We need look no farther than Ana Juan‘s illustration of the twelve-year-old girl named September and the Wyvern in chains to know that Cat Valente‘s newest novel offers something both classic and surprising. Today, MacMillan releases The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making to bold reviews. Already Amazon has declared it the “Best YA Book for May.” Publishers Weekly said “This is a kind of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by way of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — it’s the sort of book one doesn’t want to end.”

The journey of this book to publication intrigues reveals much about the author. When Cat and her husband, Dmitri, first moved to Peaks Island, they faced employment and financial challenges familiar to many of us these days.

Crossing Casco Bay aboard the "Island Romance"

Cat remembers: “I didn’t want charity, or something for nothing. I wanted to work, and support my family. I decided that in the world of new media and online literature, I could try to do what I do best: write a novel. I could offer up a book to the world, and try to feed us with it. I wanted it to be free, so that everyone could read it, not locked behind a password. But we needed money—so I posted to my blog and asked my readers to pay whatever they thought it was worth. Word spread fast, and help came. We were literally saved—because of a book, and a story, and a tribe of wonderful people who spread the word, and donated, and took care of my family in this New Depression everyone is getting to know.”

Those days are behind her now. Cat’s Fairyland tour reaches from California to the Pacific Northwest to New York. Our island has worked its magic upon her, though; she’s sure to return on the first ferry available, celebrating her newest book of her own making.

Advertisements