Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Blog Tour Q&A: In Sight of the Mountain by Jamie McGillen

Please join me in welcoming Jamie McGillen to Let Them Read Books! Jamie is touring the blogosphere with her debut historical novel, In Sight of the Mountain, and I recently had the chance to ask her a few questions about her research and inspiration. Read on and enter to win a paperback copy of In Sight of the Mountain!

~ Inspired by the trailblazing women of the 19th Century who dared to summit Mount Rainier ~

In the devastating aftermath of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire, nineteen-year-old Anna Gallagher faces considerable pressure to marry well and soon.

She has two serious suitors: a well-meaning but condescending doctor, and an evasive fisherman who challenges her mind. But Anna has no intention of giving up her freedom to keep house; she has a dream to reach the summit of Mount Rainier.

Despite her family’s disapproval and her own self-doubt, she secretly trains, raises money for supplies, and buys a train ticket to the base of the mountain. If she succeeds in reaching its icy peak, she could pioneer the way for women mountaineers; but it’s a tall task and there’s much at risk—including the heart of a man who just might love her as an equal.

On the journey, Anna will face glaciers, avalanches, and frozen temperatures, all without knowing if she even has a family or a future to return to.

In Sight of the Mountain is a charming coming-of-age story, but it also casts the reader’s gaze upon issues of colonialism, class, and women’s far-too-narrow options.


Hi Jamie! Thanks so much for visiting today!

What inspired you to write In Sight of the Mountain?

When I saw a life-sized image of Fay Fuller standing on a rocky ledge, I was immediately drawn to her. The old photograph showed her on Mount Rainier in August 1890, about to become the first woman to summit. I really wanted to tell her story, but I wanted to write something completely fictional, so instead I wrote what it might have been like for a woman in that time to dare to summit Mount Rainier.

Is your main character, Anna, based on a real person?

Completely inspired by Fay Fuller and other trailblazing women of the nineteenth century. Like Isabella Bird, who traveled around the Rocky Mountains and climbed Longs Peak in 1873. And Lucy Walker, a British woman who summited the Matterhorn in the Alps in 1871. I was pleasantly surprised to discover so many women doing epically adventurous things like that when it not only risked their lives, but also risked their chances of having any place in their society.

What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you get to go somewhere memorable or discover anything that surprised you?

I spent some time at the Washington State history museum, where I was able to listen to the Lushootseed language (which the Duwamish speak in the story). I also visited the Duwamish Longhouse for an event and met the current chairperson who helped answer many of my questions about how to portray the Duwamish. I also took my family on a hike on Mount Rainier (an easy one!) to help me describe the scenery, plant life, sounds, etc.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

The main point of Anna’s story is to inspire women to get outdoors and do things they didn’t think they were capable of. And to prove that you don’t have to conform to social norms to create a fulfilling life and surround yourself with people who love you. The book also addresses the issue of young women breaking into roles that men traditionally hold, which I hope will encourage readers to be brave and risk everything to do things despite self-doubt and family disapproval--and how to thrive as a woman with big dreams.

What are you working on now?

I go back and forth between working on a sequel to IN SIGHT OF THE MOUNTAIN, and working on a contemporary young adult novel I started last spring. Who knows which one I’ll finish first!

About the Author:

Jamie McGillen lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier, and no matter how many times she moves away, it draws her home. Everything about large evergreen trees delights her, except how poky they are, and the sap. Her poems and essays have been published in numerous literary journals, and she teaches English Composition at Highline College. When she’s not teaching or cutting strawberries for her starving children, she enjoys writing rhyming poetry, but it’s simply not as popular as it used to be. You can find out more about her at www.jamiemcgillen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

In Sight of the Mountain is on a blog tour!


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback back copy of In Sight of the Mountain! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
  In Sight of the Mountain

1 comment:

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