Charles Martin is an unassuming New York Times bestselling author who have twelve books under his belt (he is writing his 13th as we report this) and his books are available in 17 languages. His bestselling book The Mountain Between Us is now a movie starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba. Here he shares with us how he came up with the idea and inspiration for the book.
A letter from the author:
I’m a fifth-generation Florida boy. Born and raised. I’m used to heat and sunshine. Put me in the snow and I turn into a total wimp. About a year ago, I was sitting in a plane at thirty-five thousand feet flying to Oregon, looked down upon Utah’s snow-covered mountains—not a lightbulb in sight—and wondered, “What if …”
Author with his sons fishing in Florida
By the time the plane landed, I’d scratched the following: What if a plane crashed into that mess? What if it was a small plane carrying two total strangers? What if he was happily married, headed home to his wife? What if she was headed home to her rehearsal dinner and a white dress? What if they were hurt? And what if they could expect no rescue? Months later, two friends and I traveled to the High Uintas Mountains—a wilderness spanning more than a million acres. If you ever saw Jeremiah Johnson,that’s where they filmed it. Average snowfall is 500 to 700 inches a year. Sometimes more. To me, it’s more Mars than Earth.
Charles Martin camping in the wilderness.
We rented snowmobiles and rode some sixty miles into the middle of that beautiful, magnificent, unforgiving landscape. The second night, at about two a.m., I lay staring up at a star-lit sky, thinking about my two characters. In the dark, my fingers cold, my breath blowing like smoke, the snow just beginning to fall, our fire reduced to glowing red embers, I scratched the last question: What if things are not what they seem? The Mountain Between Us is the story of an orthopedic surgeon from Jacksonville headed home after a medical conference. Waiting at the gate in the Salt Lake City airport, he meets a journalist from Atlanta making her way home to her six bride’s maids and a rehearsal dinner. Like everyone else in the airport, they are trying to outrun the storm that is inching ever closer. When the de-icer breaks, effectively killing their chances of beating the storm, they hire a charter to hop them to Denver. Standing in their way, rising some twelve thousand feet above sea level, are the High Uintas.
On the surface, it’s a story of survival—of impossible circumstances—and the man and woman who face it. Beneath that, it’s a story of laughter, hope, brokenness, friendship, and a tender love risked by few and shared by even less. I hope you enjoy it.