Chasing the Blue Sky follows the life of a shelter dog from one home to the next. Why was this an important book for you to write?
There are so many animals in our shelter and adoption system that it is often improbable for people to actually place an individual face or story with many of them. They are often relegated to statistics or ambiguous shadows behind kennel fencing. I wanted to write a story to help capture for people the vibrant life that exists in every one of those statistics or shadows. Having spent a great deal of time around shelters and dogs that have otherwise been abandoned on chains or in backyard kennels, I have seen so many dogs with great possibilities for life who were restricted based on their circumstances. The intent of the book was to try and show people that every one one of those dogs is rich, hopeful, and brimming with the chance to bestow the amazing gifts that all dogs give to us. I wanted to bring people behind the kennel walls using Toby’s story as a vehicle to share the voice of so many forgotten animals.
The story is told from the eyes of a dog, and delivers innocent but intuitive views of the world. What were some inspirations for Toby’s character?
Toby was particularly inspired by my first dog, Mack. Mack was a black and white pit bull mix who was adopted as a puppy from a city shelter. He was such an amazing dog – loving, kind, smart, and patient. He was everything anyone could ask for in a dog. But before I adopted him, he was a dog in a kennel. He may have been overlooked a hundred times and depending on the circumstances he found himself in, he may never have had the deserved chance to show everything he was capable of showing. He inspired me to let the world know that there are countless dogs just like Mack that, if given the chance, will be the greatest gift you may ever know.
The story is heartfelt and beautifully told. What were some of your driving ideals throughout the story?
As mentioned above, I wanted to bring people closer to so many dogs that are so often forgotten. My driving ideal was to be true to the reality of the world. It would have been very easy to write a book that was upbeat, and happy, and full of feel-good moments, but that would have been disingenuous. The book tells stories that I have personally seen over and over again over the past 15 years. This is real life. Often it is gritty and tough to see. Sometimes the situations in the book are tough to read but to address the problems facing thousands of dogs in our country, we must first face the truth. I also wanted to portray some of the unique challenges facing pit bull type dogs. These situations are also based on real stories and scenarios I have come across or personally dealt with. The world is harder if you’re a pit bull type dog and it is important for people to understand the obstacles arrayed against these dogs.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My focus is on books that promote the integrity, rights, and interests of animals. I am currently working on a second book which takes a very different theme. This book is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel set in the aftermath of a pandemic. The story follows the owner of a neglected roadside zoo, his personal journey to survive, and the evolution of his view of animals in light of the savagery of man that has suddenly engulfed his world. I expect it to be released early Summer 2019.
When life with his loving family takes a sudden turn, Toby finds himself fighting to survive in the unforgiving world of the county animal shelter. But he’s not alone – a motley cast of homeless dogs and a devoted pair of shelter workers will give anything to make sure he finds his forever home.
Chasing the Blue Sky is the compelling, emotional story of one dog’s journey to find his place in the great big world. Readers have described it as “Beautiful,” “Brilliant,” “Poignant,” “Powerful,” and “Gripping.”
If you’ve ever adopted, rescued, or fostered a dog – this book is for you.
Posted in Interviews
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Lucy’s First Christmas, written by Rolynda Tassan and illustrated by Ruby Wheeler, is the heartwarming tale of Lucy the rescue cat’s first Christmas with her adoptive family. Like any other cat, her curiosity wins out, and she becomes entangled, literally, in the preparations for the coming holiday. From present-wrapping to light-stringing, Lucy is allowed to be a part of it all. Lucy is even afforded her first trip into the snowy outdoors and is a part of the family’s Christmas read-aloud. This particular book is the third in a series of stories written about Lucy and her adventures.
Tassan has written a much-needed tale with Lucy’s First Christmas. As a mother, teacher, and adoptive parent of three rescue pets, I don’t see enough of these books on the shelves. There is a joy like no other in watching a shelter pet bloom in a loving home. The author captures this feeling quite well with Lucy’s Christmas experiences. She describes each family member’s patience with the curious cat and demonstrates the various ways in which the family involves the pets in their routines. The love between the family and Lucy is mutual and communicated well throughout the book.
Any parent or teacher choosing this book to read with children will find it touching and true-to-life. The author has included a fair amount of “awwww” moments and lots of snuggling and loving. The pets themselves are no strangers to snuggling. This is an all-around sweet story to share with children who have pets, are wanting pets of their own, or who are in a family who has adopted a pet from a shelter.
Generally a realistic fiction piece, Tassan has managed to work in a bit of fantasy with the pets talking to one another. For the most part, these sections serve to explain some of the things that drive Lucy’s curiosity and, in the conclusion, add to the dearness of the overall plot.
Lucy’s First Christmas is a touching story that hits home for readers of all ages and features delicate illustrations of the pets and their family. Tassan and Wheeler’s precious Christmas story is a must-read for any family with rescue pets. Lucy’s first Christmas with her family will bring a smile to the reader’s face and touch the soul of any animal lover.
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Adjusting to change is never easy—even if you’re a cat! In Lucy Meets the Family, Rolynda Tassan’s second book in the Lucy’s Tale series, Ben brings Lucy, a little gray cat, home. Nervous, Lucy meets her new family: a cat, Addy, and two dogs, Sissy and Pippin. When Ben leaves, Lucy tries to make herself at home, but she does everything wrong! She makes a mess of the litter box, gets into food that doesn’t belong to her, and annoys Pippin by sleeping on her bed. Will Lucy ever feel like part of the family?
Dedicated to families who open their homes to animals from the shelter, Lucy Meets the Family is a great way to teach young children how to prepare to bring a new pet home, especially if they have other pets at home already. Like Lucy, a new pet will feel anxiety at her surroundings and make mistakes as she tries to find her way around her home. Readers will learn to anticipate what they can do to prepare their other pets for a new family member. Addy, Sissy, and Pippin already have their own spaces and understand the rules, so they need time to adjust to another animal. On a more practical level, Lucy Meets the Family shows readers what an owner will need to purchase before bringing home a new pet.
For young children just learning to read, Lucy Meets the Family is good practice. The words are simple, and some lines of text are repetitive. The pictures in the book are colorful and have the feel of being hand sketched with watercolor paints. However, the illustrations directly reflect the story and focus on Ben, his pets, and the purchased items for Lucy. Tassan weaves a heartwarming tale about furry friends with tails that animal lovers will enjoy.
Pages: 30 | ASIN: 0998331821
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