Sarah Beth Durst
Sarah Beth Durst was a guest speaker last year at the Fantasy Fiction Workshop at Girls Write Now, the organization I volunteer for. (Girls Write Now is a mentoring organization, where adult professional writers meet weekly with high school girls who want to be writers. Once a month, everyone gets together for a writing workshop in a particular genre.) She was so charming and wonderful that I spent the next week reading all of her books. At the workshop, one of the girls asked her how she decides what she wants to write about and whether she would avoid writing about a certain topic because it seemed like everyone else was writing about it.
Sarah Beth Durst answered that the next book she had coming out was a vampire novel, and that when the idea for the story came to her she had gone through that very thought process, wondering if she should hold back from writing about vampires since it seemed like everyone was writing about vampires these days. But she decided that it didn't matter. She stuck with the story that she wanted to write, and now Drink, Slay, Love is coming out on September 13.
I was so happy to hear Sarah Beth Durst respond the way she did because media trend chatter is a pet peeve of mine. Yes, Twilight was very successful and that led to a number of publishers trying to put out vampire novels to cash in on the popularity of the series. Yes, The Hunger Games was very successful and that led to publishers putting out dystopian novels to cash in on the popularity of the series. But vampire and dystopian stories have been written and published long before these books came out and will no doubt continue to be written, even if there are no articles insisting that vampire stories are so "in." Talk of market trends in fiction only leads to poor authors like Sarah Beth Durst wondering if she will be able to get her novel published because vampires are now considered passe.
It doesn't matter whether a YA book is about the trendy new magical creature (although I hear banshees are very hot for fall and am working on a pitch: she's a banshee who really wants a boyfriend, but because she's a harbinger of death, all the boys she meet seem to die! Will the banshee ever meet a nice guy?). What's important is whether people fall in love with it when they read it. So bravo, Sarah Beth Durst, for writing a vampire book because that was the story you wanted to write. I can't wait to fall in love with it.