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Sarah Beth Durst | Sisterhood, Grief, and the Corrosive Nature of Lies


The Lies Among Us
Sarah Beth Durst

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April 2024
On Sale: April 1, 2024
ISBN: 1662514727
EAN: 9781662514722
Kindle: B0BZT7LTJ7
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Sarah Beth Durst:
The Spellshop, July 2024
Add to review list
The Lies Among Us, April 2024
The Bone Maker, March 2021
Race the Sands, May 2020

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1--What is the title of your latest release?

THE LIES AMONG US

 

2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?

It's about sisterhood, grief, and the corrosive nature of lies, as seen through the eyes of a woman who does not exist.

 

3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

I live in Long Island, and I'm fascinated by how multifaceted it is, with the congestion and crowds the closer you come to NYC and the expanse of beaches, orchards, and vineyards as you head farther east, and then suburbia in the middle, with towns that bleed into other towns, no distinction between them. It felt like the right place for Hannah, a woman who is, for the first time, exploring her place in the world.

 

4--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?

It would be exceedingly difficult -- no one can see, hear, or touch her.

 

5--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

Loving, innocent, nonexistent.

 

6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?

I learned to trust myself more. This book was a new direction for me -- it's filled with themes and emotions that I hadn't yet explored in fiction. Plus it's a very different kind of story than others I'd written, both stylistically and structurally, and I had to trust that if I just kept moving forward, it would coalesce.

 

7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

The Lies Among Us is my 26th book, and my writing process has evolved over the years. I used to write the entire novel first, no stopping and no revising, and then I'd begin anew, typing every word fresh. Now, I tend to edit as I draft -- writing a few chapters, then looping back to revise before pushing forward again. I love the revision process. For me, it's where the story truly comes to life.

 

8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

Cheese! I am a huge fan of cheese (except not blue cheese or feta, but all other kinds of cheese: Havarti, Manchego, Gouda, brie, extra-sharp cheddar...). I also love chocolate. And raspberries. Cheese, chocolate, and raspberries sounds like an ideal meal to me!

 

9--Describe your writing space/office!

I love my writing space. It buds off our living room and has sliding glass doors so that I can be a part of my family's daily life while still writing. My desk faces a bookshelf that's stuffed (two and three layers deep) with all the books I admire and adore. There's an additional shelf to my right and to my left, as well as more books shoved under my desk.

 

10--Who is an author you admire?

Kingfisher (pen name of Ursula Vernon). She writes quirky, heartfelt novels that are charming, unsettling, and unforgettable.

 

11--Is there a book that changed your life?

Alanna by Tamora Pierce. I read that book when I was ten years old, shortly after I had decided I wanted to become a writer (but had no idea how an ordinary person became a writer -- for all I knew, they sprang fully formed out of the earth like Athena out of Zeus's head). I remember reading Alanna, which is about a girl who wants to become a knight in a medieval-esque land where only men are knights, and thinking, "If Alanna can become a knight, then I can become a writer."

 

12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.

You pour your heart and soul into a project, and then to find out that you get to share all of that with readers... it's a tremendous feeling! When my agent emailed to tell me that Lake Union wanted to publish The Lies Among Us -- this book that was so vastly different in scope and style than my other books, that I'd poured so much blood/sweat/tears into -- I was so happy that I cried. Even after 25+ books, that moment still feels like every bell in the world has started to ring at once!

 

13--What’s your favorite genre to read?

I have always loved fantasy, which is why, when I decided to write book club fiction, I knew I wanted to use speculative elements to tell Hannah's story.

All writing is really about exploring the truth of the human condition. Using fantastical elements allows you to explore those truths in an extreme way.

 

14--What’s your favorite movie?

Star Wars (episode 4), also The Princess Bride, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.

 

15--What is your favorite season?

Spring. I love the aggressive optimism of spring. Yes, it's pretty with all the flowers and the birds, and I love all of that, but there's also a fierce hopefulness to the way life fights to burst through the soil and thrive in the sun.

 

16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

With Carvel ice cream cake! It's been a tradition on my birthday for years. Every birthday, my husband gets me a Carvel cake, with the layer of vanilla, chocolate, and the chocolate crunchies.

 

17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

I highly recommend The Queen's Gambit, if you haven't seen it yet. Such a brilliantly crafted show. I really admire the elegance of the storytelling -- it was riveting.

 

18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

Italian. I love risotto and penne alla vodka especially. And pizza. I could eat pizza for every meal and be perfectly happy. (Especially if I could have chocolate and raspberries for dessert... And perhaps a wedge of cheese for a snack...)

 

19--What do you do when you have free time?

Whenever I'm not writing, I am spending time with my family. And vice versa. I don't have much work-life balance, and I'm fine with that. My writing is woven into my daily life.

 

20--What can readers expect from you next?

I have three novels out this year, beginning with The Lies Among Us. All three are extremely different from one another. Next up is Spy Ring, a middle-grade novel (for ages 8-12) about two kids on a treasure-hunt adventure left by George Washington's first female spy -- it weaves a contemporary story with historical fact (coming May 21 from HarperCollins / Clarion Books).

After that, my next book is The Spellshop (coming July 9 from Macmillan / Bramble). It's a cozy fantasy about a rogue librarian and her assistant, a talking spider plant, who take on the low-stakes market of illegal spell-making and the high-risk business of starting over.

My next book club fiction book will come out from Lake Union in 2025. It's called The Willow and the Warbler, and it's about a woman who cannot stay who comes to a town she cannot leave.

I'm so excited to share all of them with readers!

THE LIES AMONG US by Sarah Beth Durst

The Lies Among Us

From the award-winning author of The Bone Maker and The Lake House comes a haunting novel about sisterhood and grief, where difficult truths must contend with the corrosive power of unchecked lies.

After her mother dies, Hannah doesn’t know how to exist without her. Literally. In fact, Hannah’s not even certain that she does exist. No one seems to see or hear her, and she finds herself utterly alone. Grief-stricken and confused, her sense of self slowly slipping away, Hannah sets out to find new purpose in life—and answers about who (and what) she really is.

Hannah’s only remaining family is her older sister, Leah. Yet even Leah doesn’t seem to notice her. And while Hannah can see and hear her sister, she also sees beautiful and terrible things that don’t—or shouldn’t—exist. She learns there’s much more to this world than meets the eye and struggles to make sense of it all.

When Hannah sees Leah taking the same dangerous path that consumed their own mother—where lies supplant reality—she’s desperate to get through to her. But facing difficult truths is harder than it looks…

 

Fantasy Magical Realism | Suspense Psychological [Lake Union Publishing, On Sale: April 1, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781662514722 / ]

Buy THE LIES AMONG USAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst

Sarah Beth Durst (born Sarah Beth Angelini) grew up in Northboro, MA, a town in central Massachusetts which (she claims) was temporarily transformed into a fairy tale kingdom for several days in 1986. These events later inspired her novels, Into the Wild and Out of the Wild, as well as her paralyzing fear of glass footwear. At age 10, she decided she wanted to become a writer. Her first story was a cross between the Wizard of Oz and G.I. Joe. With lions. She wrote a lot more after that without lions, including a stageplay for her senior thesis at Princeton University. Not a single lion in that. But there were dragons. Yes, in a stageplay. She then spent a year living and writing in Cambridge, England, until the walls of her flat molded from all the rain and she decided to move back to the Northeast. Sarah currently lives in Stony Brook, NY, with her husband, their daughter, and their cat Perni, whose name was Copernicus until they discovered that he was a girl cat.

Queens of Renthia

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