News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Black Butte Ranch featured in novel

Sandy Grubb, author of her debut middle grade novel "Just Like Click," will begin a Pacific Northwest book tour at Paulina Springs Books on April 16, at 6:30 p.m. Located near Black Butte Ranch, Sisters' Paulina Springs Books is an appropriate first stop for the Lake Oswego author. "Just Like Click" won the Kraken Book Prize sponsored by Regal House Publishing to recognize outstanding middle grade fiction.

"We've been coming to Black Butte Ranch for 45 years," said Grubb from her home in Lake Oswego. "I've dreamed of writing a novel since college. After hearing a children's novelist, I was inspired to write my first novel for children as well. The setting came to me before my character, Nick. Black Butte Ranch is so beautiful and has a lot of room for adventure. I chose to make Nick a boy because I have three sons. I want all children to be readers. Sometimes boys are more reluctant to read, so I wanted to make the book engaging for them too. I kept it fast paced and created a relatable character and person young people can root for."

Eleven-year-old Nick Townley is the protagonist in "Just Like Click." Growing up at Black Butte Ranch, Nick enjoyed access to the ponderosa pine forest, Cascade mountain-fed streams and the majestic volcano, Black Butte, that rises across the highway from the resort. Growing up in a development short on year-round friends and long on elderly neighbors living out their final years near his family home, Nick spends most of his time with the old folks who need his help. With an imagination that propels him into the world of superheroes, Nick finds his own way to helping others whether they're people or parrots.

When Nick's father tells him they may have to move because of thieves taking piles of lumber and undermining his father's success at a job in Sisters, Nick decides it's time to solve a crime that, so far, no adults have been able to figure out. With the help of his departed great-grandfather's words of wisdom still fresh in his mind, and new friends to support his efforts, Nick braves both two-legged and four-legged predators.

"This is a superhero story for a new era. Superheroes give us hope that we can call on superpowers we don't know we have. Reading over my own superman comic books, the language in it needed an upgrade to modern times," said Grubb. "I hope Nick will inspire young people to believe they have superpowers and can change the world. Although he's not a stand-out athlete or a straight-A student, Nick has skills as a problem-solver and a courageous will."

Grubb's education and background as an elementary school teacher, coupled with her experiences vacationing at Black Butte Ranch, provided fertile soil for the novel. Complete with comic-book-style illustrations, "Just Like Click" draws in readers with delightful chapters and humorous illustrations.

"Just Like Click" will be available for purchase at Paulina Springs Book, located at 252 W. Hood Ave.


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