Some years ago while I was working as the Director of Ski Patrol at Mt. Telemark my father came to visit and brought me a book. It was Called "Brad of the Ski Patrol". A pulp fiction youth novel from sometime in the 60's. It was illustrated with pictures of skiing and the adventure that the protagonist encountered. This fictional ski patrol of course did much more than one would imagine, chasing criminals through the mountains and such.
That odd book has was on my mind from time to time as it was one of the rare fictional adventure books that had skiing at it's core. True life adventure stories have always been a popular staple of both fiction and non-fiction and are voraciously consumed by a segment of the reading public. In the near thirty years since this book was given to me it has escaped somewhere in the various moves and changes in my life but made an impact on my own writing.
A Purse of Stones
This book began as part of a larger story of a young woman coming of age through late teens into adulthood. The story as a whole was quite large so I decided to break it into three books. The story is mainly about a young trans woman assuming her authentic self and finishing high school. After drafting the outline I determined it would be best to split the story into three books which would make the over character arc easier to digest for the intended reader.
The series was written for LGBT youth specifically for transgender young adults. The stories deal with the socialization, acceptance and issues a young trans women would encounter. I kept the books free of typical transgender tropes of victimization as much as possible and instead provided an environment of support, friendship and love for the character to thrive in.
You are probably asking yourself, "What does all this have to do with skiing?" Not much and yet a lot. Skiers are people that become skiers. We come from all walks of life, from all parts of the world and one thing we all share is a love of the mountains and this sport of sliding down them. So to me, being a trans woman and a skier it was perfectly normal to have the trans character's adult story be centered around skiing and the mountain life she is living.
A Purse of Stones is not about being transgender or transitioning. It is about grief and surviving. A topic that has been in front of all people who spend time in the mountains is avalanche safety. This story starts with the all too frequent event that strikes fear and grief in all skiers and riders is the loss of someone we follow, know or love to an avalanche.
This story is about those left behind and about healing after the loss and about finding hope and a way to move forward.
The book does not set out to change or to educate. It is a fictional story of loss, collapse and redemption of a skier's life whose life was dramatically impacted by an avalanche.