Author: Jamie McGillen
Narrator: Sarah Brands
Length: 9 hours 34 minutes
Released: Apr. 24, 2020
Publisher: The Evergreen Bookshelf
Genre: Young Adult; Historical Fiction
“An engaging escapade with a feisty female lead.” (Kirkus Reviews)“A beautifully written story. A must-read for those who are striving to fulfill their dreams…” (Seattle Book Review)“An epic and gripping work of historical fiction… the perfect historical read for fans of pioneering heroes and tales of triumph over discrimination.” (Reader’s Favorite 5-Star Review) In the devastating aftermath of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire, 19-year-old Anna Gallagher faces considerable pressure to marry well and soon. But she has no intention of giving up her freedom to keep house. She wants to be the first woman to summit Mount Rainier.Anna’s grandfather couldn’t disapprove more. And after he discovers that she’s befriended a Duwamish woman in the forest, he threatens to disown her completely. Still, her resolve to summit doesn’t waver until she meets a fisherman who seems to love adventure as much as she does. He’s not the kind of high society gentleman who could save their family’s finances after the fire, but he adores her and treats her like an equal. Mountaineering through glaciers, avalanches, and frozen temperatures might cause Anna’s family to disown her forever. It might even ruin any future marriage prospects. But if she succeeds in reaching the icy peak, she could pioneer the way for women mountaineers, and create a new identify for herself, something she’s been longing for her whole life. Inspired by the trailblazing women of the 19th century who dared to summit Mount Rainier, 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.
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 http://www.jamiemcgillen.com.
Sarah has had a long love affair with audiobooks. She first fell in love with Little Dragon and Orange Cheeks by Jay O’Callahan at age 5 and has been listening ever since. Back then, of course, they were books on tape. Her dream of becoming an audiobook narrator started to become a reality when she began volunteering at Learning Ally as a reader. Outside of reading and narrating, she enjoys baking (when there’s not a flour shortage due to a pandemic), hiking, and dabbling in writing and drawing. Sarah finds herself interested in many things, reflected by her work history: waitress, retail associate, licensed forklift driver, salesperson, special education teacher, reading therapist, and professional learning facilitator… Currently she daylights in ed tech sales and moonlights in her recording booth. She lives in Virginia, grew up in Oklahoma, and a piece of her heart will always be in Colorado.
Q&A with Author Jamie McGillen
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- Sarah and I had a phone call at the very beginning, and we were able to talk about the overall story tone, different character accents, and other regional tidbits. I also wanted to give her space to be creative with her narrating, so I wasn’t suuuuper picky about everything (I hope she agrees)! There were definitely some pronunciations we had to discuss, but I think we worked really well together. Couldn’t have asked for a better partner on this audiobook journey!
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- The story is 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 really wanted to tell the story of a woman in the late nineteenth century who was struggling for agency. It was a really interesting time period in American history, when people just weren’t sure what to think of women. Should we let them help chop down trees and build houses because we don’t have enough men? Should they be able to get a university education, but not be allowed to vote? The logical answers to these questions were starting to emerge, even though it challenged the social norms.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I’m a huge fan of audiobooks. I can’t imagine NOT having my own book available as an audiobook!
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- Don’t. Be. Ridiculous.
- What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
- I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I go through times of intense writing and then long breaks. I guess it’s similar with my reading habits. I always find audiobooks are easier to get back into after a break from reading.
- What’s your favorite:
- Food: Chocolate, popcorn, and peanuts
- Book: Anna Karenina
- Television show: LOST
- Sports team: Seahawks!
- City: Seattle
- Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work?
- Yes! Anna Karenina is featured quite prominently. The characters in my book also eat a solid amount of chocolate, including my fave Christmas cookies: chocolate crinkles. And of course the whole story is set in Seattle when the town was just getting started!
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- I think the best advice is that it takes a million words to write a good one. I’m not even close to a million… yet! So I’ll keep working on the craft until I get there.
- Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
- Use Sarah Brands as your narrator!
- What’s next for you?
- I’d like to write the sequel to IN SIGHT OF THE MOUNTAIN in the next year or so.
Jamie McGillen’s Top Ten Food Moments of IN SIGHT OF THE MOUNTAIN
- Chocolate Crinkles- “Peppermint hot cocoa is finished!” she chimed. “And chocolate crinkles too. I just dusted them with powdered sugar” (153).
Peppermint hot chocolate and my mom’s chocolate crinkle cookies are my favorite foods of Christmas, so I really wanted to include them in my first Christmas scene!
- Salmon with Hollandaise- “Not only did the salmon with hollandaise come on the fanciest glass plates Anna had ever seen, it also melted in her mouth” (148).
This meal is shared with Anna’s friend Emily and her husband (with a guest suitor) and it’s quite the treat compared with what she had been eating over the winter.
- The Jar of Jam- “I broke a jar of jam, lassie. Go back upstairs—don’t want you stepping on broken glass in the dark” (108).
This is said by Anna’s grandfather Oscar. I can’t say anymore without spoilers!
- Blueberries from the Market- “Her mouth watered as she browsed the stands, making her long for better days. Luckily, Ben bought blueberries, which he shared on the walk back” (99).
The Gallaghers have a difficult winter when it comes to food, so anything fresh that they didn’t grow or make themselves is a small luxury.
- Halibut from Alaska- “Her grandfather brought a new wine from the cellar, and Greta roasted halibut and potatoes for dinner” (322).
Anna’s brother Levi goes halibut fishing every spring and always brings back a feast for days. My dad used to go halibut fishing in Alaska, and I remember eating deep fried halibut with ketchup when I was little.
- All the Apples- “He cleared his throat and nodded before pulling a chair up to the table and grabbing an apple to peel. “Gosh, applesauce simmering on the stove, a pie in the oven, winter pies and sauces coming. I’m a lucky old man” (113).
The Gallaghers have a few apple trees so they attempt to keep as many apples as possible through canning, baking, preserving, etc.
- Lussekatts with Saffron- “Have you ever had lussekatts?” Greta asked. “It’s a Swedish pastry in the shape of an ‘S’ with raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg…and saffron!” (165).
I’ve never had the pleasure of trying this pastry, but I kind of want to try and bake it now!
- Wild Berries- “By the first week of September, they’d collected twenty buckets of wild blackberries and three buckets of the last of the raspberries. All over the house, berries hung from the ceiling to dry in mosquito nets; they planned to make jam next” (102).
Preserving berries wasn’t something Anna had always done, but Greta taught her how.
- Fishing for Salmon with the Duwamish- “Salmon souls never die. It’s important to treat each one with respect, because each year they return in new bodies, to feed us.” Heather peered wistfully upriver. “If we don’t treat them with dignity, they won’t return” (257).
Anna really enjoys learning about Duwamish traditions from her friend Heather!
- Belgian Chocolate in the Woods- “To celebrate her success, she and Ben plopped down again against the log. Then, to her surprise, Ben pulled out a chocolate bar. ‘It’s from Belgium, and I’ll only share if you fully appreciate the luxuriousness’” (128).
Luckily, they didn’t have to share with her brother Levi—he hates chocolate… (weirdo)!
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