’d feel bad about it afterward, but I know myself well enough to know I’d have about as much willpower with magic as I have with chocolate.

    Mmmm, chocolate……”

    THIS. I like to think I’d be able to keep the magic under wraps as well, but I’d know it was there and therefore, I’d fall to the temptation of it and use. Probably on silly things that I could do perfectly well without magic:)

    And we need to stop talking about chocolate!


    Fun interview and good to know about satisfying resolution


    OH boy her book The Lost sounds really interesting as well. I haven’t seen this one before and I am interested. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend!


    I enjoyed this book as well. I would also use my magic for the same reasons. Because magic! LOL

    I can’t wait to read her next books too!


    Because magic just about sums it up for me, too. Even with the passing out. Totally worth it. I’d love to see some companion novels in this world, too!


    Great interview — I always love learning about how authors work!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics


    I loved Sarah’s ‘Drink, Slay, Love’, so I’d like to read more of her books. This sounds really interesting, and so does The Lost trilogy. I’ll have to mark that down.


    You conduct the BEST interviews! Fabulous questions — and I, of course, loved Sarah’s answers! I’m so intrigued by Conjured, and it is definitely going on the TBR. Thanks so much for the fascinating post and for sharing the trailer!


    Thanks for sharing the interview with us! I haven’t read any work by Durst as of yet but I plan to read this one or Vessel some time this year. And Mind Over Magic sounds really FUN. I’ll definitely look forward to it 😀


    Not only have I not read anything by Durst before, but I’ve also seen little to no information about this book so THANK YOU for conducting this interview! I’m so curious to pick up a copy myself, now, and it sounds absolutely wonderful; like the type of book I’d love. I can’t wait to finally read it soon. 🙂

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