Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 4 - Sarah Beth Durst

I first met today's Blogtoberguest, Sarah Beth Durst, in Austin at the 2006 World Fantasy Con. She came over and said hi at the gigantic all-author booksigning. I'd just had my first print novel out the week before, so for anyone to even talk to me, much less buy my book, was a huge deal.

Then I went to hear her read from her debut novel, Into the Wild. I was a) blown away and b) sad that it wasn't coming out for seven months.

That night, I went to a party thrown by an entity whose parties were supposed to be legendary. I expected music, games, wild abandon.

No music. No games. No abandon, wild or domesticated. Basically, the party consisted of people sitting around quietly drinking or standing around a large table looking at very old cover flats. (???)


But not for me, because Sarah was there, and we chatted for hours about all sorts of writing and life stuff (but not about cover flats, because the party had that, uh, covered). To this day, she is still one of my favorite people to hang out with, anywhere, any time.

Her new novel, Ice, comes out today! So give her a big, not-so-chilly welcome to Blogtoberfest.

EDITED TO ADD: When you have a minute, go read Sarah's blog post on how this book came to be. I am in awe.

* * * *

Thanks so much for having me here, Jeri!

Jeri gave me the choice about writing about Halloween, homecoming, or home.

Halloween was way too traumatic a topic for me to touch. (Seriously, one of the best things about being a grown-up—next to not having to ask permission to eat pizza for breakfast—is not having to dress up for Halloween. That holiday used to stress me out months in advance. Inevitably, I'd choke and end up gluing construction paper on a giant cardboard box and call it a day. But I digress.)

Homecoming was out for me too because my high school was too small to have a traditional Homecoming with football games and Homecoming queens and so forth. (This isn't a complaint. I loved my school. I was a shy kid, and if I’d gone to a large school, I probably would have squeezed myself into a locker and hid there the entire time.) But the upshot is that I know nothing about Homecomings beyond TV and movie cliches.

So... home.

Probably as much a loaded word as "love." Or "disco."

My new novel ICE is about home. It's about the time when you leave the place you've always thought of as home and you find a new home. (It's also about polar bears and true love and an impossible quest across the Arctic.)

I think there are a lot of ways to define "home"—the place you live, the place you're from, the place you spent/spend the most time, the place that holds the people you love.

But I think that home is really the place that shapes who you are and how you see yourself. It's the place that, for good or bad, defines you.

This includes your role (daughter, mother, sister, son, brother), your tastes (the blue bedspread you love and the pink flower wallpaper you hate), and your passions (the stacks of books and the drawers full of poems and stories).

At its best, home is the place that fits the shape that you are, all your edges and bumps and quirks.

I feel really lucky to have a home like that. My home has my million mementoes (I am a total packrat—seriously, I still have dried roses from my high school prom corsage, plus ticket stubs from every play I've ever seen) and my thousand books (I've never counted, but I have a LOT). But more importantly, it has my family, who not only tolerates but loves my silliness, who cheers me on no matter what, and who buys me fudge for no particular reason.

Really, I think that’s what home is or should be: a place with your memories, with your passions, and with people who love you. And also with fudge. Raspberry chocolate fudge...

Author photo by Adam Durst

* * * *

To enter to win Ice, leave a comment below. For complete rules, read the introductory post.

Deadline for entry: Tuesday, October 13, 11:59pm Eastern. THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED TO ENTRIES. THANKS!!

Other open Blogtoberfest giveaways:
Rosemary Clement-Moore and The Splendor Falls
Shannon Reinbold-Gee and 13 to Life
Saundra Mitchell and Shadowed Summer

Thanks again to Sarah for always making parties better!

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Sarah's description of 'home' is just as i saw others have. What they had when I was a teen-and didn't have-what they look back to and now share with their own kids. Something, again, that I do not have. Her very words hit such a deep feeling in me that they have drawn me to seeking out this book to read. My 'home' is now and just as it was through my teeens, ->animals<.. It's odd this morning I read about a book with a Polar Bear! A Polar Bear [along w/Lion] is the ONE beast I would give anything to wrap my arms around and cry into it's deep soft fur To me..ONLY an animal can help ease the pain of lonliness and deep hurts. Only an animal can listen to our deepest dreams and really accept us for who we are. What better than two of the most feared and disappearing beasts in the world to cling too just KNOWING how deeply they feel as I do? I wonder if I will slip into this story and feel as it is me in the pages? I can't wait to escape and discover what is between the covers.

Posted by: Blogger Hedy at 10/06/2009 8:15 AM

Wow, Sarah blew me away with her response. I liked how she had the opportunity to "speak" about a topic... that's close to home (couldn't resist the lame joke). I definitely want to try that fudge now!

Home is a lot of things, and a lot of bonds. Home is where I've lived and also in the familiar hugs of my relatives and very close friends. It's funny how my family and I can take a plane out to New Zealand or the Philippines and find ourselves trying to recreate our routines and sense of home overseas! Family to me is everything, and it's truly home.

Thank you very much for this intriguing topic, Jeri! Now I have to go hug my little sister...

Posted by: Anonymous Sharmaine at 10/06/2009 10:13 AM

That was an incredible description on the definition of "home." I felt myself nodding and agreeing with everything she said. Though sometimes my role as daughter and sister make me want to run (especially in my dysfunctional family), she hit it spot on.

And I'm so excited for ICE. Polar Bears are one of my biggest obsessions, and I just heard phenomenal things about it. Count me in!


Posted by: Blogger Katie at 10/06/2009 10:34 AM

I can definately relate to Sarah's descripition of what a home is. I never went to homecoming and I spent most of my teenage years in my room either reading or with just the few good friends I had. I'm pretty excited to read "Ice." Good luck, Sarah with the book. From the looks of it, you'll have a ton of interested readers! :)

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/06/2009 10:43 AM

You make me miss home! Kudos. Now I'm going to go call my mom. lol

Great guest post!

Posted by: Blogger Brooke Reviews at 10/06/2009 11:53 AM

holy cow! i agree with everything Sarah said about "home". :) and the book looks awesome :) looks like a book i could really get lost in!

Posted by: Anonymous Jennzah at 10/06/2009 11:59 AM

Wonderful post! I love the cover of this book and can't wait to read it.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger throuthehaze at 10/06/2009 12:00 PM

Beautiful post! I can't wait to read this book :)

Posted by: Blogger Poppy at 10/06/2009 12:27 PM

Hi Jeri, I am really enjoying the blogs with all these new authors and my list for my daughter is so growing. lol Awesome!
I agree with Sarah on her description of home, very well put.
When my momma was alive it was where ever she was, she was always standing there, open arms and waiting for me when I came home from the military, my new home in Texas. I miss that more than anyone can imagine, because a momma always loves you and if life gives you more than you can handle...God Bless them Momma's always make it better. :)
So I think home changes for us as we grow older, people aren't there so that home is gone from the physical world but it is the one that shapes us for the rest of our lives you know.Then the new homes we make shape our children and so forth.
As to the subject of polar bears, adore them and wouldn't it be the coolest just to spend the day with one and have it wrap those strong arms around us (in comfort not to eat us or anything :))at the end of the day while you gazed at the aurua bori alas lights! (sorry if I mispelled that).
Best Wishes and Big Congrats Sarah!

Posted by: Blogger Chris J. at 10/06/2009 2:20 PM

Home is complicated and strange to me. I lived in the same house from birth until I left for college: in some ways, that house, where my parents still live, will always be home. But over the years I've lived in a few states, several cities within those states, and then got happily married. To some degree, as long as my wife and I are together, we're home. Yet now that I've moved back to the city where I grew up, I find that family ties also mean home. So do the familiar places, changed as they have been over time. For me, home is a moving target, with many facets. Surely I will see even more to it in future years.

Posted by: Blogger Ken at 10/06/2009 2:27 PM

What a great post!

I'm a packrat, too, and I agree, one's mementos of the past can be strongly tied to memories! Which is something half my family doesn't understand -- it sometimes seems to me that they love nothing better than throwing things away.

And I get strongly attached to places, too. It's an amazing experience to wander around somewhere I used to live and see everything -- so different, so much the same. So many memories.


Posted by: Blogger Cara King at 10/06/2009 2:57 PM

What a terrific and poignant posting! I agree with Sarah's definition of home, although for me those roles---so and so's sister, daughter, the quiet girl with the glasses who never went to parties---were also something to get away from at times. When you're young, you want a chance to define yourself away from the home you've grown up knowing; when you're older, it's a comfort to go back and see the people and things that defined you once.
Ice sounds like a terrific read, although I'm a little scared to read it with the Minnesota winter coming on. Brr!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 10/06/2009 3:23 PM

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one with packrat-itis. I just can't throw things away. It's like it physically hursts me. I'm cringing just thinking about it. lol


Posted by: Blogger Asylumgirl at 10/06/2009 5:58 PM

Another book that sounds terrific, and another awesome sounding author!

Posted by: Blogger Rhia Raye at 10/06/2009 6:40 PM

Sarah 's description of home is right on target to me .I cant wait to read this book it sounds great

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 10/06/2009 6:57 PM

sarah gave a perfect description of home .The book sounds awesome I cant wait to read it

Posted by: Blogger wanda f at 10/06/2009 6:58 PM

I enjoyed the post - and though I moved away from my home in California, that is still the home of my heart, where my family and friends are. My home here in Florida has all my "things," including my books - they keep me company while I'm far away from everyone important.

Posted by: Blogger Barbara E. at 10/06/2009 8:12 PM

Enjoyed the description, sounds good!

Posted by: Blogger tetewa at 10/06/2009 8:31 PM

I can't *wait* to read "Ice"! I love Sarah's other books and have been on the edge of my seat waiting for the next :-)

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/06/2009 9:10 PM

Hold on...Houston, we have a problem! My home doesn't have any fudge, let alone raspberry chocolate fudge!! Where's my fudge? :(

Happy belated book birthday Sarah! Ice sounds really interesting!

Posted by: Blogger Pissenlit at 10/07/2009 3:44 PM

Oops, sorry, I totally forgot to mention "Don't include me in the giveaway"

Posted by: Blogger Pissenlit at 10/07/2009 3:49 PM

I've been dying for this book! Hope I win! Loved the description of home, wanting some that fudge now though, lol!

Posted by: Blogger Book~Adorer at 10/07/2009 10:42 PM

I have a friend who loves East of the Sun, West of the Moon...I bet she would love this book. :0) I'll have to tell her about it. Even better if I won her a copy. *grin* Then we both could read it.

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Posted by: Blogger Dawn M. at 10/08/2009 1:44 AM

It's books like this, which makes my TBR pile so outrageously high that its olverwhelming...I LOVE IT that way!

Posted by: Blogger Casse AKA Catholic Kittie at 10/08/2009 7:57 AM

I just love the cover of this book. I so want to read this one!

A Blog with Bite!

Posted by: Blogger Froggy at 10/08/2009 11:54 AM

I loved how Sarah wrote about home. Makes me sure I would love her fiction too. I will plan to read this when I can.

Posted by: Blogger Sheila Deeth at 10/08/2009 3:49 PM

i've been waiting to read this book for forever. it sounds t-errific :D


Posted by: Anonymous meredith goodall at 10/08/2009 4:20 PM

The book sounds beautiful & so original - hard to find these days.
Can't wait to read it.

PS Also grew up in RI and know all about the polar bears from Roger Williams Zoo :-)

Posted by: Blogger Karen at 10/08/2009 9:23 PM

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Ice sounds phenomenal! I really enjoyed the interview, and think Sarah has such a gift with words, and eliciting feeling. And I am an animal lover, too. Polar Bears are magnificent, (and how tragic and unfair their suffering due to global warming ...)
Anyway ...
Dorothy was right LOL there is no place like home, it's something you carry with you and try to recreate, to re-experience, and to keep safe within your heart.

Please enter me to win this and thanks so much for the chance to enjoy Sarah's book.

Posted by: Blogger M.A.D. at 10/09/2009 1:08 AM

This book looks great!

faked_sugartone at hotmail

Posted by: Blogger Diana Dang at 10/09/2009 2:29 PM

I love that Ice is a novelization of one of my favorite fairy tales. (east of the sun, west of the moon, to be exact). I look forward to reading this and loved the author's blog about its origins. Thanks so much for this fun idea Jeri and thanks for the opportunity to win free books. Kudos to you all!
Liz E

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 10/09/2009 5:47 PM

welcome to Blogtoberfest Sarah! Ice does sound uniquely different. Congrats! Thanks for sharing & best wishes..

Debbie G in NY

Posted by: Blogger WriterWannaB_NY at 10/10/2009 1:39 AM

Not to bring up further trauma, but what did the cardboard box and construction paper amount to as a Halloween costume?

Speaking of cover flats, the cover of Ice is gorgeous! And raspberry fudge sounds like the kind of detail that would make any home one you'd want to go back to. :)

Posted by: Blogger alanajoli at 10/10/2009 5:50 PM

Sarah's WILD series was so amazing and inventive that I keep those two books on my favorite book shelf. I am eager to read ICE. Can't wait to get a copy!

Thanks for a wonderful post!!

Posted by: Blogger Linda Joy Singleton at 10/11/2009 11:01 AM

I can't wait to read ICE. Great post!

Posted by: Blogger claritysheen at 10/13/2009 11:53 AM

The winner of Sarah Beth Durst's ICE is Casse AKA Catholic Kittie! Casse, please send your mailing address to me at jeri AT jerismithready DOT com.

Thanks to everyone who commented!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 10/14/2009 8:12 AM


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