THE BOOK: The Luckiest Scar on Earth
PUBLISHED IN: 2017
THE AUTHOR: Ana Maria Spagna.
THE EDITOR: Anne Terashima.
THE PUBLISHER: Torrey House Press is an independent non-profit publisher with an environmental focus based in Utah. Their distinct mission is “To identify exceptional writers, nurture their work, and engage the widest possible audience; to publish diverse voices with transformative stories that illuminate important facets of the American West and our ever-changing planet; to develop literary resources for the conservation movement, educating and entertaining readers, inspiring action.”
In practice, founders Mark Bailey and Kirsten Johanna Allen work tirelessly to create a nurturing literary community around the West that is, honestly, more like a family.
SUMMARY: Charlotte Potts never wanted to leave Colorado. But when her mother loses her job under mysterious circumstances, they move to a remote corner of the Pacific Northwest where Charlotte is reunited with her father, Larry, a former logger with a lucky scar. They’re getting along surprisingly well, snowboarding together as Charlotte trains for the national championships until Larry signs a petition to stop a proposed condominium development and loses his job at Timberbowl, the local ski area, which causes Charlotte to lose her place on the team. While Charlotte tries to find another way to compete, Larry persuades her to go snowboarding in the backcountry where adventure turns to tragedy and Charlotte has to take charge. Eventually, she and her friend, Rose Gutierrez, and a handsome apple grafter wade into freezing water to try to make a difference. THE LUCKIEST SCAR ON EARTH combines the thrill of winter sports with a tender family story while exploring the difficult choices people make to protect the places and people they love.
THE BACK STORY: I started writing a short story about Charlotte Potts more than 20 years ago because I loved the backcountry in winter and wanted to spend time there in writing. Over time I realized Charlotte was 14, not 24 … and I also began to recognize other similarities between her and me, some of which were unsettling.
Here’s why: While I was writing “The Luckiest Scar” on earth for “fun” I was also writing a more serious book, a memoir/history about my father who died when I was 11. He and I had been very close, and he had also been a political activist, just like Charlotte’s dad, Larry. Only after I had finished writing both books did I realize how similar they are. I don’t want to give away too much here, but the truth is The Luckiest Scar on Earth allowed me to work through my past with fiction in ways I couldn’t in nonfiction. You can read more on this process (spoilers and all) in my guest blog at the website of the late great writer Michael Steinberg here.
WHY THIS TITLE? Charlotte’s father, Larry, is a former logger who has a scar running down his forehead and the bridge of his nose from a chainsaw accident. Because it didn’t kill him, and because the injury allowed him to meet Charlotte’s mom and have her as a daughter, he often calls it “the luckiest scar on earth.” As the book goes on, other characters discover their own lucky scars. In the end, Charlotte does, too.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? This story will appeal to readers of all ages who love mountains, people who love skiing and snowboarding, people who care about the environment, people who always keep New Years resolutions and those who break them, daughters who have struggled with their fathers—and vice versa—and anyone who has had to overcome adversity.
“Spagna writes passionately about the West, creates a strong and athletic heroine, and addresses many realistic issues teens confront.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“The Luckiest Scar on Earth is a thoughtful novel that centers around the maturation of both a girl and her family, and which intimates that sometimes the most difficult periods can also be the most beautiful.”—FOREWORD REVIEWS
“We’re right there with Charlotte as she navigates avalanche–prone backcountry, races in snowboarding competitions, and searches for endangered salmon. Packed with profound questions and gems of wisdom, this story will stay with me for a long time to come.” —LAURA RESAU, author of Red Glass and The Queen of Water
“The Luckiest Scar on Earth is a gorgeous exploration of falling in love in unexpected ways—with a new place, with a new parent, and with a new ethic. This novel is a coming–of–age in the truest and fullest sense.” —LAURA PRITCHETT, author of Red Lightning
AUTHOR PROFILE I live and write in Stehekin, Washington, a remote community in the North Cascades accessible only by boat or trail. But don’t worry! I haven’t always lived such an insular life. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, and raised in Riverside, California, sixty miles east of Los Angeles, I was a book-loving kid who liked sports but knew nothing about the outdoors. I never camped until, as a teenager, traveled to Oregon and — well, there’s no other way to say it — fell in love. After college, I settled in to working on backcountry trail crews for the National Park Service in summer and writing in winter, experiences I’ve written about in my essay collections Potluck, Now Go Home, and most recently Uplake.
After fifteen years on the trail—and once satellite internet reached our remote valley—I turned to teaching, both in person and online. I’ve been lucky enough to teach at Whitman College, the
University of Montana, and St. Lawrence University (all great ski towns incidentally) as well in MFA programs at Antioch University, Los Angeles and Western Colorado University. My stories and essays about nature, family, civil rights, and life in a small community have appeared in dozens of magazines. You can learn more at http://www.anamariaspagna.com.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: On one level, the book is about the sheer joy of the mountains in winter, but in a deeper sense it’s about the inevitability of change and the need for resiliency. More than anything, I hope The Luckiest Scar on Earth will help readers of all ages think about the places and people they love most in the world and what it means to be there for them no matter what.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: Find a .pdf attached
A Book for All Seasons in Leavenworth Washington
Trails End Books in Winthrop, Washington
Riverwalk Books in Chelan, Washington
Elliott Bay Books in Seattle, Washington
Aunties Bookstore in Spokane, Washington
Fact & Fiction Books in Missoula, Montana
Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah
The King’s English in Salt Lake City, Utah.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: TorreyHouse.org Bookshop.org; Powells.com.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
@anamariaspagna Facebook http://www.anamariaspagna.com