Mundie Moms

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dust Girl Blog Tour: Interview with Author Sarah Zettel

I'm thrilled to have author Sarah Zettel on Mundie Moms today. Her book, Dust Girl was released by Random House yesterday here in the US. You can read my review for Dust Girl here. Recently I had the chance to talk to Sarah about her book, her cover and books that influenced her. 

I was really fascinated by the mix of faerie lore and historical references you used in Dust Girl. Did you find it hard to merge the two together?

Actually, no.  As in all other cultures, American history and American folklore are tied tightly together.  The tall tales, the ghost stories, the local legends are highly evocative of time and place, so presenting them as a part of each other felt very natural.

Callie is a really resilient character. What's one of the things that impressed you the most with her character growth?

That in the end she wouldn't take anything from anybody.  She gets scared, she doubts herself, but when push comes to shove, she stands up for herself, and for what she knows to be right.  I tried a couple of times to push her too far, but she would not budge.

One of the things I enjoyed about Dust Girl is the cast of characters who come into Callie's life. I liked the fact it was often times hard to determine who's trust worthy and who's not. Which of your secondary characters surprised you in terms of the role they played in the story/Callie's life?

Shake.  I had absolutely _no_ idea when he first turned up in that juke joint what was going to happen with him.  I quite literally had to rewrite all three books to accomodate him.

I love that Callie's character is mixed race. I feel that mixed race isn't something that's found that often in YA books. I mentioned something in my review about the cover, and while I liked the model I didn't feel she fit Callie in the story, but the more I think about the cover and the model, the more I realize I could be off base with what I said. The model very well could be of mix race like Callie is, and could be the Callie you envisioned. What are your thoughts on your cover and do you feel the cover is a good representation of Callie? 

I'm glad you've brought this up.  It's important we continue to look critically at how the media presents characters of minority or non-European-based culture and heritage, and of course, the "media" includes book covers.   Callie's heritage, is, as you point out, pretty complicated.  Her mother Margaret is a white human woman, but her father, while he looks like an African American man, is actually an Unseelie fairy.  So Callie is part African American, part European American, and also part human and part fairy.  When I was forming Callie as a character in my mind, very early on I started picturing her as looking like a young Lena Horne, who was one of the all time great jazz singers.  Horne's version of "Stormy Weather" is definitive, and so I sort of had her in the back of my mind when I was seeing Callie both emotionally and physically walking into the storm.  This is probably corny, but it is true.  Given that was my personal model, I think the cover succeeds quite well.

What were some of your favorite books to read growing up?

How much room have you got?  I grew up on a pretty steady and indiscriminate diet of old science fiction and fantasy.  I learned to read out of the Wizard of Oz, and tore through all the L. Frank Baum books.  There was Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Medelaine L'Engle, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, Andre Norton, C.S. Lewis (die-hard Narnia fan here), JRR Tolkien, CL Moore, Lord Dunsany, Manly Wade Wellman, Isaac Asimov.  I could go on, and on, and on some more.

Is there a book you've read as an adult that you wished you had as a teen?

I would have absolutely murdered for the bredth, depth and variety of books currently available on the YA shelves. The writing, the range of subjects and characters are so much better than what I grew up with.  It's fantastic.  I hope this doesn't sound like a cop out but if I'm going to narrow it down, I think it'd have to be the Harry Potter series.  I adored them for their own sake, but also, those books thew open the doors to a whole new realm of stories and writing for tweens and teens.  

Thank you Sarah for stopping by Mundie Moms today!

About The Book:

Published by: Random House Kids
To Be Released on: June 26th, 2012
Order from: Random House | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west": California. 

Along the way she meets Jack, a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company — there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very much aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate.quoted from Goodreads

About The Author

Sarah Zettel is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author and one of the founding members of Book View Cafe. She has written fourteen novels and a roughly equal number of short stories over the past ten years in addition to practicing tai chi, learning to fiddle, marrying a rocket scientist and raising a rapidly growing son. She is very tired right now.

You can visit Sarah via her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Thank you to Random House I have one copy of Dust Girl to giveaway! To enter, please fill out the form below. US residents only, and standard MM giveaway rules apply. 


  1. Wonderful interview. I was luck enough to get this on Netgalley and unlucky enough to not get to it before release date. You've made me want to move it up the list even more. Sarah, everything about Dust Girl called to me as a big fan of Fae and folkfore. Hearing a bit more from you, has me wanting to push some commitments aside (is that a bad thing?) and get right to it. Best of luck to you. Fingers crossed for me. Ha!


    1. Thank you Shelley! I really appreciate that.

  2. excited about this! this sounds like such an interesting read.

    1. It really is. I definitely recommend picking it up.