Arts and Entertainment

Author Spotlight: Climb into a good book

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Sequim Gazette staff

Sequim author Gene Bradbury is taking to the skies with his latest children’s book.


“Cloud Climber,” a pre-teen adventure mystery, soars differently than his previous efforts as a chapter book for children ages 7-10. He’s written and published three picture books, two about Fergus the mouse and a third about a mischievous teddy bear, but Bradbury said the chapter book always was in the works in some form.


“With ‘Cloud Climber,’ I’ve had it in my mind for about 15 years,” he said, “It just took a few years to perfect it.”


The new book follows cousins Seth and Emily who must spend three weeks at their grandparents in Beatrice, a small farm town. Seth, a skateboarder at heart, dreads going and dislikes Emily’s impassioned love for reading, but a mystery unfolds before them and the pre-teens can’t help but get wrapped up in the intrigue.


Their grandpa tells Seth the mystery of Three Friends Hill and how three boys allegedly disappeared one Halloween. The cousins also see Margaret Munger, a local legend, who has ties to the creepy Banshee’s Cave.


From there they begin to uncover more mysteries that eventually lead them to an adventure bigger and higher than they’ve ever been on before.


Through the cousins’ adventures, Bradbury said there are good lessons to learn such as becoming stronger individuals and finding fun outside of today’s technology.


Originally, Bradbury plotted “Cloud Climber” as a picture book, but found the story too big. He also catered its reading to 7- to 10-year-olds because he met a lot of people requesting good materials for students that age.


For this book, Bradbury recruited  his daughter Hannah, an English teacher in Shanghai, China, to create images for each chapter and the cover. He’ll reunite later this year with Vicki Wickell-Stewart, his regular illustrator, on their third Fergus the Mouse book “The Mouse from Lighthouse Island.”


It tells the tale of two hurricanes and their effect on two lighthouse keepers: Fergus of 2011 and his grandfather from 1938 and how they must save their fellow mice.


Recently, Bradbury released two digital books “Zachariah Loves Zebras” and “The Boy who Gave Away Spring” through the site


His printed books are available at Pacific Mist Books, Amazon and Bradbury’s website and at the Sequim Library.


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