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Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825 - 1894) was a Scottish author of juvenile fiction who wrote more than 100 books. He was also an accomplished artist and exhibited some of his water-colors at the Royal Scottish Academy. Ballantyne went to Canada aged 16 and spent five years working for the Hudson's Bay Company. He traded with the local Native Americans for furs, which required him to travel by canoe and sleigh to the areas occupied by the modern-day provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, experiences that formed the basis of his novel Snowflakes and Sunbeams (1856). His longing for family and home during that period impressed him to start writing letters to his mother. Ballantyne recalled in his autobiographical Personal Reminiscences in Book Making (1893) that "To this long-letter writing I attribute whatever small amount of facility in composition I may have acquired." In 1856 Ballantyne gave up job working for a publishing firm to focus on his literary career and began the series of adventure stories for the young with which his name is popularly associated. The Coral Island (1857) and more than 100 other books followed in regular succession, his rule being in every case to write as far as possible from personal knowledge of the scenes he described. --Wikipedia
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