R. M. Ballantyne eBooks
R. M. Ballantyne (24 April 1825 – 8 February 1894) was a Scottish juvenile fiction writer.
Born Robert Michael Ballantyne in Edinburgh, he was part of a famous family of printers and publishers. At the age of 16 he went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. He returned to Scotland in 1847, and published his first book the following year, Hudson's Bay: or, Life in the Wilds of North America. For some time he was employed by Messrs Constable, the publishers, but in 1856 he gave up business for the profession of literature, and began the series ofadventure stories for the young with which his name is popularly associated.
Ballantyne was also an accomplished artist, and exhibited some of his water-colours at the Royal Scottish Academy. He lived in later years at Harrow, and died in Rome, Italy, where he had gone to attempt to shake off the results of overwork. He wrote a volume of Personal Reminiscences of Book Making (1893).
From the age of 16 to 22, Robert was hired to work in Canada by the Hudson's Bay Company. There he would trade with the local Native Americans and trappers in some of the most remote regions described as "the wilds of Canada". He would later base his book Snowflakes and Sunbeams on his adventures.
His longing for family and home impressed him to start writing letters to his mother. This was the beginning of a long love of writing. Ballantyne would later recall in his Personal Reminiscences of Book Making, "To this long-letter writing I attribute whatever small amount of facility in composition I may have acquired."
In 1847 he returned to Scotland to find out that his father was dead. The news was devastating, but he would press on, and in the year 1857 he published his first great work, The Coral Island. Nevertheless, because of one mistake he had made in The Coral Island, in which he gave an incorrect thickness of coconut shells, Ballantyne would travel all over the world to gain first-hand knowledge of his subject matter and to research the backgrounds of his stories. For example, he served for a while as a London fireman while researching Fighting the Flames. For his great book Deep Down he spent time with the tin miners of Cornwall.