News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters author pens new book

Sometimes it is amazing what love can do. Two years ago, they hadn’t even met. Then COVID-19 hit the U.S. in 2020 and students had to move into remote learning. Two young girls, Aila and Lily, temporarily relocated to Sisters, to their grandparents’ vacation home, getting away from the crowds of California.

One morning in late March, Jean Russell Nave — Jean Nave’s nom de plume — walked her three Scotties past the girls’ window while they were eating breakfast. The girls waved. Jean waved back. That spurred the girls into running outside to greet the Scotties. A warm friendship ignited.

Over the ensuing months the friendship grew to the point that Lily started to call Jean, Grandma Jean.

As more time passed, the girls read all of Jean’s illustrated Scottie books. Then one night they had a sleep-over at Jean’s house and they all read several books together before bedtime.

Soon after that Jean began hearing from one of her favorite book characters, Starprancer, the golden winged horse. Jean tried to ignore her prodding, but Starprancer was insistent. She told Jean she had to write another book and Aila and Lily had to be in the book.

It had been a few years since Jean had written a book about any of her Scottie dog supporting characters. Two rounds with cancer had taken the edge off that kind of flight of fantasy. But slowly a story developed that was begging for a chance.

“The power of writing fiction is that you are drawn into the characters and the story,” said Nave. “COVID-19 and politics just vanish. The world becomes beautiful and filled with everything that you love. That’s the joy of storytelling.”

Nave grew up with horses. They have always been in her blood. Her best illustrations are usually horses because she has been drawing them since she was 5 years old, when she got her first horse. In addition, Jean’s father spent many years as a small airplane pilot, so visualizing the world from a few thousand feet in the air comes naturally to her. She says those two elements are part of the charm of writing fantasy which includes flying horses.

“Starprancer at Wild Horse Cave” is an illustrated chapter book for middle-school-age readers. Starprancer asks Aila and Lily one night to help her rescue a small band of wild horses living in a wilderness area in the Ochoco Mountains. The rescue effort becomes complicated and saving a woman’s life gets into the mix. Meanwhile, the reader gets to feel the thrill of flying over the amazing Central Oregon landscape in the middle of the night. They even get to fly west, over the Three Sisters, viewing the Willamette Valley’s dramatic splashes of sparkling gold cities from the air.

“Starprancer at Wild Horse Cave” is available for $7.95 on or for $6.95 at Paulina Springs Books.


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