Jungle Crossing is a middle grade novel - I envy Sydney her range! Here's the synopsis:
Thirteen-year-old Kat can think of dozens of good reasons not to go on a boring family vacation to hot, grungy Mexico. Number one: missing her friend Fiona's minicamp. If she's not there, she'll begin eighth grade as a social reject. And it looks like she's the odd girl out on vacation, too. When Kat's parents arrange for her and her younger sister, Barb, to go on a teen adventure tour, Barb makes more friends than she does. The only person who will talk to Kat is Nando, a young Mayan guide (who happens to be quite a cutie). Each day as they travel to different Mayan ruins, Nando tells Kat and Barb another installment in the original legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the Ancient Maya. The dangerous, dramatic world in which Muluc lives is as full of rivalry, betrayal, jealousy, and sacrifice as Kat's world at school. And as she makes new friends and discovers new treasures in Mexico, Kat begins to wonder: Is she willing to keep sacrificing her self in exchange for popularity?
Sydney Salter's fascination with Mayan culture started when she was six years old and climbed down a steep, dimly lit stone staircase to the elaborately carved tomb of King Pacal who had once ruled Palenque. Visiting Mayan ruins, walking through fragrant Mexican market places, watching women wash clothes in a river, and chasing lizards in the jungle ignited the spark in Sydney's imagination that led to writing Jungle Crossing. Sydney now lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and two dogs. She loves reading, writing, cooking, and traveling—especially to Mexico where she can explore ancient Mayan ruins and swim in underground rivers.
Thai food or Chinese?
Advice for writers in 5 words or less.
Read a lot of books!
What are you reading right now?
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.
Cure for a bad review?
One part self pity, two parts chocolate.
Spicy or mild?
Bring on the chilies!
Snakes or tortoises?
Tortoises--I have two and they are SO cute. I like snakes, but I don't like holding them.
Sunbathe or snorkel?
Snorkel. Part of me still wishes I could've been a marine biologist.
Fruit or vegetables?
Juicy ripe fruit.
Coffee or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate--just like the Mayans.
Thanks for indulging our curiosity, Sydney! (Part of me still wishes I could’ve been a marine biologist, too.) :-)