I was asked to write a guest blog about my latest book, Secrets Abound in Missing Lake, and I’m absolutely flattered. Anybody who knows me knows I love talking about my books!
Secrets Abound in Missing Lake is the third book in a series that follows 15 year-old Luke Houser after he and his family moved to rural western Montana. Luke and his dad are training to become competitive mushers and they have a fairly large kennel of Alaskan Husky sled dogs. They live outside of fictional Missing Lake, where Luke attends high school and where his step-mom, Jackie has her veterinary clinic.
In the first two books, readers got to meet Luke and his new friends, including Tabitha, an enormous crimson dragon who lives deep within a mountain lair north of Missing Lake with her quirky Dragoneer, Oscar. Not only does Luke have to deal with being the new kid in town, he also has to carry around the enormous secret of living with dragons. It makes for some interesting conversations around the supper table for Luke, his dad and Jackie, (who all know), especially when Tabitha brings the silver dragon, Zagros into the mix and they hatch a couple of eggs.
In Secrets Abound in Missing Lake, the school year is finishing and Luke’s friends finally convince him to attend a high school dance. I really focused on developing the inter-personal relationships between Luke and his friends in this book and allowed them all to grow up a little bit. Luke is forced to make some big decisions in this book and learns that there are always consequences to our choices.
Luke’s internal monologue keeps readers aware of his thoughts and concerns about adolescence and the way things are changing beyond his control. His sense of humor and awkwardness are charming and funny and I thoroughly enjoy “hanging out” with him and his friends as I write. Luke learns more about a few of his friends, perhaps more than he wanted, and I felt like there was some real personal growth happening right on the pages.
The dragon eggs hatch in this book and there is a need to choose significant names to go with the baby dragons’ colors. The baby’s lives aren’t without some drama that brings Luke and Jackie to the lair in a hurry one day while bringing Luke even closer to Tabitha and Zagros.
I have always had goals with my books and sharing a positive step-parent and step-child relationship was certainly one of them. Luke’s mom does have a larger presence in this book, too, as Luke shares some of his tales from his spring break visit to see her in Vancouver, Canada.
Another goal is to share a little of the amazing world of sled dogs and the mushers who keep them. As a veterinarian myself, I’ve learned a lot about the noble athletes who pull their sleds and we even were fortunate enough to have a stunning former running Husky ourselves for many years.
I truly enjoy all of my characters, especially the dragons, and the beautiful mountains of Montana where we live and I hope my readers do as well. I grew up in British Columbia and even though I have lived in North Dakota for many years, (where Luke and his family originally moved from), the mountains have always moved me. I love the idea that when I look off towards the local Swan or Mission Mountain ranges that maybe, just maybe, there are dragon lairs within.