Interview & Giveaway: In Sight of the Mountain

Happy Monday, dear readers! Today on the blog I have an interview with Jamie McGillen, who is currently on Blog Tour for In Sight of the Mountain! I hope you enjoy it! Don't forget to enter the giveaway 😀

Hello Jamie and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about In Sight of the Mountain!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

Sure! My day job is teaching English at a local college and I love it. I don’t get a lot of writing time, but I try to steal it when I can. I primarily write fiction and poetry, but I do have a few published essays as well.

What inspired you to write In Sight of the Mountain?

I really wanted to tell the story of a woman in the late nineteenth century who was struggling for agency. It was a really interesting time period in American history, when people just weren’t sure what to think of women. Should we let them help chop down trees and build houses because we don’t have enough men? Should they be able to get a university education, but not be allowed to vote? The logical answers to these questions were starting to emerge, even though it challenged the social norms.

What research did you undertake when writing In Sight of the Mountain?

I spent a lot of time looking through the special collections at the University of Washington. They have so many incredible aspects of history saved—letters, journals, newspapers, photos, etc. I also spent time at the Washington State History museum and the Duwamish Longhouse.

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scene to write was the Christmas scene. The first version was crap and I had a good back and forth with my editor about the potential of the scene. After I revised it I realized she was right, and I love that scene now!

What was the most difficult scene to write?

I’ll be a little cryptic here because the real answer contains spoilers. But, I really didn’t want to write a scene that had to do with a confession that comes at the end. I avoided it for a few drafts, but a few of my beta readers told me they really needed to see it to have closure, so I wrote it!

What does your daily writing routine look like?

At this point, there is no routine. I’m just trying to get through the end of fall quarter and give my students as much of myself as I can. I’m going on a writing retreat shortly after Christmas and I’ll have a full 48 hours to write, and I’m super excited about that!

Who are your writing inspirations?

Annie Dillard, always and forever.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I fell in love with the American Girl books when I was about 8 years old. I loved learning the stories of these girls that were set in different time periods. Now, I collect vintage children’s books and I have quite a collection of American Girl books that were printed in the 80s.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Shortly after finishing my book last year, I went to the Washington State book awards (because my editor’s book was nominated). There I met J. Anderson Coates and picked up her book THE MANY REFLECTIONS OF MISS JANE DEMING which is a middle grade historical fiction book set in mid nineteenth century Seattle, so just a couple decades before my story begins. I had a great talk with her about historical research, and I really enjoyed the book. Now I’m getting started on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s THE WATER DANCER.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I’ve traveled to about 30 countries, and I own a family travel blog. I don’t post there often, but many of the articles remain quite popular on Pinterest. And lastly, I don’t really like traveling that much anymore, HA!

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I’m a homebody and a mother. I like to cuddle with my kids.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m working on a sequel to IN SIGHT OF THE MOUNTAIN!

In Sight of the Mountain by Jamie McGillen

Publication Date: September 4, 2019
The Evergreen Bookshelf
eBook & Paperback; 356 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

~ Inspired by the trailblazing women of the 19th Century who dared to summit Mount Rainier ~

In the devastating aftermath of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire, nineteen-year-old Anna Gallagher faces considerable pressure to marry well and soon.

She has two serious suitors: a well-meaning but condescending doctor, and an evasive fisherman who challenges her mind. But Anna has no intention of giving up her freedom to keep house; she has a dream to reach the summit of Mount Rainier.

Despite her family’s disapproval and her own self-doubt, she secretly trains, raises money for supplies, and buys a train ticket to the base of the mountain. If she succeeds in reaching its icy peak, she could pioneer the way for women mountaineers; but it’s a tall task and there’s much at risk—including the heart of a man who just might love her as an equal.

On the journey, Anna will face glaciers, avalanches, and frozen temperatures, all without knowing if she even has a family or a future to return to.

In Sight of the Mountain is a charming coming-of-age story, but it also casts the reader’s gaze upon issues of colonialism, class, and women’s far-too-narrow options.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


"Focusing on themes of the liberation of women, the American class system and effects of colonialism, this intelligent and heart-warming novel introduces us to Anna Gallagher at the tender age of nineteen... In an epic and gripping work of historical fiction with modern sensibilities, author Jamie McGillen gives you everything you could possibly hope for in this inspiring and dramatic tale... Overall, In Sight of the Mountain is the perfect historical read for fans of pioneering heroes and tales of triumph over discrimination." --K.C. Finn, Reader's Favorite (5 Star Review)

"As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I found it entertaining to try to picture Seattle as a frontier town and see Mount Rainier without its modern trappings. The story begins with the 1889 Seattle fire (a true event) and I was immediately hooked... In all, In Sight of the Mountain is a really great read--compelling, educational, containing complex characters and a well-crafted plot. Recommended for all readers YA and up who enjoy historical fiction. I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could." --Donna Gielow McFarland, Reader's Favorite (5 Star Review)

About the Author

Jamie McGillen lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier, and no matter how many times she moves away, it draws her home. Everything about large evergreen trees delights her, except how poky they are, and the sap. Her poems and essays have been published in numerous literary journals, and she teaches English Composition at Highline College. When she's not teaching or cutting strawberries for her starving children, she enjoys writing rhyming poetry, but it's simply not as popular as it used to be. You can find out more about her at You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 18
Review at The Green Mockingbird

Tuesday, November 19
Review at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, November 21
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Friday, November 22
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, November 25
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, November 26
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, November 27
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Friday, November 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, December 2
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 5
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, December 6
Review at Passages to the Past


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback back copy of In Sight of the Mountain! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

In Sight of the Mountain

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