“Middleview” Interview with Debut Author Melanie Crowder

Posted by Tamera Wissinger 

Today, Melanie Crowder is joining Smack Dab In The Middle Blog for a guest “middleview” interview. Melanie’s debut middle grade novel PARCHED, Harcourt Children’s Books, released last week, on 6/04/2013! Congratulations, Melanie!

Here is Melanie’s biography:  

Melanie Crowder is a ceramist, painter, and sculptor who received her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She lives in the foothills of the rockies. This is her debut novel.

Here's a description of PARCHED:

In this haunting, lyrical novel told from three perspectives, Sarel has just witnessed the violent murder of her parents. But she is not completely alone on the drought-ridden land. Nandi is the leader of a pack of dogs who looks out for her pups and for skinny Sarel-girl. Nandi knows they are all in trouble, and she knows, too, that a boy is coming—an escaped prisoner with the water song inside him. A hard-hitting but ultimately hopeful survival story.

Here are links to Melanie online: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Indiebound, Barnes and Noble, Amazon

Now it’s time to hear from our guest.

Smack Dab Middleview with PARCHED author Melanie Crowder

1. What does your main character want?

I have three main characters: Sarel, Musa and Nandi. And while I could go on and on about their emotional character arcs, if they don't find water, none of them will survive.

2. What is in their way?

A drought. A vicious gang. Betrayal, grief, and distrust.

3. Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you wrote?

I didn't know that this story would resonate so intensely with others, but from the very first image that appeared in my mind, I knew I had to write this book. 

How did the story evolve?

The story began with Sarel, alone with her dogs. Then I met Nandi. I knew there was also a boy waiting, hoping to be discovered. And once I met him, it was impossible not to love Musa.

4. Was Parched always for middle grade readers?

Yes. Absolutely. (And not just because it's only 160 pages long!)

Why did you choose middle grade?

Aside from the characters' insistence that I tell this story, what interested me was the question of clean, drinkable water as a disappearing resource, the conflict that would ensue, and the price that children would pay. To me, the characters couldn't be teens; they had to be children.

5. What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers?

The Tinkerbell phenomenon. Hands down.

Children at that age haven't yet lost a sense of wonder in the world, the ability to see magic and mystery all around them. With middle grade readers, you can walk the line between the real and the imagined, and your readers will follow you with open, enthusiastic hearts.

Thank you for joining us for a Middleview at Smack Dab Blog, Melanie. Again, congratulations on the release of PARCHED! We’ll look for it on bookshelves!


  1. Love how you say you "met" your characters. That's exactly how it feels! Congrats on the release!

  2. Congratulations, Melanie! I'm wondering if there's a Carl Hiaasen feel to the book--tackling environmental issues in an entertaining way.


Post a Comment