Thursday, March 16

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, March 16, 2017 2 comments
Today's guest, Dusty Crabtree, shared with us last summer her experience of going indie after her small press publisher folded  (see that post HERE). Today she's here to talk about the long-awaited sequel the releases this month. Take it away, Dusty...

Angels and demons in Dusty's Shadow Eyes series 
I am super excited to finally release the next installment in the Shadow Eyes Series, Luminous Spirits! I apologize to anyone who read the first version of Shadow Eyes five years ago and who had to wait that long for the sequel. This book is dedicated to you. 

Tell us a little about your story and the story world you've created. 
Well, essentially, it’s a world where angels and demons exist around us in the form of light figures and dark shadows that vary in shape, size, texture, etc. Some of the shadows are just foggy masses, while others are dark silhouettes with human-like features. Check out the synopsis to Shadow Eyes for more details about the story.

What are some comparison titles of books or movies (or mashups of the two) similar to this novel? 
The Mortal Instruments series, The Evermore series, The Hush Hush series

Many authors find it was harder to write their second book than their first. Was that the case for you? Why or why not? 
Yes and no. Yes, because it was a challenge to make sure it was as intriguing and mysterious as the first one. From what I’ve heard so far, luckily, I think I’ve succeeded! But the plot details were difficult to get where I wanted them to be. The plot of the first book just fell together! However, writing the sequel was somewhat easier because as Shadow Eyes was my first novel, I was still basically learning how to write. The more you learn how to do something, the easier it is, right? So, the flow of writing was definitely easier for Luminous Spirits.

What is your favorite part of your artistic process? What is most difficult?
I love getting into the flow of writing. You know, where you sit for hours on end, so engrossed in the story that’s seamlessly unfolding from your mind that you get to the point where you’ve run out of water long ago, your throat is parched, and you really, really have to pee, but you don’t get up because you’re in the zone!

On the flipside, I don’t know if this would be considered part of the “artistic process,” but I’m not a fan promoting. It’s just so darn time-consuming! Also, with the increase of technology, with new social media sites going up every day, and with the market evolving, authors have to research and keep up with the different, successful methods people are using to promote. Marketing and promoting is a crazy world for an author!

How did you land on YA paranormal as your genre? 
I’ve always been a fan, even as a young child, of the magical and fantastic. But I wasn’t really into the types of fantasy stories that took place in other worlds. I loved to read and watch stories that took place in our world so that I could imagine it happening to me. I remember, after watching The Phantom Toll Booth as an 8-year-old, riding around my neighborhood and then coming back to my house, hoping there’d be a magic tollbooth in my living room. More recently when I really got back into reading for fun, the paranormal and urban fantasy reeled me in for the same reason. It’s fantastic and interesting but set in a real world so that you can easily imagine yourself in the story.

Who are your favorite authors and why? 
Top 3: 3) Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush Hush series) – I fell in love with her writing style and the way she weaves her stories so seamlessly.

2) Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games series) – I absolutely loved Hunger Games! I loved the crazy yet realistic and poignant world she created, as well as one of the best female protagonists ever.

1) Neil Shusterman (Unwind series) – I mean, seriously…can this guy be any more amazing? The way he is able to write so many different characters and give each one, even minor ones, a unique voice just blows me away! Add to that the amazingly sick and twisted yet intriguing world he created with the Unwind series and he has become my favorite author. I even use a lot of excerpts from his books as examples in my creative writing class.

What special challenges did you face making your story stand out from others in the genre? 
Honestly, I think my challenges are because of my story and its unique genre. The YA urban fantasy/paranormal genre is a pretty big one that has a very diverse audience. My series is unique, however, in that it has a spiritual twist or undertone if you will. It’s not an overtly Christian series – it’s a little too racy for that and never actually refers to anything religious (other than demons and angels, of course). But I do try to approach Iris’s world and how she copes with life with a Christian worldview in mind, or even just a moral mindset. My stories ride the line between spiritual/moral and edgy/gritty. I love this and really feel there is a need and desire for this middle-ground, but it also creates some challenges when trying to promote and get reviewers since it’s such a unique sub-genre.

What was the best investment you ever made in your writing? 
Money-wise? Not sure yet. Time-wise…going back and entirely revising Shadow Eyes before republishing it after Musa Publishing went under. Being my first book, it had some flaws. After having worked on the sequel with an awesome editor, I learned so much that I wanted to apply to my first book. Once I had the chance to make those changes instead of just automatically republishing, I went for it! And I’m so glad I did!

image credit: melcandea for Morguefile

About the Author

Dusty Crabtree loves a good story, but she also loves young people. These two loves are evident in all parts of her life. She has been a high school English teacher since 2006 and a creative writing teacher since 2014. She's also been a youth sponsor at her local church for as long as she’s been teaching. She feels very blessed with the amazing opportunities she has to develop meaningful relationships with teens on a daily basis. With her love of reading in the mix, becoming an author of young adult books was just a natural development of those two passions in her life. She lives with her husband, Clayton, in Yukon, Oklahoma, where they often serve their community as foster parents.

Connect with Dusty: blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

About the Book

Luminous Spirits
genre: YA urban fantasy

Old habits die hard. Old enemies, even harder.

Iris must now perfect her newfound abilities in order to help her shadow-oppressed family and friends, but more importantly, she must prepare for an impending fight with her most hated adversary. After the arrival of a new mean girl who seems to have history with Iris’s boyfriend, Iris quickly figures out that she is anything but the typical mean girl. She not only creates havoc and conflict among Iris and her friends, but her presence also means that Iris’s inevitable confrontation with her enemy may, in fact, be closer than she thought.

If Iris can figure out why the new girl is there and what her enemy is planning, she’ll at least be one step ahead of their game. But will she be ready when the time comes to face her biggest challenge yet? Or will they succeed in tearing Iris apart before she even has the chance?

Amazon (ebook or print)


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What challenges have you had with series, sequels, or new projects?


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me again, Laurel!

    1. You're most welcome. Wishing you all the best with your second launch.