February 2005

Stephanie S. Tolan

Author's Notes, February 2005

It was my intention to do these notes monthly, but there has been a fairly long gap, partly thanks to the holidays, visitors, and considerable travel, and partly because our cat, Sunny, (an extraordinary, splendid cat!) got very sick in late summer. Whenever I could be home during the last few months, I spent a lot of extra time with him. He died in mid-January and left a large hole in our lives. I very much miss having a family member who curls up in my lap and purrs! If any of you have lost a beloved pet, youíll know it can be very hard.

But writers are lucky to have a way to commemorate special events, or special people, or special animals. We can write them into a story. As I told web visitors in my September Authorís Notes, my first picture book, Bartholomewís Blessing,  came out in October. Thanks to the wonderful experience of reading and signing that book in schools and bookstores, I got to know a whole new audience of younger kids, and began thinking about the possibilities of shorter stories. Little by little, a story grew, and in late December and January I wrote a picture book about Sunny. When it comes out, some piece of his amazing spirit will have come alive again, and Iíll be able to share it with the world.

Meantime, the two dogs, Samantha and Coyote, demand their daily walks and play times, the goldfish circle their bowl, the birds come to our feeders, and the other wild creatures who live in and around our lake and woods go about their daily lives. I am reminded every day of the special joy animals bring to our hearts.

As spring begins to show its first approach in North Carolina (daffodil greens are coming up!) Iím focused on writing Beyond the Dark, the third book in the Ark trilogy (see Welcome to the Ark and Flight of the Raven) and looking forward to the final editing work on Listen!, the novel that is due out in the spring of 2006. Iíll tell you more about that one in an upcoming Authorís Notes.

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