I am a 9th grade English teacher at Yukon High School in Yukon, Oklahoma. I am also the author of the young adult, urban fantasy, Shadow Eyes, scheduled to be published by Euterpe – Musa Publishing on February 3rd, 2012. When I’m not teaching, writing, or reading, I’m doing my best to be a good wife to my wonderful husband of 8 years and a loving foster mother to two precious children.
--Cited from Dusty's Website
Connect with the author: Author's Website | Goodreads | Facebook
And her debut novel...
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.
Musa Publishing | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Goodreads
An Interview with Dusty Crabtree
CYP: Hi, Dusty! Thanks for coming to the blog today! For starters, can you tell me about yourself, say, in 1 sentence?
Dusty: Hmmm…let’s just list my many titles, shall we? English teacher, wife, foster parent, author, worship team member, drama team member, and youth sponsor…not necessarily in that order.
CYP: Wow, lol, you're really active in the community, aren't you? What do you like to do when you're not being an author?
Dusty: Besides reading, I LOVE movies, probably because they are so similar to books. You can fall in love with them, analyze them, appreciate their artistic qualities, or all of the above. I also love to go out to dinner with my husband, and I play Dance Central on the Kinnect when I have time to exercise. Yes, a teacher dancing… I know.
CYP: I used to love movies too! But now I only watch the occasional action movies or drama serials that my friends recommend. Books are much more enticing, if you know what I mean. :P Haha, has your dream always been to be an author?
Dusty: Surprisingly, no. I never thought I would be an author. I wrote a few things when I was younger, but nothing from high school on until I got the idea for Shadow Eyes. I must have had the writer gene lurking around inside me for a while, though, because it didn’t take long for me to realize my passion for writing.
CYP: What were your previous dreams, then? Which ones came first?
Dusty: At one point I wanted to be an astronaut, then an interior designer, then something in advertising, and then a drama/debate coach. I even toyed with majoring in business communications but soon realized that I was way to nice and non-confrontational to survive (or at least live happily) in the cut-throat business world.
CYP: Lol, talk about diversity! I can see how your aspirations start to be more and more of the practical world as you grew older. But anyway, what was the hardest part in your path to becoming an author?
Dusty: I’d say writing too much was the hardest part. I was always the one who would write 15 pages for a 13-15 page paper or even seven pages for a three-five page paper. I think I’m just naturally wordy. I had to cut quite a bit form the original manuscript before sending it to publishers.
To help me do this, I had friends read it and help me decide what was essential and non-essential, because an outsider’s view is critical for determining that. As the author who knows everything already, I had no idea what was necessary or what could be left out. I also reread it several times and asked myself over and over, “Is this phrase, sentence, paragraph, or even scene, absolutely essential to keep the plot going?”
CYP: I'm naturally wordy too!! My narrative essays in school would usually be approximately 1300 words when the word limit was 500-750! Haha. What did you have to research on to write Shadow Eyes? Is this your area of expertise? Or your interest?
Dusty: I didn’t have to do a whole lot of research for Shadow Eyes because the setting is a typical high school. Since I work in a high school and since teenagers are truly my passion, I already had plenty of experience to draw from for the setting and much of the plot. It was really fun writing from the perspective of a 17-year old girl! The fantastical elements of Shadow Eyes mostly just came from my head, along with some general spiritual elements I was already familiar with.
CYP: What was the inspiration behind Shadow Eyes?
Dusty: The inspiration actually came from a screenplay idea I had a few years prior. The movie would have been about a cast of intertwined characters going about their lives and making mistakes with dark, creepy shadows (demons) hovering around them, whispering to them and influencing them to do evil things. Only the audience would see the shadows, though. The characters would be completely oblivious. It would have been like a Christian horror movie, if there ever was such a genre! However, my friend was really the one who inspired me to write the book as it was her suggestion and encouragement that made me even consider the mammoth task.
CYP: Now that you say it, it really does play out like a screenplay! Haha, I can imagine the lightings and everything! Did you base any of your characters on real life people/experiences? Which ones?
Dusty: The main character, Iris, has a little of my personality, in that she’s a perfectionist, overly organized, and sarcastic. However, I don’t have anxiety issues like her and haven’t been through most of what she goes through in the story. The science teacher Mr. Keller was actually based off of one of my science teachers in high school. He was hilarious! The spelunking scene with him is mostly a true story as well. Not so funny then, but really funny now! A few other small things from my life are thrown in as well. Sometimes it’s just easy to write about what you know. ☺
CYP: Haha, I like sarcasm. That's probably how my friends would describe me as. :P Which was your favourite scene or quote in Shadow Eyes?
Dusty: Oh, goodness, there are so many! Most of which I can’t share because it would give away too much (there’s a lot of mystery in Shadow Eyes). Besides the big reveal near the end with the mirror, one of my other favorite parts would have to be when Iris’s friend Kyra and Patrick meet for the first time in the cafeteria and get into a heated argument. It was so fun to write! I just loved the tension and mystery that was created at the same time. Let me also throw in a couple of my favorite quotes…mostly about Patrick:
CYP: Cool! I like the last one! The shadow's so badass...Haha. Which character did you enjoy writing about the most? And which of them do you love the most?
Dusty: I enjoyed writing Patrick the most because he is just so dang suave, clever, and seductive that you can’t resist him. You know, one of those guys that doesn’t really exist, but every girl would drool at his feet if he did. It was fun writing the banter between him and Iris.
As far as which ones I love the most – besides Iris, I think I love Kyra the most. She’s just such a good person.
CYP: Aw, sweet! I love reading about the love interests in YA or adult fiction novels cause, well, being a romance-junky and all, it is understandable. ^^" What was the toughest part when writing Shadow Eyes? Which character/scene was the hardest to write?
Dusty: The beginning was the hardest! I revised, rearranged, added, and deleted things from that first chapter more times than I can even remember. For one thing, it was the first piece of writing I’d written in a long time, so it was very rough in the beginning. As I progressed and my writing improved tremendously, I had to go back and fix the train wreck I’d started out with. Secondly, I knew how important the first chapter was to hook readers, so I had to add more action and create more tension. It has come a long way since the beginning!
CYP: I know!! I have lots of trouble with my introductions and conclusions too! Haha. Will there be a sequel to Shadow Eyes?
Dusty: Definitely! I’m working on the second one now! I’m thinking there will be about 4 in the series.
CYP: Nice! I'm a big fan of sagas and series! I don't really like reading standalones, so you'll find that almost all, if not all, the books I've read recently are all part of a series. Anyway, to wrap up this interview, what is the one question that you would like to be asked in interviews and what would your answer be?
Dusty: Question: What are some of the morals or lessons in Shadow Eyes?
Answer: You are not helpless or worthless. Don’t underestimate your own inner strength. You don’t have to give in to what others want or expect of you. Hope can get you through the toughest of situations; don’t give up on it.
CYP: Lol, teachers and their morals..sigh.. Hahaha, kidding! It's cool though, like there's this hidden meaning behind Shadow Eyes. Any parting words to the readers?
Dusty: My favorite part of writing and publishing this book is getting feedback from my readers. I wrote Shadow Eyes to be read and enjoyed, so I love hearing what people thought of it, what their favorite part was, etc. Find me on facebook and friend me or like my author fanpage. You can also follow my blog at http://dustycrabtree.wordpress.com. Feel free to leave comments or chat with me on any of those sites. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!
Rapid Fire Questions:
1) M&Ms or Belgium chocolate?
Doesn’t matter, as long as it’s chocolate (preferably dark)!
2) Favourite author?
It’s a tie between Becca Fitzpatrick and Suzanne Collins.
3) Favourite movie?
Inception - 1 word: genius!; Hunger Games also, but mainly because of the book.
4) Favourite season?
Early fall – I love long-sleeve, no jacket temps, I love the fresh start of a new school year, and I love Halloween!
5) Favourite superhero?
That’s a hard one, but I’m going to go with Iron Man, mainly because that’s my favorite superhero movie. Robert Downy Jr. was amazing in those!
Thanks again for coming to the blog! :)
An Excerpt from Shadow Eyes
I meandered slowly to my locker. Even though I didn’t need anything, I rummaged through it as if I were searching for a tool on a job that paid by the hour. The longer I waited, the less people and, therefore, shadows would be waiting for me when I stepped into the parking lot.
I hated crowds and tried to avoid them as much as possible. Three years of dealing with the visions had taught me how to cope in various ways, but I’d never gotten used to walking among herds of people that were ignorant of the truth I was forced to see. It was like being the only one wearing ultraviolet glasses that unveiled every germ and bacteria around me and having to constantly witness unsuspecting people touching things and getting into things that are disgusting and potentially dangerous. Some people would feel lucky to have such insight. Me? I felt trapped, helpless, and exposed.
Luckily, since it was Friday, everyone wanted to get away from school as quickly as possible. By the time I stepped outside, the parking lot was basically empty. Only a few cars belonging to football players remained.
I began to trek the long distance to my car, which was at the end of the lot due to my near tardiness every day for the same reason I always left late. However, even though the lot was void of people, a couple of dark figures loomed over and around a yellow Camaro to my right. I recognized it as Marcus Beaman’s new car. He was a well-known football player and had been bragging about the birthday present for three months since he got it in June.
Why were these shadows out in the parking lot without any humans around? The bizarreness of it made me pause, and my mind began fabricating all possible explanations—none of which I could do anything about. Lost in my thoughts, I must have peered at them with critical eyes just a tad longer than was safe. One of them stopped, inclined its head to glare at me, and flashed an evil grin. I shuddered, closing my eyes tightly in an attempt to erase the image and pretend the scene away as I cowered toward my car like a timid little girl.
I threw open the driver’s side door, jumped in, tossing my backpack on the passenger seat, buckled my seatbelt, and locked the doors. As if that would help.
Dusty is giving away an ecopy of Shadow Eyes to one lucky reader. No requirements, no strings attached, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below and you're good to go! :P Giveaway is international and ends in 2 weeks, 6/11.
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