By Mary Pauline Lowry
Before I wrote my novel Wildfire I spent two years working as a wildland firefighter. Here are five facts about my experiences.
Julie has an obsession with fire that began after her parents died when she was twelve years old. Her pyromania leads her to take an unlikely job as a forest firefighter on an elite, Type 1 “Hotshot” crew of forest firefighters who travel the American West battling wildfires. The only woman on the twenty person crew, Julie struggles both to prove her worth and find a place of belonging in the dangerous, insular, and very masculine world of fire (while also fighting against an eating disorder she's had since her teens). As her season “on the line” progresses so do her relationships with the strange and varied cast of characters that make up her hotshots team—and she learns what it means to put your life on the line for someone else.
Wildfire is a tough, gritty, and fascinating story from an exciting new voice in American fiction. Fans of the movie Backdraft or Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild will enjoy this fast paced debut.
Lowry has written essays for The New York Times Magazine, xoJane, the Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, among others.