Sarah Beth Durst is here today to talk about her latest novel The Lost and answer some questions about it. The Lost hits shelves today so be sure to stop by a bookstore or a your local library to pick up a copy of this story that explores what happens to lost things. And lost people.
Miss Print (MP): What was the inspiration for The Lost?
Sarah Beth Durst (SBD): I had the idea while I was waiting at a traffic light. My blinker was on to turn left, and I remember thinking, “What if I went straight? Just drove straight and didn’t stop?”
That’s what Lauren does. Instead of going to work and waiting to hear the results of her mother’s latest medical test, she just drives straight. And drives and drives until she runs out of gas in Lost, a town full of only lost things and lost people.
MP: The Lost is your first book written with an adult audience in mind (as opposed to YA) with a 27-year-old heroine. Did you always know that Lauren would be an older character? When you conceived of this story did you always know it would be adult?
SBD: Yes, I knew from the beginning. I needed my protagonist to be old enough to have seen her dreams wither. I wanted her to feel empty and lost — and for that, I felt she had to be an adult.
MP: The Lost is also part of your first trilogy. Did you always know this book would be the first of three? Did you have a set arc in mind for Lauren throughout the series when you started?
SBD:I’d originally envisioned it as a standalone, but very early on in the process (before I even wrote the first draft), my editor and I realized that there’s more story to tell and more world to explore. Now, I can’t imagine it ever being just one book.
I did have an arc in mind for the entire trilogy, but the story changed significantly once I started writing. I love working like that: have a map but be willing to veer off it if a better road pops up.
MP: Working off the last question, has writing The Lost as part of a trilogy changed your writing process?
SBD: From here on in, I’m going to always keep a list of character details, like eye color and names of friends/parents/etc. With one book, it’s possible to hold all the details in your head at the same time. Three books… definitely trickier.
MP: Despite being an imagined place, Lost feels very real. Did any actual locations or experiences inspire your vision of Lost?
SBD:No particular place. But I pictured it very clearly, and it feels very real to me.
One of the most wonderful things about writing a trilogy was that I got to be in Lauren’s world for three whole books. I really fell in love with that quirky, creepy town.
MP: What are some things you would hope to find in Lost?
SBD:I’d love to find some lost masterpieces, like the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum.
MP: What are some things you would bring to Lost if you knew you were heading that way?
SBD: The key thing with Lost isn’t that it’s full of lost things… It’s that it’s ONLY full of lost things. So the stuff that people need, use, and treasure is rare. You have to make do with half-eaten sandwiches, stray potato chips, and a lot of socks.
If I were heading to Lost, I wouldn’t worry about bringing books like I usually do (because there are always tons of lost library books in Lost). I would, though, bring my own toothbrush, clean underwear, and fresh batteries. (You can always barter working batteries for food.)
MP: Lauren has a white streak in her hair while she debates the best color choice. What color would you dye your hair?
SBD: Deep purple. But I’m afraid that with all my ridiculous curls, I’d look like a clown. Maybe someday…
MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project or what to expect in The Found?
SBD: Lauren’s adventures will continue in THE MISSING in December and then THE FOUND in April. You can expect to learn a lot more about the Missing Man, the void, and what else is out there, hidden in the dust…
Before that, in October, my next YA novel will be out. It’s called CHASING POWER, and it’s about a girl with telekinesis and a boy who can teleport (and who lies as easily as he travels).
Thanks so much for interviewing me!
Thanks to Sarah for taking the time to answer my questions!