I have neglected this blog for a very long time, but it’s time for an update, because I have exciting news! I have a new YA novel coming out with HMH!
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Kate O’Sullivan at HMH has bought Erin Bowman’s Dustborn. With flavors of Mad Max, The 100, and the author’s Western works, the genre-blending novel follows 17-year-old Delta of Dead River, who, after a raid on her village, sets out to rescue her family from a ruthless dictator and discovers a secret that will reshape her world. The novel is set for spring 2021; Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties negotiated the deal for North American rights.
I’m so excited that this book is happening. It had a long road to book sale, but it couldn’t have ended up at a better home. HMH did such a wonderful job on my westerns—especially those covers. At the time I’m writing this, I’ve seen an early cover comp for Dustborn and it is stunning! I can’t wait to share it with you. But first, to answer some questions…
Whoa. This sounds like quite the genre mash-up! What kind of reader is this story for?
It’s for anyone who has liked any of my books. I’ve jumped genres a lot as an author, and Dustborn has a little bit of all my already published books in it. I consider it a western/dystopia/post-apocalypse/sci-fi blend. Perhaps the easiest way to describe it is Mad Max, but without cars or tech.
So when does it come out?
All I know right now is a season—Spring 2021!
What inspired you to write this story?
I wanted to write another western but not be constrained by actual history or timelines. So I took the harsh, rugged landscape of a western that I love so much and plopped it in a fictional world. As I developed that world more, some surprises popped up, so I don’t consider this book a true western anymore. (You saw the giant genre list above.) But if you liked the western aspects of Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails, there are elements of both those books in Dustborn. And if you preferred my Taken trilogy or the Contagion duology more, you’re in luck, because there are dystopia and sci-fi elements in Dustborn as well. And like all my books, it has a morally gray heroine, epic twists, and a setting that feels like a character.
Can you tell us anything else about Delta?
She’s stubborn, a clever inventor, and fiercely protective of her family. The book begins with Delta bringing her sister (who has gone into early labor) to the nearest healer—a woman named Zuly who lives who lives twenty clicks south across desolate wasteland. But as much as Delta loves her family, there is a growing doubt within her that sets her apart from them: Delta has lost faith in the gods. While her people pray to the stars, asking the gods who abandoned them eons ago to bring water and green back to the wastes, Delta just wants her family to move somewhere safer. No one is coming to save them, Delta believes. They have to save themselves.
The premise mentions a dictator rising to power…and a secret. Can you talk about these?
A raid on Delta’s village leads her to discover that the raiders who roam the wastes are organizing, many of them reporting to a man they call the General. That’s as much as I can say without spoiling things. But you will definitely meet this General. As for the secret… well, you’ll have to read the book next year.
Wait, don’t go! You haven’t answered my question.
Drop it in the comments and I’ll answer if I can. I’ll also continue to share info about the book and reveal teasers via my monthly newsletter, so be sure to subscribe if that sounds like your thing!
And now, back to doing my taxes. Oh, the joys of being an author!