Scholastic selects Dark Hills Divide as lead title - 2004

Patrick Carman, the Walla Walla author who moved from self-publishing to the world of big-time literature, is on the move. Literally. Carman, whose children’s book “The Dark Hills Divide” attracts Harry Potter-like lines at bookstore signings, says: “Scholastic has made The Dark Hills Divide’ their lead title for 2005 and the book releases in hardback on Dec. 28. I’ll be doing a four-month, coast-to-coast tour in a bus with my family, visiting hundreds of schools and bookstores. It should be quite a ride!” No doubt.Carman reports that Scholastic will run an initial printing of 400,000 copies. And, he adds, “Every Barnes and Noble and Borders in the country will be using a floor display.””The Dark Hills Divide,” a fantasy novel that Carman invented while telling stories to his daughter, tells the story of a young girl, 12-year-old Alexa Daley.While spending the summer with her father in the walled town of Bridewell, she stumbles onto the reasons why there are such walls in the first place. They have to do with a presence in the dark woods that cover the distant hills.Pretty soon Alexa is caught up in a classic tale of good versus evil. The question is, where does the evil exist: outside or inside the walls?”The Dark Hills Divide” is the first book in Carman’s “Land of Elyon” series. And, as he said in an interview in May, what separates the book from other fantasies is its protagonist. “If you look across the landscape of work that’s out there for young adults, there really aren’t that many where there’s a female heroine who doesn’t get bailed out in the end,” he said. “There’s always some other character, a guy usually, who helps her.”I really felt like I wanted to write a book in which the world revolved around one really strong female character.”

Patrick Carman