Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Author Interview: Melanie Crowder previews Parched

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interview authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13. These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works. Enjoy!

Today I'm pleased to have Author Melanie Crowder here to discuss PARCHED a middle grade novel coming from Harcourt Children's Books in June 2013.

Here's the summary:

Told in three voices and set in a near future scarred by drought and
devastation, PARCHED is a story of survival and of hope. 

In the desert where raindrops slide between the cracks in the ground
as quickly as they fall to the earth, water riots pour out of the
dying city, killing Sarel’s parents and burning her home to the
ground. Now she struggles to keep herself, and her dogs, alive. Nandi
and her pups watch over Sarel as she worries over their dwindling
water supply, flinching away from the reach of the city gangs. 

Musa’s mother taught him to read the twitching dance of the dowsing
sticks. But in this time of punishing drought, Musa’s own brother
betrays him to the brutal Tandie gang. He is kept in chains and forced
to dowse for water while the city is slowly crushed on all sides by
rival gangs. 

When Musa escapes, Nandi senses the approach of the boy with the water
song inside him and eases the way between the two untrusting children.
But Sarel and Musa must work together if they are going to find water
before the Tandie find them. 

"Spare, unflinching, and beautifully written, this novel walks theline between magic and reality."-Franny Billingsley, National Book Award finalist

The newly released cover:

And the interview:

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
When I look back, the middle grade books that stuck with me over the
years are the dark ones. The ones that allowed me to confront the loss
or hurt or betrayal in my own life by experiencing the life and death
struggles of a character in a book.

Dark stories can also serve as a warning. I think one of the strengths
of PARCHED is that it presents a very real and potentially near future
for all of us.

If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
I have to mention Ndinderere by Stella Chiweshe since that one song
was the actual soundtrack playing while I wrote PARCHED. But thinking
more mainstream, I would have to pick I Dream of Rain by Sting, though
not all the lyrics fit—this is middle grade after all!

What fictional character from another book would your main character
chose as his/her best friend and why?

 I think Sarel and Hollis Woods would be great friends. They are both
the kinds of girl who put up all this emotional armor to protect
themselves because they have to, because the world has been brutal
with them. But underneath, they are all resilience and love and hope.

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
There is no way I can pick only 5! So instead, I'll mention 5
dystopian books that are also debut 2013 titles:

LANDRY PARK by Bethany Hagen
IN THE AFTER by Demitria Lunetta
DUALED by Elsie Chapman
ACID by Emma Pass

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends?

Honestly? Seeing this novel come to life. I have worked so hard for
this! In "The Voiceless," Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: Alas for those
that never sing, but die with all their music in them.

This book is me singing, fulfilling my dreams, living an extraordinary
life. I have traveled the world, found the love of my life and laughed
often. Given another decade or six, I will hopefully only write,
travel, love and laugh more!

How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?
PARCHED is very real. It's not dystopian, or even post-apocalyptic. It
is straight-up apocalyptic. The story is set when the already
teetering balance of the planet tips into devastation. When everything
around you is dying, how do you find the strength to live?

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

This sounds very exciting, and oh so very possible. I love books that take on such a realistic hue and bring their characters to life in a way that resonates with the reader. I am putting this one on the list, but I am sad to have to wait so long :(