Twelve-year-old Spencer Gray is ecstatic he is finally old enough to join his father in his glider, hoping it will make all of his friends jealous.
Spencer is amazed when he takes to the air in a craft with no engine, soaring high above the ground and watching trees, paddocks and houses whiz passed underneath them.
Then disaster strikes.
Spencer’s story is the premise behind Hamilton Hill author Deb Fitzpatrick’s new book, The Amazing Spencer Gray.
The story came from Fitzpatrick’s own experiences, when she got lost in the Stirling Ranges.
‘We made it onto the road just on nightfall and we later read in a guide that we had traversed the ‘previously unexplored’ southern side of Bluff Knoll.
‘I had heard of a gliding accident happening there in recent years and put those two things together with Spencer Gray firmly in the middle.’
A fiction book aimed at children aged eight to 12, Fitzpatrick said she wanted to create a book that children would not only enjoy reading, but also give them more confidence in reading.
She said her previous books in 90 Packets of Instant Noodles and Have You Seen Ally Queen? played a role in how this latest book came about.
‘I wrote 90 Packets of Instant Noodles from the point of view of a 15-year-old boy, which really helped me feel confident in writing again from a boy’s perspective,’ she said.
‘When I wrote Have You Seen Ally Queen? I learned a great deal about the importance of creating a sympathetic protagonist.’
The Amazing Spencer Gray is available from Fremantle Press at www.fremantlepress.com.au