Raven’s Mountain

I was very excited today to see that your next book competition is for Raven’s Mountain! So I thought I’d you’d like to hear a bit more about the story.

Here’s a little excerpt:

There’s nothing and no one here except me.

No Lily and Scott.

No new footprints.

No Top-of-the-World Dance Rock.

No daypack sitting beside the rock waiting for me to put it back on.

And no huge rocky nose on the mountain below me. That side of the cliff is gone.

I can’t believe this is where I did my happy dance and worried about my sister laughing.

I never thought of worrying about the mountain. After all, mountains are made of rock. They’re very old, very strong, and very, very solid. Everyone knows that eleven-year-old girls can’t break mountains.

Except I think I did.

Because what if the rock tipped because I fell, and if it slid because it tipped, and if it broke the mountain’s nose because it slid?

The chill around my heart is turning into a solid block of ice. This is a cold, lonely, dangerous place and I’m getting out of here as fast as I can; slipping, skidding, falling, landing on my cut-to-shreds hands, sucking off the blood and snow.

It’s hard to know where stories start. Maybe the first seeds for Raven’s Mountain were planted the summer I was eight and went to summer camp in the Canadian Rockies. Or when my dad, younger sister and I climbed Pikes Peak, a 3000m mountain in Colorado. Or when I was a teenager, sleeping out in the woods in another part of the Rocky Mountains, and hearing that a grizzly had taken a camper the week before. I’m guessing all these things went into the book, but many more too, until they all got mixed up into something entirely new that wasn’t much to do with me at all.

For instance, when I started writing, I thought Raven would love the mountains, because I always have (and probably most New Zealanders would understand that!).  But the more I wrote, the more I saw that she didn’t love mountains at all. She’s only going there because her mum has remarried – Raven wants to stay in the flat prairie country, because it’s the only home she’s ever known. The mountains, and especially the rockfall, are a symbol of everything that’s changing in her life.

(But, since people always wonder if an author is like her characters, there might be a bit of me in her bossy story telling friend Jess…)

In Canada, Raven’s Mountain is called Facing the Mountain, because that’s what Raven really has to do. Which title and cover do you like best?

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