Friday, June 10, 2022

YOSEMITE TRAIL DISCOVERED - Marie Sontag - One Free Book

Welcome back, Marie. Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your most recent release Yosemite Trail Discovered. What was your inspiration for the story?  As a resident of California for over 58 years, I never heard the story of how non-Native Americans first entered Yosemite. The more I researched, the more I realized this "'clash of cultures" story needed to be told. Written for a cross-over market, the main character, 17-year-old Daniel Whitcomb, was raised in a Christian home, but after losing his parents in a mysterious house fire, he struggles to maintain his faith in God. He witnesses injustices in the California gold fields, both on the parts of the whites as well as the Native Americans and seeks to find ways to right these wrongs. His adventures include the unravelling of the mystery surrounding his parents’ deaths, a romance with a survivor of the Donner Party, battles against marauding Indians, and the discovery of Yosemite Valley. 

You had a full career as a middle-school teacher. Was it a natural progression to become an author of YA fiction? What can you tell us about your journey to publication? I always had a hard time going to sleep at night, so as a little girl I’d make up stories in my head to pass the time until I fell asleep. I started writing these stories down in junior high but never thought of writing as a career. After I became a middle school social studies and language arts teacher, I couldn’t find adventurous historical fiction to read in class to help my students relate to the time periods we studied, so I wrote my own to share with them. When a publisher bought my first book, The Bronze Dagger, a middle-grade novel about a 13-year-old boy in ancient Babylon, I began to write more. When I retired, I pursued writing full time. 

What is your favorite aspect of writing? My favorite aspect of writing is sharing adventurous historical fiction stories with young readers and getting them excited about history.

What do you do to prepare for writing? Since I write historical fiction, I do a lot of research. I also visit places I write about, if possible. I continually attend writer’s conferences and read books about writing to improve my craft.

Yosemite Trail Discovered is part of a series. Did you intend to create a series when you wrote the first book California Trail Discovered? Are there more books coming? I initially envisioned California Trail Discovered as a stand-alone novel. Once I began writing, however, it turned into a two-book series. In the first book, the main character, Daniel, is thirteen. In book two, almost three years have elapsed and Daniel finds himself in the California gold fields. Book one is for middle grade readers, while book two is for young adult readers. Friendships Daniel has in book one blossom into romance in book two. At this point, I only envision this as a two-book series.

You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do? I wish I was still young enough to teach in the classroom, but time moves on! I am so thankful for the young, dedicated teachers who give their all for today’s students.

What is your next project? I’m finalizing edits for a novel coming out in September 2022, Underground Scouts. This YA historical novel tells the story of six teen Scouts and Girl Guides who join forces with the Polish underground army in 1944 to oust the Germans from Warsaw. I plan to expand this into a three-novel series, following these Scouts through the Cold War (Underground Spies) and the Glasnot era (Spy Scouts). Beyond that, I hope to write a book about a Spanish character, Lorenzo de Zavala, first vice-president of the Republic of Texas. 

Where can folks find you on the web? I love connecting with readers. Here are some of my social media links:





Author Facebook Page:



Google Scholar:

Book Blurb: Join sixteen-year-old Daniel Whitcomb as he juggles a growing relationship with Virginia Reed, one of the survivors of the Donner Party, helps his Miwok friend learn how to read and write, and manages the account ledgers for his guardian, Jim Savage at his trading posts in the California gold fields.

Is Jim correct when he says, You can't possess what you can't protect? Does that justify fighting the Yosemites after they attack Jim's posts, or the Mariposa Battalion's entrance into Yosemite to rout out the Ahwahneechee? And will Daniel ever make it back to Illinois to solve the mystery of his parents' deaths?

Purchase Links: 


Barnes & Noble:

Thank you, Marie, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Connie Lewis Leonard said...

I taught Language arts and brought in as much history as I could to go along with the literature we were reading. I believe LA/English/history should be taught together.
I would love to win this book.

Betty Woods said...

Wonderful book. My granddaughter read it in 3 days.

traveler said...

This novel sounds captivating and wonderful. My granddaughters and grandsons would enjoy this story very much. Anne in NM.

petite said...

Historicals are unforgettable, meaningful and fascinating. My grandchildren would treasure this book. pearl-NM.

Melissa M. said...

This looks great! I'd read it as an adult. :) And then maybe give it to a niece or nephew.

-Melissa in TN

Marie Sontag said...

Yes, Melissa, it is also a great, fun read for adults! I hope you you to read it.

Marie Sontag said...

Connie, if you don't win a book here, check out my FB page. There is an easy way to win both Whitcomb Discovery books there. Just comment on posts I've made about my recent trip to Yosemite. There will be a drawing from all the names who posted comments on posts. The more you comment, the greater your chances to win a grand prize of both books! That contest ends in a few weeks. See:

Marie Sontag said...

Betty, thanks for your comment! Looking forward to signing your granddaughter's book.

Marie Sontag said...

Anne - Yes, I believe they would enjoy them! - Marie

Marie Sontag said...

Pearl - If your grandkids are 13 or above, this would be a fun book for them. Who doesn't like to hear about western drama? Gold? A touch of romance? Mystery?

Sharon Dahn said...

Not just for kids! Dr. Sontag writes in a manner that adults enjoy as well! I've read two books, which I am saving for my granddaughter to read, and I can't wait to read "Yosemite Trail Discovered"! I love the history of the American West, and Dr. Sontag nails each story with interesting history and detail that holds the attention of readers of ages!

Sharon Dahn said...

Not just for kids! Dr. Sontag writes in a manner that adults enjoy as well! I've read two books, which I am saving for my granddaughter to read. I recently finished "California Trail Discovered" and I can't wait to read "Yosemite Trail Discovered"! I love the history of the American West, and Dr. Sontag nails each story with interesting history and detail that holds the attention of readers of ages!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing, Sharon!

Marie Sontag said...

Congrats for willing, Melissa! Be sure to find the link on this page for "Winners!" Provide Lena with your email so we can send you your book!