Here’s a what you can expect when you read her book.
Thirteen-year-old Kat can think of dozens of good reasons not to go on a boring family vacation to hot, grungy Mexico. Number one: missing her friend Fiona’s minicamp. If she’s not there, she’ll begin eighth grade as a social reject. And it looks like she’s the odd girl out on vacation, too. When Kat’s parents arrange for her and her younger sister, Barb, to go on a teen adventure tour, Barb makes more friends than she does. The only person who will talk to Kat is Nando, a young Mayan guide (who happens to be quite a cutie). Each day as they travel to different Mayan ruins, Nando tells Kat and Barb another installment in the original legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the Ancient Maya. The dangerous, dramatic world in which Muluc lives is as full of rivalry, betrayal, jealousy, and sacrifice as Kat’s world at school. And as she makes new friends and discovers new treasures in Mexico, Kat begins to wonder: Is she willing to keep sacrificing her self in exchange for popularity?
About the author:
Sydney Salter’s fascination with Mayan culture started when she was six years old and climbed down a steep, dimly lit stone staircase to the elaborately carved tomb of King Pacal who had once ruled Palenque. Visiting Mayan ruins, walking through fragrant Mexican market places, watching women wash clothes in a river, and chasing lizards in the jungle ignited the spark in Sydney’s imagination that led to writing Jungle Crossing. Sydney now lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and two dogs. She loves reading, writing, cooking, and traveling—especially to Mexico where she can explore ancient Mayan ruins and swim in underground rivers. Sydney is also the author of My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters.
When she stopped by I asked her some questions so readers could know a little more about this writer.
Tell us a little about your path to publication.
I joke that my publication journey has been about as tangled and rocky as one of the jungle paths in my story. Jungle Crossing is the first novel I wrote, but it took a lot of learning and three more manuscripts before my fourth, My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, was accepted for publication. All that writing taught me the importance of revision (I always returned to Jungle Crossing when I completed another manuscript). I also learned the value of networking with other writers and publishing professionals through conferences and workshops. It took me five years of consistent hard work to get published.
What gave you the idea for Jungle Crossing?
I wanted to teach my daughters about Mayan culture before a family vacation to Mexico I think I really needed an excuse to finally attempt my dream of writing a novel–since my daughters were only six and two at the time!
Is there any one part of this book that you really love? That is, a scene that you particularly liked writing and still enjoy reading? A bit of dialog that you adore? Some description that you wrote that you still say, “Wow! I wrote that!”
I especially love two parts–and both of them take place at the tops of pyramids. One I had to completely rewrite when a friend told me that they had recently closed El Castillo in Chichen Itza to tourists. Uh-oh! The new scene ended up being far more dramatic and emotional. The other one which happens at the very end includes words I wrote in my travel diary after I climbed the Nohoch pyramid in Coba.
Thanks Sydney. Enjoyed your visit.