Author Interview (#2): Sarah Beth Durst on Drink, Slay, Love

Sarah Beth Durst author photoBack in May, I was lucky enough to interview Sarah Beth Durst about her book Enchanted Ivy. At the end of that interview she mentioned that her next project involved a vampire who was stabbed by a unicorn. I was, of course, intrigued.

Now that Drink, Slay, Love is officially out in the world, Sarah is back to talk with me once again about her unique take on vampires (and unicorns!). If you want more preliminary information about Sarah and her writing, you can also check out our earlier interview.

Miss Print (MP): In a fun post on your blog you talk a bit about the inspiration for Drink, Slay, Love coming from your love of both unicorns and vampires. What drew you to those two creatures? What is the appeal, for you, of vampires and unicorns?

Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): I think my love of unicorns can be traced to elementary school.  In my school, unicorns were considered the crowning jewel of any girl’s sticker collection.  As to vampires…  I blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was pretty much the best show on television ever.

MP: There is a long history of tales about vampires or unicorns. How did you decide what aspects of vampire or unicorn lore to keep and what to reimagine for your story?

SBD: I liked how opposite the vampire and the unicorn are.  One, a sexy and bloodthirsty creature of the night.  And the other… much more apt to eat marshmallows and poop rainbows.  So I wanted to strengthen that dichotomy by going with the darker, more evil and less brooding version of the vampire.  And for the unicorn, I decided that their fluffy and happy reputation is mere propaganda spread by the unicorns themselves to disguise their true purpose as vampire hunters.

MP: Drink, Slay, Love is one of the catchiest titles I’ve heard for a book this year. How did you come up with the title? Did you find this title before or after the novel was written?

SBD: Drink, Slay, Love had many, many, many titles.  All the credit for the final title goes to my husband, who thought of it in this epiphany-like moment where I expected a cartoon lightbulb to appear over his head.

MP: I really enjoyed that the heroine of Drink, Slay, Love is named Pearl because it seems like such an unlikely name for a vampire. How did you know Pearl was the right name for your vampire protagonist?

SBD: I knew Pearl’s name before I even knew her story.  It just felt so wrong that I knew it was right.  The name “Pearl” implies such innocence and purity, and my Pearl is… well, evil.

MP: Being a vampire and a natural predator, Pearl isn’t always the most sympathetic heroine. What was it like writing about a character who starts the book as kind of scary and not nice?

SBD: I loved writing Pearl!  Seriously, this was the best writing experience I’ve ever had.  It’s so freeing to write a character that doesn’t suffer any fools.  She’s fierce, fearless, and funny, and I loved hanging out with her.

MP: One of the really fun things about this book is that it has a lot of strong, memorable secondary characters. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to pick an example but I really enjoyed Bethany and Jocelyn (and Matt and Zeke’s banter). This isn’t a fair question for a writer, but did you have a favorite character in the story? Was one more fun to write about than the others?

SBD: I love them all, of course.  *blows air-kisses at characters*  But I have to admit to having a soft spot for Antoinette, Pearl’s vampire cousin who is utterly evil and loves Molly Ringwald 80s movies.

MP: Given the plot of Drink, Slay, Love I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask your opinion on the two great debates of our time: Vampires vs. Werewolves and Zombies vs. Unicorns. Any thoughts?

SBD: Werewolves.  Much more cuddly.

And unicorns.  Much less gooey.

MP: What can you tell us about your next book? Do you have any plans to revisit Pearl and Evan (and Bethany and Matt and Zeke) in a future project?

SBD: I don’t have any immediate plans for a sequel to DRINK, SLAY, LOVE, though I do miss Pearl and Evan, so who knows what the future may bring…  My next book is a standalone YA fantasy called VESSEL.  It’s coming out in fall 2012 from Simon & Schuster, and I’m really excited about it!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

Thanks again to Sarah for taking the time out of her schedule to answer all of my questions.

If you want to know more about Drink, Slay, Love be sure to check out my review.