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I Belong

Author Interview: The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth DurstPlease welcome author Sarah Beth Durst here today for an interview about her newest novel, The Lost. I was really excited to get the opportunity to interview her about her first book for adults. The Lost is the beginning of a trilogy that is sure to be an emotional and exciting ride. This novel was released on May 20, 2014 from Harlequin/Mira. Want to know our thoughts on this book? Read my review here.

About Sarah:

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, 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, her two children, and her ill-mannered cat.

You can visit Sarah around the web here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Want to read more from Sarah Beth Durst?

IceDrink, Slay, LoveEnchanted IvyVesselInto The WildOut of the WildConjuredThe LostThe MissingChasing Power


DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about The Lost?

Sarah: Lauren feels empty.  She’s in a dead-end job, her mother is sick, and nothing in her life has turned out the way she thought it would.  So one day, she gets in her car to drive to work, and instead of going left at the light, she drives straight.  And keeps driving and driving until she reaches a town in the middle of the desert called Lost.  Lost is surrounded by an impassable wall of dust, and it’s impossible to leave without the help of a man known as the Missing Man.  But he takes one look at Lauren and (inexplicably) flees.  So she’s trapped in a town full of only lost things and lost people, and she needs to find a way out…

DFT: Can you tell us more about the mysterious and beautiful Peter?

Sarah: Her first morning in Lost, Lauren tries to leave by driving through the dust cloud that surrounds the town.  And she ends up right back where she started, by the welcome sign.  She tries again — same thing.  And again.  Until her car runs out of gas inside the dust.  A man who quotes poetry and makes about as much sense as the Cheshire Cat pushes her car out of the dust and back into town.  She doesn’t expect to care about him, and he certainly doesn’t expect to care about her.  He’s the Finder, and he’s seen thousands of lost souls come and go.  But he is, at heart, a romantic, and he can’t help but hope that maybe this time, he’s found someone who won’t leave.

As to more than that… well, there’s a reason this is a trilogy.  :)

DFT: Are Peter’s tattoo’s symbolic of his position as the Finder? If so, do we learn more about them? Or are they just tattoos?( I’m curious since he runs around in a leather trench coat with no shirt a lot.)

Sarah: I’d love to say the answer is deep and mysterious, and that the black feather tattoos symbolize something grand and vast… but honestly, I just thought they looked cool.  That’s how I pictured him when he walked out of the dust in my imagination.

Writing this book was very much an act of discovery.  Claire, for instance, wasn’t in my original outline at all, but when I reached that scene, suddenly there she was, a six year old girl in a princess dress, holding a teddy bear and a very sharp knife.

DFT: Who was your favorite “lost” character in The Lost? (I was quite a fan of Claire! But Tiffany’s gallows humor almost stole the show.)

Sarah: I have to say Claire.  Maybe purely for this scene:

The girl switches direction, pulling me into the alley between the barber shop and a decrepit triple-decker house.  She still doesnt speak.

I dont know why Im trusting her.  “Are you helping me, or dragging me someplace private to cut me to pieces and feed me to your teddy bear?  Just curious.”

The girl looks at me with her wide eyes.  “My name is Claire.  And my teddy bear is not hungry today.”

DFT: What was your inspiration for the mysterious town of Lost?

Sarah: Early on, I had an image of the town with a single red balloon always floating overhead…  And that balloon led to a list of all the things that could be lost — everything from paperclips to children.  The town was born from that list.

DFT: What is your favorite part about writing The Lost?

Sarah: I fell in love with the town.  Lost was so much fun to create.  As I said, it’s full of only lost things.  So that means there are tons of keys, shoes, wallets, pens…  You have to scavenge and barter for everything you need.  I loved thinking up all the details — what it would be like to live there, who would come there, how they’d change…

DFT: Can you hint at what is next for Lauren in The Missing?

Sarah: I’m not sure I can think of anything that wouldn’t be a spoiler.  :)  I can say that we’ll learn a lot more about the Missing Man and about Lauren’s destiny…  There’s also a city known as Despair, which is not exactly full of sunshine.

DFT: What can you tell us about any other projects you are working on?

Sarah: THE LOST is the first book in a trilogy, but I am also working on a standalone YA novel.  It’s called CHASING POWER, and it will be coming out from Bloomsbury in October.  It’s an Indiana Jones / Jumper kind of adventure about a girl with telekinesis and a boy who can teleport.

DFT: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

Sarah: Thanks so much for interviewing me!


The Lost

Available May 20, 2014 from Harlequin/Mira

About this Book:

Lost your way?

Your dreams?


Welcome to Lost.

It was supposed to be a small escape. A few hours driving before turning around and heading home. But once you arrive in Lost…well, it’s a place you really can’t leave. Not until you’re Found. Only the Missing Man can send you home. And he took one look at Lauren Chase and disappeared.

So Lauren is now trapped in the town where all lost things go-luggage, keys, dreams, lives-where nothing is permanent, where the locals go feral and where the only people who don’t want to kill her are a handsome wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl. The only road out of town is engulfed by an impassable dust storm, and escape is impossible….

Until Lauren decides nothing-and no one-is going to keep her here anymore.

Click HERE to read an excerpt

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