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Betty G. Yee Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Betty G. Yee is an American author of young adult and historical fiction books best known for her debut novel, Gold Mountain. She was born and raised in Massachusetts and spent most of her childhood reimagining her favorite stories and writing sequels. Betty has worked as an elementary school teacher for more than two decades. When not writing or teaching, you will find her cycling, eating French fries, traveling, and enjoying the works of other writers. She lives with her two pet cats, Piper and Zara. Her literary works can be found in Hunger Mountain, The Drum Literary Magazine, RAZ Kids, and Frost Fire Worlds.

Gold Mountain introduces us to Tam Ling Fan, living her best comfortable life in 1860’s China. Her father is an affluent man in society with enough wealth to provide for his family but is not willing to spare his daughter Tam from the debilitating-foot binding needed by most rich girls. But Tam’s life takes a twisted turn when her brother dies of influenza, and then worse enough for her, her father is charged with false accusations and then imprisoned. To earn enough money to get her father released from prison, Tam Ling disguises herself as a boy and uses her brother’s contracts to work for the Central Pacific Railroad Company in America.
Betty, G. Yee’s debut novel Gold Mountain is grueling and dangerous. To construct the railroad connecting the west coast to the east parts, Tam Ling and the Chinese laborers would have to blast rocks and lay tracks through the dangerous terrains of the Sierra Nevada, facing avalanches, cave-ins, blizzards, and other hostilities from the Americans. But when Tam Ling’s long-kept secret is threatened to be resurfaced, she is forced to take a greater risk to save whatever is left of her family and come out of Gold Mountain alive.

Bett Yee gives us a glimpse of China’s rough and corrupt nature, with the rule of law being much of a dream than a reality. The story’s heart lies in how the main character will stop at nothing to make enough money to free her father from prison, which changes the experiences that transform her inside and out. Through her journey, she meets different Americans, a strange culture she had never been exposed to, finds herself in the middle of an opium trade, and along the way is forced to make a decision of how much she is willing to compromise their personality and morals for the sake of freeing her mother.

The inspiration behind Gold Mountain came from Betty G. Yee’s curiosity about the Chinese workers who arrived through the transcontinental railroad. As she researched for more information about them, two things stood out. The first and most important was the hardships the foreigners experienced. The second aspect was the lack of clear and well-documented information about them. Who were these sojourners, and why did they come to America? How were their lives as sojourners? The lack of clear information about these foreigners inspired Betty to write this story.

Betty’s research on Gold Mountain began with first getting a general sense of the time period of the setting- the United States and China. This would give her a perspective of the big events that occurred before and after the years that Gold Mountain took place. One of the invaluable resources was Stephen E. Ambrose’s book, “Nothing Like It in World.” She drafted timelines of the major events in the Central Pacific’s progress as she wanted to embed as much information of that even into the novel as possible.

The road to Gold Mountain’s publication was a very long one. According to an online interview, the author admitted that she started Gold Mountains as a personal project and only shared it in her writing group and several writing classes. Betty was inspired to submit the work to SCBWI’s 2011 Works-In Progress Grant contest through such platform encouragement. The story won the contest, which incentivized the author to make an effort toward publication. But then, that only marked many more years of heavy and endless revisions before it was published. Overall, the Gold Mountain book is perfectly suited to expose history students to a time in history that most of us know little about.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Betty G. Yee

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