After surviving a kidnapping attempt in the Maldives, Chase and Mackenzie are off to the Ice Hotel in Iceland! What could go wrong there? But as soon as they arrive, accidents start to occur that seem targeted to scare – or worse, seriously hurt – the guests. When a body shows up frozen in an ice bed, it’s up to the two girls to figure out who is behind the attacks …before anyone else gets hurt!
Published by Scholastic
10 Random Things about Mystery at the Ice Hotel
By Sara Grant
Here are 10 random facts about the research and writing of Mystery at the Ice Hotel. In no particular order…
1. Inspired by actual events
I adore snow. Growing up in Indiana in the U.S., I was used to at least one big snowfall a winter. I’ve lived in London for nearly 13 years, and I miss the white stuff. In 2009 my husband surprised me with a snow-filled holiday to celebrate a significant birthday. Our itinerary included Stockholm, Bergen, a cruise down the Norwegian Fjords and a visit to an ice hotel in the Arctic Circle. It was an amazing trip. Within five minutes of arriving at the ice hotel resort, I was already plotting murder and mayhem – only the imaginary kind!
2. Illusive lights
In Mystery at the Ice Hotel, Chase and Mackenzie are treated to an amazing Northern Lights show; something I’ve never managed to see. We glimpsed a trace of them during the trip I mentioned above. A few years later, we travelled to Iceland during prime Northern Lights spotting season. No luck. We even stayed at the Northern Lights Inn near the Blue Lagoon. Nope!
3. What’s in a name?
I switched my main characters names. I knew I wanted my dynamic duo to be named Mackenzie & Chase. Originally Chase was named Mackenzie and Mackenzie was Chase. As the characters developed, I realized that Chase was a better name for my feisty, athletic main character.
4. Mac & Cheese
While creating Chasing Danger, I nick named my characters Mac & Cheese. I don’t refer to them as this in the story, but it has become a sort of pet name for my lovely main characters.
Oh, and my fave mac & cheese recipe can be found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/271998/perfect-macaroni-and-cheese
It’s from Martha Stewart, and it’s been a speciality of mine for about fifteen years. It’s a layer of macaroni cheese, a layer of two kinds of cheeses and then…wait for it…buttery croutons on top.
5. If only!
The book’s setting was inspired by my trip to a real ice hotel, but many details about the Winter Wonder Resort in the book are merely figments of my imagination. I’ve created an ice maze, for example, which I think would be uber cool (pun intended). I’m hoping the folks that create the Ice Hotel this year (Did you know the real one melts every summer, and they have to completely rebuild it?) will read my book and create a real-live ice maze.
6. White Hat Hackers
Sometimes I spend way too much time researching a tiny detail for the book. For example, Mackenzie can’t use her real name in Mystery at the Ice Hotel because of the deadly events that happened in the first Chasing Danger. I wondered what name my computer geeky Mackenzie would pick for herself. I thought she’d definitely pick a name that was a tribute to one of her tech heroes. I discovered that there are folks known as White Hat Hackers. They are like the Robin Hoods of computer hacking. I invented a White Hat Hacker named Berkeley as Mackenzie’s hero. I spent way too much time on this and then wrote a page or so about it in the book, which I later cut, but I have a feeling you’ll see a White Hat Hacker in one of my future books.
Mystery at the Ice Hotel introduces a set of prankster twins – Toby and Taylor. Similar to the above, I spent way too much time researching all kinds of pranks they could pull. I only used a fraction of what I discovered in my research, but I’m sure I’ll find a use for some of these pranks – either in future fiction or real life!
8. Strange, but true
Did you know that the dogsled dogs don’t stop to relieve themselves so if they need the loo they just go while they’re running? Someone shared this fun fact with me before I went on a dogsled. I didn’t experience this first hand, thank goodness, but did allow another couple to ride ahead of me when I went on a dogsled. Was that wrong?
9. Inside Joke
I often include little inside jokes in my stories, just winks or connections that no one may ever uncover but that make me laugh. One example is naming two connected characters in Mystery at the Ice Hotel Shauna and Parker. This is my tiny tribute to two of my heart throbs when I was in primary school. I LOVED The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew TV show. (Yes, it was certainly inspiration for Chasing Danger.) The actors who played Frank and Joe Hardy were named Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy. Shaun was my first celebrity crush. I had all his albums and many, many photos of him on my young teen walls. In Mystery at the Ice Hotel, Shauna and Parker are girls, however.
10. Introducing…young author Jessica Webster
I serve as The Broxbourne School’s Patron of Reading. I works closely with the school and its dedicated, creative and enthusiastic librarians to promote reading for pleasure and create a genuine reading culture in the school. As part of this role, in the spring of 2016, I launched the school’s first creative writing competition. Nearly 150 students participated. They were asked to write a 500-word mystery inspired by my Chasing Danger series. (I’ve created a worksheet on how to create a mystery the Chasing Danger way. It’s on my web site: http://www.sara-grant.com/chasing-danger/how-to-write-a-mystery-worksheet/) The competition was steep with murder and mayhem from around the globe, but Jessica Webster’s exciting tale, titled “The Saboteur”, won. Scholastic agreed to publish Jessica’s story in the back of Mystery at the Ice Hotel. I am thrilled to be part of giving this young writer her first publishing credit.
About the Author
Sara writes and edits fiction for children and teens. Her new series Chasing Danger is an action-adventure series for tweens. Dark Parties, her first young adult novel, won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award for Europe. As a freelance editor of series fiction, she has worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books. Sara was born and raised in Washington, Indiana. She graduated from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and psychology, and later she earned a master’s degree in creative and life writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She lives in London. www.sara-grant.com