I am so excited to welcome Author Sarah Beth Durst back to the blog on CHASING POWER‘s release date, with a Q&A in which I ask her a number of questions about her new (and awesome) book. I absolutely loved CHASING POWER – its characters, the story, the writing – and I am thrilled that it is releasing today and that everyone will get the chance to read it and meet Kayla, Daniel and Selena and embark upon an exciting quest.
If you’d like to take a peek inside, the author has an excerpt on her website. The link is included just below the book’s description.
And, if you’d like the chance to win a copy of CHASING POWER, I am offering up a copy for giveaway. The Rafflecopter follows at the end of the post.
I can’t thank Sarah Beth Durst enough for allowing me to ask so many questions and for answering them all. If you’d like to hear about CHASING POWER’s characters and their abilities, why quests are so appealing to write about, and more, be sure to check out the interview which follows below the book’s description.
Title: CHASING POWER
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Release date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind-things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers-and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both.
When she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel-a boy with the ability to teleport-he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family-and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.
To read an EXCERPT on the author’s website, CLICK HERE.
Q. The main characters in CHASING POWER have two very interesting abilities – telekinesis and teleportation. What are some of the benefits and drawbacks for Kayla and Daniel in having these powers? Have they been more harmful or helpful to them?
Benefits: the awesomeness. Move things with your mind? Travel anywhere in the world in mere seconds without any airline fees? Yes, and yes.
Drawbacks: the danger. Any time anyone has an unusual power, it opens them up to being exploited by others. Remember “Escape to Witch Mountain”? (And if you don’t, go watch. Just try not to be too critical of the special effects.)
Q. Are there any other characters with abilities in the story? And if so, could you give us a tease as to what we might expect?
Yes. Kayla’s mother Moonbeam projects a very flighty kind of image. But all the cheesy amulets and charms are the perfect disguise for the bits of magic that really work. She’s cultivated this image quite deliberately, to hide from Kayla’s father.
Q. Your characters in CHASING POWER embark upon a quest. This is not the first story you’ve written in which you send your characters on a mission. What is it about a quest that holds an appeal for you as a writer?
I love quests! Always have. For me, reading a book always feels like going on a journey, and a quest deliberately mirrors that. Plus quests are fun. And I think books should be fun.*
(* Not all books, of course. People read for lots of different reasons, and books exist to fill lots of different needs. But I think one of those reasons and one of those needs is to have fun and to escape whatever in life is hurting you, at least for a little while.)
Q. The description for CHASING POWER reveals three things that define Kayla’s life – “lies, secrets, and magic.” Can you give us a hint as to what some of those are or how and why they do?
Kayla’s life is built on all three things. She’s living with her mother under false identities, hiding from her father. They fled from him after he killed Kayla’s older sister. Lies, secrets, and magic are what keeps her safe — and what puts her in danger.
I know, I know, I’m being cryptic, but I don’t want to give away spoilers. 🙂
Q. For those who have not yet met Kayla and Daniel, could you tell us a little bit more about each of them?
Kayla has telekinesis (the ability to move things with her mind) and a very loose grasp on the concept of personal property. In other words, she’s a thief and very good at it.
Daniel can travel instantly anywhere in the world that he’s seen. He keeps photos all over the wall of his bedroom of all the places he’s been and all the places he wants to go. We meet him when he tries to blackmail Kayla into helping him save his kidnapped mother. (He doesn’t trust that she’ll help him out of the goodness of her heart.)
Q. What was your most challenging scene to write in CHASING POWER and what about it presented a challenge?
The most challenging scene was the climax because I wanted it to feel just right. Revising it required spreading the pages out over the carpet and drawing huge arrows over all the pages…
Q. The worlds you create in your stories are rich with detail and incredibly imaginative, and CHASING POWER is no different. How did you develop it? Was it something that you added to as you wrote or did you have it built from the outset?
Thanks! I try to imagine my worlds before I begin writing, but it’s through the act of writing that I really discover them. I tend to write a lot of drafts, and in each draft, I develop more details.
I think of it as looking into a room — first, you’re looking through a peephole. Next, you’re looking through a window. Then the door is open, and you’re peering inside. And then, in the final draft, you’re in the room and part of the story, inside the world.
Q. I imagine there was a bit of research involved in writing this story. What was the most interesting thing you learned from your research? And were there any challenges that came up due to limitations of the characters’ abilities?
I love research! Great excuse to read more about catacombs beneath European churches and the tombs of the Chachapoyas in Peru — I’d been wanting to use those tombs for a while now, ever since I ran across a National Geographic article about the People of the Clouds and saw pictures of tombs carved impossibly high into cliffs.
As far as challenges… I tried to be very, very clear and careful to lay out limitations to Kayla and Daniel’s powers. Kayla can only lift very light objects, and Daniel can only travel to places he’s seen before or can see in the distance. I’ve found that setting limitations on magic can paradoxically be tremendously freeing, because it’s the limitations that give rise to possibilities for the plot.
Q. If you could have either Kayla or Daniel’s ability, which one would you like to have, and why?
Practically speaking, I should choose Daniel’s ability, if only to save on airfare, but Kayla’s power is so very fun…
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?
Writing. Seriously, writing makes me happy. It’s fun. Usually. Sometimes. Okay, maybe not always “fun,” but it’s GOOD. It feels right. Even when it’s going poorly (which happens), it makes the world feel more balanced. It’s both how I define and understand myself and the world.
Other benefits: it’s a great excuse for people-watching, researching anything, and reading everything. And if you write at home, there’s easy access to the refrigerator.
Thanks so much for interviewing me!
Sarah Beth Durst is the author of eight fantasy novels for teens and adults. Her YA titles include Conjured, Vessel, Drink Slay Love, Enchanted Ivy, Ice, Out of the Wild, and Into the Wild. Her first book for adults, The Lost, came out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira, and her next book for teens, Chasing Power, comes out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury. 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 was born in Northboro, Massachusetts, a small town 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 and two children.
A hardcover copy of CHASING POWER to ONE WINNER
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…