Sarah Beth Durst cranks out books at such a quick rate it blows my mind. I was lucky to feature her Queen of Renthia series and her Middle Grade book, The Girl Who Could Not Dream. Her newest novel, THE BONE MAKER, came out on March 9, 2021:
Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor—a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived.
Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband. But such a task requires both a cache of human bones and a sacrifice—for each day he lives, she will live one less.
She’d rather live one year with her husband than a hundred without him, but using human bones for magic is illegal in Vos. The dead are burned—as are any bone workers who violate the law. Yet Kreya knows where she can find the bones she needs: the battlefield where her husband and countless others lost their lives.
But defying the laws of the land exposes a terrible possibility. Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all.
Five warriors—one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should be dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”
In our last interview, you said, “I always fall in love with my characters, whether I intend to or not, and I end up feeling what they’re feeling.” Which of your characters would you want to spend the most time with and why?
All of them! Okay, not Eklor. He’s the corrupt magician who raised an inhuman army made of animated bones. Not the ideal guy to share a pizza with. But my heroes — Kreya (the prickly leader), Jentt (the man she loves who also happens to be dead), Zera (the overdramatic bone wizard), Stran (the warrior-turned-farmer), and Marso (the bone reader who broke his own brain) — I’d happily spend a day with them!
At the heart of THE BONE MAKER is the bond between these aging heroes. I loved spending time with them while I wrote their story, and I was sad when I finished the book — I know, I know, I’m supposed to feel all celebratory when I finish, but I always find it difficult to say goodbye to characters who have been living in my head.
Very excited, though, that now readers can meet my Heroes of Vos!
They all sound wonderful! I also love that they are older than the more youthful characters usually seen in other fantasy books. In what ways do you feel this adds depth their stories?
I’ve always wondered about what happens after — after the heroes win the war, defeat the great evil, and ride off into the sunset. Evil doesn’t stop just because someone says “the end.” THE BONE MAKER is about what happens when these former heroes are called on to save the world again, while they bear the wounds and the scars, inside and out, of all that came before.
I love to write about different ways to interpret the word “hero” and different ways for a character to be strong. And with THE BONE MAKER, I got to explore what it’s like for heroes who believe their story ended long ago — and then discover they’re not done. Far from it.
Far from it indeed. You also have a Middle Grade book, EVEN AND ODD, coming out in June. I love your worldbuilding–how did you find the textures this story demanded?
Thanks! I adore worldbuilding! EVEN AND ODD is about two sisters who share magic on alternating days. One of my goals as I wrote it was to squeeze in as much magic as I possibly could. So my technique was to ask myself on every single page, “Is this awesome enough, or can I turn it up to eleven?” The idea was to capture the pure joy of a magical adventure.
Love it! What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
Writing more books! Of course I also wish that everything gets better for everyone, but that’s outside of anyone’s control. What I can control is how much I write, and I intend to write a lot!
For Sarah Beth Durst’s other books, go to http://www.sarahbethdurst.com/books.htm