We had the good fortune of connecting with Dusti Bowling and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dusti, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Every time I make the decision to write a novel, I’m taking a huge risk—the risk that the book won’t ever be published. The risk that it won’t be read or loved. The risk that it will be published but it will be overlooked in the marketplace and will quickly fall out of print. Every single book is a risk. We writers invest hundreds of hours of time, our whole hearts, and our tears into our stories with the hope that others will connect with what we’ve created. To have that work rejected, which happens very frequently, is heartbreaking. But the risk is still worth taking. Because when our work does finally get published, and readers do connect with it, the rewards are immeasurable.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m excited to share my stories with the world because it’s difficult to find children’s books that take place in Arizona, and I feel like my stories represent Arizona in unique and authentic ways. My stories also address the issues I care about most. Getting to speak to children in accessible ways about difficult topics like trauma, bullying, and parental drug addiction is maybe the most fulfilling part of my whole job. But getting here was not easy. My first novel, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, was rejected by literary agents and editors over a hundred times. That can definitely leave you with the feeling that your work isn’t good enough. But that book has now been read by hundreds of thousands of people, won many awards, and taken me all over the country to speak to children about my books, so I’m forever grateful I didn’t give up when the rejections wore me down.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are too many places I love to cover even in a single week. But here’s my best shot: Day 1: Carefree and Cave Creek. We’d hike Spur Cross and then eat dinner at the Buffalo Chip. Day 2: Apache Junction. We’d hike the Superstition Mountains and maybe do the zipline at Goldfield Ghost Town. Follow it up with Dinner at Tortilla Flat. Day 3: Hike Pinnacle Peak (I bet you’re sensing a pattern here). Day 4: Day trip to visit the Verde Canyon Railroad with dinner at Colt 804 Grill in downtown Cottonwood. Day 5: Day trip Page Springs to visit the wineries and trout hatchery with dinner at Up the Creek Bistro and Wine Bar. Day 6: The Desert Botanical Gardens with dinner at Gertrude’s. Day 7: No trip would be complete without a visit to Changing Hands Bookstore and a drink at First Draft Book Bar. Follow it up with dinner at Southern Rail.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I couldn’t be where I am without the endless support of my husband. There have also been many people along my journey who took a risk on me–this includes my literary agent, editors, sales groups, and marketing teams. It’s also hard to survive the roller coaster that is the publishing world without the support of writing friends. I’m blessed with the best writing friends in the world: Kelly DeVos, Stephanie Elliot, and Lorri Phillips.
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