Wildseed Witch, written by Marti Dumas, is described as “a fun middle-grade contemporary fantasy with an all-BIPOC cast, about a social-media-loving tween who gets sent to an ultra-private witch camp.” I can think of many of my students who would be interested in getting lost in this story – and with good reason #BlackGirlMagic. My readers will be able to relate to Hasani’s struggles of standing out, feeling inadequate, and accepting change.
The absolutely stunning cover art was created by the very talented illustrator and graphic artist, Erick Dávila, whose amazing book covers are written about in this Book & Film Globe article, The Amazing Colors of Erick Dávila . I encourage you to visit his website linked above and follow Erick on social media to explore his other works of art.
Marti will be presenting Wildseed Witch at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 21st at Gaithersburg Bohrer Park. She will be Finding the Magic with Alyssa Colman (The Tarnished Garden) in the Willa Cather Pavilion 3:15-4:05 pm (immediately followed by author signing).
I hope you enjoy my interview with Marti Dumas.
What is your writing space like?
I prefer to write in small, quiet spaces where I can zone out and click in, but one lesson I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that—in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones—you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need. I’ve written in everything from a tent on a rooftop during lockdown, to favorite coffee shops, to my current desk situation in a corner of our dining room. Whatever works!
How (or in what ways) do you hope librarians will promote your book?
Wildseed Witch is just as much about relationships as it is about magic. There are frenemies and friends, old family and new, and learning to tell the one from the other all while you learn to love and accept yourself despite being perfect. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the promise of spells, incantations, and, eventually, kittens.
What do you hope your readers will learn from reading your book?
That they are as whole and imperfect as Hasani is and, no matter how many mistakes they make, they are deserving of love and friendship—just like Hasani.
Who is the reader you are writing for? Please describe them.
I wrote this story for kids roughly ages 10-13 who can see themselves reflected in someone whose family is good, but not perfect, who wants to achieve a goal, no matter how small, and who wouldn’t mind waking up one day to realize that they are magic.
What is one (or more) thing(s) that you really want your readers to know about you?
Sometimes my life has been just as awkward as Hasani’s, but I survived through THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP! (Yep. I don’t care how many memes there are. The power of friendship is a real thing.) Oh! And plants. And dragons.
What do you love most about your book’s cover art?
I think a lot of people are drawn in by the flowers, but what I love most is the perfect humanity of Hasani’s face. It draws me in and makes me want to get to know that girl.
[I agree, the cover is absolutely stunning!]
What has surprised you most about the characters in your book?
How loving they are. How their hearts are all in the right place even when it seems they aren’t.
Which book review or award has been most meaningful to you?
2,000 kids at KIPP New Orleans got to read copies of Wildseed Witch before release. The book has had a lot of lovely reviews, but nothing could top the lines of extra-cool eighth-graders who were supposed to be being silent in the hallway risking their teachers’ wrath to say:
“I like your book.”
“I love your book.”
“Your book cool.”
Joy. Pure joy.
What are you most looking forward to at our book festival?
Getting to finally visit Gaithersburg (I’ve never been!) and meet as many families, teachers, and librarians as I can. I absolutely love talking to people who are working to get books to kids.
I hope you will join me at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 21st!.
Marti Dumas taught elementary school literacy for 10 years, conducts teacher literacy trainings, and is the author of “Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest.” She lives in New Orleans with her family. Marti will be presenting “Wildseed Witch” (Book 1) at the Festival.