Monday, July 16

Posted by Laurel Garver on Monday, July 16, 2012 5 comments

by Dusty Crabtree, author of Shadow Eyes

When I first started developing my idea for a story and eventually decided to write a young adult urban fantasy that dealt with angels and demons and essentially spiritual warfare, I had to make a huge decision.  Would I make it a Christian book and openly talk about God, or would I keep it secular but include underlying Christian themes and morals.  After contemplating and praying, I decided on the second.  The reason?  I didn’t feel like anyone else was offering teens the types of books I wanted to offer them.  Think about what types of young adult books are offered currently.

Christian young adult books – These are an obvious choice for teens who are Christian and want to read clean books.

Secular yet clean young adult books – These are a great alternative for teens who don’t generally read Christian books but want something that is uplifting and refreshing.  Although some have older protagonists, these books are often geared toward middle-school kids with middle-school protagonists.

So what about the teens who aren’t drawn to either of those categories or who aren’t even Christian?  They end up reading the third option: Secular young adult books in popular genres like urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and dystopian, which often include graphic violence, substance abuse, and relationships and views of sexuality that aren’t healthy or godly. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy many of these books and am drawn to them as well.  But at this stage of my life, I’m firm enough in my faith that I can handle reading books with a worldly viewpoint without having my Christian view changed or skewed.  But it’s harder to have that distance when you are younger.  I’m involved with a book club for teens at my church, and we’ve discussed how media affects them and their peers. One girl said that teens are like sponges when it comes to the messages they absorb through books, TV, and movies.

I wanted to offer an alternative—young adult books intriguing enough for teens from many walks of life to want to read, yet reflecting a Christian worldview about topics like purity, drinking, depression/anxiety, and hope.  My desire is to write books that explore broken ways of living, yet show them in a different light.  Instead of avoiding brokenness (which is fine for a certain audience) or making it seem acceptable, I wanted to show harmful behavior for what it truly is – evil.  I hope that as readers go through experiences with Iris, they will begin to see the nature of evil differently and also come to realize they, too, are never without hope and have the ability to rise above their pasts.

About Shadow Eyes, from the publisher’s description:

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.

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.

Check out Dusty’s blog at
Find her on facebook at
Follow her on twitter at
Shadow Eyes is available for purchase at
(also available at all major online bookstores)
View the book trailer at


  1. What a lovely post! Thanks for spotlighting Dusty and her novel!!

    1. Thanks, Connie. I was fascinated by the idea of bringing faith-based thinking into a genre that tends to be very, very dark.

  2. Thank you for allowing me to share! By the way, I forgot to mention I am having a giveaway right now through August 5th on Goodreads! Here's the link to the book. Just scroll down to enter the contest. :)

    1. You're most welcome. Your approach to urban fantasy sounds pretty unique. I hope you reach some more readers!

  3. "Instead of avoiding brokenness (which is fine for a certain audience) or making it seem acceptable, I wanted to show harmful behavior for what it truly is – evil."

    I absolutely love this. I'm currently writing for the YA Christian fiction market, but I know one day I'll most likely publish books in the secular genre as well for this very reason. Fiction can be very powerful - which is why it'll do either harm or good for teenagers. It can be a ministry, whether in the Christian market or the secular market. I'm so glad someone else gets this.

    Thank you for sharing!