Dusty Crabtree has been a high school English teacher at Yukon High School in Oklahoma since 2006, a challenge she thoroughly enjoys. She is also a youth sponsor at Cherokee Hills Christian Church in Oklahoma City and feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis. Her passion for teens has poured into her writing as well. She is the author of the young adult urban fantasy, Shadow Eyes, through Musa Publishing, which she wrote in order to give teens an intriguing and provocative book series that promotes moral messages. She lives with her husband, Clayton, in Yukon, Oklahoma, where they often serve their community as foster parents.
If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Becca Fitzpatrick, author of the Hush Hush series! I love her writing style! Her words flow so smoothly, and her plots transition seamlessly from one scene to the next. As I was writing my first novel, Shadow Eyes, she was the one I read while thinking to myself, “Man, I want to write like that.” Without her knowing it, I think she made me a better writer.
What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
Well, I’m actually a high school English teacher by day, but I doubt you want to hear about that as it has nothing to do with writing, except that I sometimes gain some interesting fuel for my young adult books. Since school takes up so much of my time, I try to write late in the evening before bed, on the weekends, or on school breaks…basically whenever I can find some free time. Summer is my main time to write. As far as where, I love to write on my couch or sitting at my table on my laptop. But if something comes to me while I’m out, I always have my notes app on my phone.
What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
I think trying to write the beginnings of chapters is the hardest part or when I first sit down to write after a long break. Once I get the flow going, it’s much easier, but that first initial writer’s block is sometimes hard to get through.
When and why did you first start writing?
I didn’t start writing until May of 2010 when I started working on Shadow Eyes. I had never tried to tackle writing anything before my friend suggested I write a book. I told her she was crazy, but once the seed was planted and I started, I couldn’t stop. I loved writing and couldn’t wait every day to go home from my teaching job to write some more.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
It originally came to me as an idea for a screenplay for what can only be described as a Christian horror movie. It would have had several interwoven characters who would unknowingly be harassed and influenced by creepy evil shadows. When my friend convinced me I should write a book, I immediately thought of my screenplay idea. A few days later the visual of what is now my prologue just came to me one morning, so I took both ideas and worked them around in my head until I came up with a teenage, female protagonist who could see the shadows while nobody else could…or so she thinks…
Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I love reading, especially young adult books! I don’t think I’d be a good author or English teacher if I didn’t. Because of being so busy, though, I don’t get to read nearly as much as I would like. Right now, I’m reading the last of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate! After that it will be The Mark of Athena, the latest Lost Hero book by Rick Riordan!
Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
Find a subject or idea for a story that you are truly passionate about and write a detailed outline with a killer ending. If you do, you’ll be far less likely to drop out or give up in the middle of the writing process. Also, write short stories and other small works now for practice and enter them in contests or try to get them published. When you get to the point of looking for an agent or publisher for your first novel, you’ll have more luck if you can include some writing credentials in your query letter.
Iris Kohl lives in a world populated by murky shadows that surround, harass, and entice unsuspecting individuals toward evil. But she is the only one who can see them. She’s had this ability to see the shadows, as well as brilliantly glowing light figures, ever since an obscure, tragic incident on her fourteenth birthday three years earlier.
Although she’s learned to cope, the view of her world begins to shift upon the arrival of three mysterious characters. First, a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows; second, a new friend with an awe-inspiring aura; and third, a mysterious and alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend.
As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, she must ultimately revisit the most horrific event of her life in order to learn her true identity and become the hero she was meant to be.
Check out Dusty’s blog at http://dustycrabtree.wordpress.com/
Find her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dusty.crabtree.1
Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/dustycrabtree
Shadow Eyes is available for purchase at http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=176
(also available at all major online bookstores)
View the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UP9A0Fm78