About the Author
Penny is an author, a bookseller, and a storyteller who lives in Victoria, BC. Originally from Toronto, she received a degree in Literature from Trinity College, University of Toronto and on the side, attended the Storytellers' School of Toronto.
For many years, Penny shared tales as a professional storyteller at schools, libraries, conferences, festivals, and on radio and television. She has told stories in an Arabian harem and from inside a bear's belly - but that is a story in itself.
Penny Draper's first juvenile fiction novel, Terror at Turtle Mountain, was a finalist for the Silver Birch Young Reader's Choice Award in Ontario, as well as the Diamond Willow Award, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and Book of the Year for the ForeWord Magazine Awards in the USA. It is part of Coteau Books for Kids Disaster Strikes! Series. The series also includes Penny's second book, Peril at Pier Nine, also a finalist for the Silver Birch Young Reader's Choice Award, Graveyard of the Sea, winner of the Bolen Book Prize and a Moonbeam Children's Award, and her latest A Terrible Roar of Water.
From the author: I have always loved sharing stories. When I was out with my children, driving in the car or waiting in the grocery store lineup, there wasn't always a book handy so I started to tell stories without a book. I told lots and lots of stories until my brain filled up and there was no more room. That's when I started to write my stories down; I needed to make room in my head!
I first heard the true tale of the disaster at Turtle Mountain from another storyteller and I wanted to learn more about this piece of Canadian history. The research led me to visit the Frank Slide, which is an awe-inspiring place. The huge limestone boulders still lay where they fell over a hundred years ago and to this day hardly any trees or plants grow there. I couldn't help but wonder how terrifying it must have been to be living in Frank that night so I created Nathalie, my heroine. By writing Nathalie's story, I could see the slide through her eyes. That led me to other disasters in other parts of Canada, and other characters like Jack and Nell who also had stories to tell. Sometimes my children call me the "Disaster Queen." They say that's an entirely appropriate description of me.
Finalist, Silver Birch Young Readers' Choice Award
Finalist, Diamond Willow Young Readers' Choice Award
Finalist, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Writing for Young People