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NEW! Raleigh Harmon Young Adult Novels

Stone and Spark Stone and Snow Stone and Sand
Read more about them here

Words from Sibella

People often ask how I got involved with writing and forensic geology. Like most writers, I can't answer with one sentence. Or ten.

I'm a fourth-generation Alaskan and spent my early years among mountains. Dusky winter mornings we walked to school, even at 20-below-zero, but I don't remember the cold. I remember the scenery. Fierce angles of glaciated mountains. Shifting hues of December snow. The brisk scent of ice. And in summer: wildflowers and endless daylight.

read the blog I left Alaska for Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and majored in geology, hoping to figure out Alaska's landscape. Mostly I figured out that I'm a lousy scientist. After college, I worked on a tobacco farm, tended bar, and took odd jobs to make ends meet. In a moment of youthful folly, I sold my car, bought a motorcycle and rode from Massachusetts to Los Angeles, all the while wondering whether my mother was right about signing up for secretarial school.

Somewhere in East Texas, as the kickstand went down, I realized my favorite thing in any small town was the local newspaper. I hungered for the stories and pictures. That's when a light bulb went off—or maybe a flashlight in a leaky pup tent—but I knew. Motoring on to Seattle, I started writing for a hip rock-n-roll magazine (the only place that would hire a geologist who wanted to be a reporter). After getting a journalism degree from the University of Washington, I headed for the South, land of the great stories.

In Virginia, I wrote features for the Richmond News Leader (may it rest in peace) and later the Times-Dispatch (on life support but still breathing). A complete salmon-out-of-water, I adored that city and its many gracious inhabitants. Richmond was where I learned to write. Richmond was where I met my hunk-of-Italy husband, Joe.

And it's where I found Raleigh Harmon.

In the late 1990s I left newspapers to stay home with my young sons. Much as I enjoyed being home—and I loved it—I wondered if my mind was turning into that bowl full of mush from "Goodnight Moon." To keep some synapses firing, I wrote while the kids napped. Soon enough, this very cool young woman appeared on the page. Her name was Raleigh Harmon. Forensic geologist and FBI agent. Richmond native. From the start, she seemed like a new best friend. Raleigh talked; I took notes.

Today, Raleigh's adventures are rolling along. The Stones Cry Out appeared in 2007 and won a Christy Award for best first novel. The Rivers Run Dry (2009), The Clouds Roll Away (2010), and The Mountains Bow Down (2011) came out to great reviews. The Stars Shine Bright came out in July 2012.

I hope you're enjoying this series with the redoubtable Raleigh Harmon. Over the years, I've come to appreciate many things about her. She knows life can be seen only "through a glass darkly." She shows perseverance through trials, building endurance. And she knows how much God loves each of us, unconditionally.

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