2015 Feature: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

I'm very excited to kick off my Most Anticipated of 2015 feature with an upcoming release that I have already read and adored, Under a Painted Sky. I can't wait to get the chance to rave about this one to you, but for now the lovely author is here to get you in the feel of the novel.

First, here's a bit about the book:
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee.

To be published: March 17, 2015
by: Putnam Juvenile.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity.

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

Sounds pretty fantastic, doesn't it? I can vouch for it's excellence but Stacey here's to share a little taste with you herself. Welcome, Stacey!

Write What You Don't Know -Ticket To Adventure

I have a confession to make.  I never played the Oregon Trail game. This, despite UNDER A PAINTED SKY being set on the Oregon Trail.  I actually didn't even know the game existed until I started doing the research for UAPS, so the thought that a whole generation of Oregon Trail-experts might be reading my book makes me want to stick my head in a butter churner. 

To make things harder for me, I didn't study about the OT in school when I was a kid; there was no panning for gold, no corn husk dolls. You may ask, why the blazes did I want to write about it?

The conventional wisdom is to write what you know.  I always thought, if I did that, then I would be pretty limited in what I can write about.  I much prefer to write what I don't know and learn something new.  

The Trail was over 2,000 miles long and most pioneers walked those miles on foot to avoid having to pop two Tylenol after a day of head jarring bumpity bump in the wagon.  It took about six months to travel, and timing was crucial, as you wanted to arrive before it began to snow, but couldn't leave much before March or the grass wouldn't be long enough for your oxen to graze on.  The terminally sick were sometimes left on the side of the road to die, and sometimes even graves were dug for them, so they could just fall in when ready.  Cholera was a constant danger, and pioneers would devise elaborate cures for it, such as tying raw chicken to one's leg.  Now isn't all that fascinating?!

I see writing as a ticket to adventure.  I love forging new paths into areas that are foreign to me.  The great thing about researching a particular time in history is that I get to experience what it felt like to live during that time, without any of the inconveniences of actually living there.  I don't have to worry about not having a bath for months, or eating moldy corn gruel every night.  Writing UNDER A PAINTED SKY gave me an appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit.   People back then were made of strong stuff.  There were no hotels, stores, bathrooms, 24 hour pharmacies.  It was you and the open sky, and the only way you survived was by believing in yourself. I love to explore classic themes like this in ways that are new, at least to me.  I hope it brings a freshness to the page.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a 1906 earthquake to live through, and I don't want to miss it.

Thank you, Stacey! I can't wait to see what you do with that 1906 earthquake! And I can't wait for everyone else to read Under a Painted Sky!

Preorder Under a Painted Sky here: Amazon US // Amazon Canada // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // IndieBound // The Book Depository

Follow Stacey here: Facebook // Twitter // Website

So tell me why you're excited about Under the Painted Sky and I will confirm that those dreams will come true with this one. Trust me!


  1. Oh man, I never took the proper time to read this synopsis, but now that I have, I have to say: this book speaks to me.

    The two main characters are POCs + friendships + set on the Oregon Trail? Ummm, YES PLEASE. I really hope it's kick ass. :D

  2. Can't wait to see this wonderful story in the bookstores! Many pictures will be taken. Congrats Stacey.


I'd love to hear what you think!