MINNEAPOLIS — Mason City native Ralph S. Bovard has released a book for young adults, "Gilly & the Snowcats."
Bovard, a 1971 graduate of Mason City High School, dedicated the book to his mom, Eugenia Bovard, who died in 2011. His dad, retired Iowa District Court Judge Gilbert K. Bovard, lives in Clear Lake and "still thumps me at cribbage at age 89," Bovard said.
"Gilly & the Snowcats" is the coming-of-age story about a courageous young woman seeking freedom and success on her own terms.
Gillian Wells, 12, lives in Anchorage, Alaska. Her father was a well-known dog musher who had raced in the Iditarod Dog Sled Race but has retired from racing and sold his dogs.
Gilly is inspired by female Iditarod racers. When she discovers Freya, the Swedish goddess who traveled in a chariot pulled by felines, she dreams of entering the Iditarod dogsled race with a team of cats. To do so, she must endure and overcome the brutality of the Alaskan winter, savage beasts and human evil in her journey through the wilderness.
Bovard is a member of the Society for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Loft writing studio in Minneapolis.
He has a bachelor of arts in literature from St. Olaf College and an MD from the University of Minnesota. He has served as an Everest expedition doctor, a missionary doctor in Papua New Guinea, a set physician on the films "Cliffhanger" and "The River Wild," and a base physician at Palmer Station in Antarctica.
He was an executive producer on the film "The Quiet Hour," and is collaborating on a screenplay called "The White Shaman" with writers/directors Sean McConville and Stephanie Joalland of London-based Frenzy Films.
He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Marnie.
He has endorsements from Olympic cross-country skier Jessie Diggins; Marti Erickson, co-founder of the Children & Nature Network; French screenwriter Stephanie Joalland; wilderness writer Jonathan Waterman, author of "Surviving Denali" (1984), which Bovard helped edit; and Mason City native Johnny Hugo of Workday.
He hopes to donate profits to Camp Fire MN, the Ann Bancroft Foundation, Kikkan Randall's "Fast & Female," a children's cancer society, the MacNider Art Museum, the Clear Lake Arts Center and the Humane Society.
The book is illustrated by Elisabeth Alba of western Massachusetts, an illustrator of fantasy, new age, children’s and middle-grade publications.
The book is available in Print on Demand (POD) and in eBook format on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
For information, visit www.gillyandthesnowcats.com.