“I Found Myself Laughing and Crying”: Narrator Lee Ahonen on Creating Audio for “Foster Doggie Insanity”

fdinsanityaudiocoverloAuthor Tamira Thayne wanted to take her book Foster Doggie Insanity into audio, but needed to find a narrator who ‘got’ her voice. She was thrilled to find Lee Ahonen, telling her: “Your reading is EXACTLY how I would have wanted it to sound if I did it myself. You got right into the character and created all the nuances and inflections the way I would do it or want to do it. Thank you!”

We asked Lee some questions about her narration and how she chooses her books.

Q & A with Lee Ahonen, Narrator and Producer of the Audiobook for “Foster Doggie Insanity: Tips and Tales to Keep your Kool as a Doggie Foster Parent” by Tamira Ci Thayne

Q:        How do you choose the books you audition for?

Lee Ahonen

A:        When it comes to nonfiction, I look for books that interest me and that have a positive message. Then I review the writing itself. Does it flow when I read it aloud? Does it make sense? Will the listener be able to connect with it? I don’t expect all books to be written perfectly when it comes to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. However, the author’s meaning needs to come through so that I can inject the correct feeling behind the words and the listener can get caught up in the narrative.

Q:        Is it difficult to interpret the meaning and feelings behind the author’s words

A:        Well, sometimes, yes. That happens when books are poorly written, meaning there are incomplete sentences, the use of pronouns makes it confusing, and the information is disorganized, which makes it difficult to follow the story. I don’t audition for those books. But when a book is well written, the story flows and it is easy to get into character. That’s why I enjoyed narrating and producing Foster Doggie Insanity. I felt Tamira’s personality in every word, and she was consistent throughout the book.

Q:        What does that mean – that you felt the author’s personality?

A:        The author was able to express her feelings with words. Her caring nature and sense of humor were interwoven with the gritty, day-to-day work of rescuing and fostering dogs. Also, she made herself vulnerable by sharing some of the bad stuff she experienced during her many years of service to dogs. It was very real. I could feel what she experienced, and I hope listeners will feel it, too. It’s powerful.

Q:        Was there anything in particular that stood out in this book?

A:        There were a couple of things. First, there were many emotional moments in this book – happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, and more. Somehow, Tamira was able to balance the good and the bad with humor. As a result, while there was tension in the book, it was not overwhelming. However, this is the first book in which I found myself laughing or crying too much, forcing me to do more takes so that I didn’t sound too emotional in the recording. Second, I realized that much of her advice could be applied to anyone – not just people who foster. There are many great “life” tips in the book that can help people take care of themselves so they are healthy and happy while caring for others.

Q:        To whom do you think this book will appeal?

A:        I think this book has a very broad audience – not just people who foster or rescue, but anyone that has ever had a dog or thought about having a dog in their family. It certainly would make people think about adopting a rescue dog rather than “buying” one from a pet store or a non-reputable breeder. And for anyone who currently has a dog in the family, it will make them appreciate their doggie even more!

Q:        When you do take time off, what are your favorite hobbies or things to do?

A:        I love to read. I read all types of fiction – mysteries, romance, science fiction, etc. – and I read nonfiction, which includes self-improvement, health and nutrition, business topics, and more, while lounging with my dogs, Bella and Bear (both rescues). I also spend time with my granddaughter, which now that I think about it, also involves reading! Reading has always been a big part of my life. I guess it’s not so surprising that I got involved with audiobook narration.

Q:        And where can we find you online? Do you have a narrator page link we can visit?

A:        You can find me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/leeahonen/, ACX at https://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A28X5JDMI20RBN, and AudioFile at https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/referenceguide/detail/6193/.

Q:        Do you have a couple other favorite books you’ve narrated our readers can check out?

A:        Yes, I do. “Entangled Empathy: An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals,” by Lori Gruen; “Don’t Stay Stuck!: Eliminate Your Excuses and Gain the Confidence to Achieve Your Dreams,” by Lori Chavez-Wysocki; and “Sport Is Life with the Volume Turned Up: Lessons Learned That Apply to Business and Life,” by Joan Cronan and Rob Schriver. Although, honestly, they’re all my favorites because I’ve learned something from every nonfiction book I’ve worked on. That’s another reason I enjoy the process so much – continuous learning.

About the Narrator, Lee Ahonen

I began my audiobook narration and production career a year ago. It was a couple of years after finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (with a concentration in management) and a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and Technology while working full time. I tried to enjoy my free time after being so busy, but I became unhappy with so much time on my hands. I needed to be productive, and I wanted a creative outlet. Narration provides the creative outlet, and production satisfies my detail-oriented nature. I’ve completed 23 books to date while continuing to work full time as a legal assistant, and I have six books currently in production. It’s been a very busy year, and I love it!

Foster Doggie Insanity is available in paperback, kindle, kindle unlimited, and audiobook at the following links. For a limited time, buy Foster Doggie Insanity on Audiobook, and get the code to any of our other audiobooks FREE. Just forward your receipt to info@whochainsyou.com:

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue | Buy Audiobook

Author Tamira Thayne lives in Northern Virginia, and is available for speaking engagements and author visits. She can be reached at tami@whochainsyou.com.

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WCY Authors Tamira Thayne and Brandy Herr Offer Book Signings in October

The Who Chains You Publishing authors are getting out and about in the community, spreading the word about not only their book offerings, but also highlighting animal welfare issues and our responsibility to care for the animals with whom we share a planet.

This weekend Tamira Thayne, founder of Who Chains You Publishing and author of The Wrath of Dog, The King’s Tether, Foster Doggie Insanity, and Capitol in Chains, and the co-editor of Unchain My Heart and Rescue Smiles, will be joining local authors in the Northern Virginia cities of Warrenton and Culpeper for book signings on Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. She’d love to see your friendly face at either of the events!

Great Writers, Right Here
Friday, October 13, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Family Life Center
39 Alexandria Pike,
Old Town Warrenton, VA

Author Extravaganza
Saturday, October 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Culpeper, VA Public Library
271 Southgate Shopping Center
Culpeper, VA 22701

More About the Author:

In her empathy for the plight of the chained dog, Tamira Thayne pioneered the anti-tethering movement in America, forming and leading the nonprofit Dogs Deserve Better for 13 years. Her swan song culminated in the purchase and transformation of Michael Vick’s dogfighting compound to a chained-dog rescue and rehabilitation center. In 2016 she founded Who Chains You, publishing books for those who believe people—and animals—deserve to be free.

Author Brandy Herr from Granbury, Texas, has been busy attending events and even sat down to talk with NBC Dallas-Forth Worth about her Second Chance series. You can watch her fabulous interview here: http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Clear-the-Shelters_Dallas-Fort-Worth-441017853.html

Below are some of her upcoming signings and speaking engagements:

October 16, 2017, Private Event, Speaking at middle school

October 18, 2017, 6:30 PM, Haunted Granbury Presentation, Benbrook Public Library

October 19, 2017, 6:00 PM, Haunted Granbury Presentation, Mary Lou Reddick Public Library in Lake Worth

October 26, 2017, 6:00 PM, Haunted Granbury Presentation, Weatherford Public Library

About the Author

Brandy Herr was born near Dallas, Texas. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a major in public relations and a minor in theatre. She now lives in Granbury, Texas with her husband, Matthew, their rescued dogs, Pillow and Luna, and their rescued cats, Emma and Goblin. She currently has three books available: Honey’s Second Chance, Emma’s Second Chance, Haunted Granbury, and a short story featured in the collection Nine Deadly Lives: An Anthology of Feline Fiction. Learn more about Brandy and her work on her website at AuthorBrandyHerr.com and follow her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorBrandyHerr.

Be sure to Join our Facebook Page to keep up with all our authors and our new and forthcoming book releases.

Remember: Only three more days to sign up for our Goodreads Giveaway for our new book I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary by author Laura Koerber. We’re giving away three copies to the lucky winners—no strings attached—so sign up Here Today!

Introducing Crescent Renewal Books and our first release under the new imprint: The Lost Tooth, by Laura W. Eckroat

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Who Chains You Publishing has recently formed the Crescent Renewal imprint as a result of requests by our authors to publish titles they’d written that were not animal-related. While our focus will remain on Who Chains You Books and our advocacy for animals, we will review manuscripts that abide by the “Do No Harm” principle for our animal friends, too.

Crescent Renewal Books will publish books in all genres from children to adult and fiction to nonfiction that we find educational and uplifting, as long as our animal friends are respected throughout whenever they appear.

To that end, we introduce you to our first book under the new imprint, The Lost Tooth, by Laura W. Eckroat. Laura has two other books with us, What’s in the Corner, and Went Out to Get a Donut, Came Home with a Muffin, which are both young children’s books about adopting her dog named Muffin.

Although there is a family dog who plays a part in Laura’s newest story, he’s not the focus of the tale, which makes The Lost Tooth a perfect fit for Crescent Renewal.

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In The Lost Tooth, award-winning author Laura Eckroat is back with her very first chapter book, part of her Kidspiration Series.

William doesn’t just lose his tooth . . . his tooth becomes LOST! 

Follow Tommy the Tooth on his wild and exciting journey to the Tooth Fairy, as he ends up in places a lost tooth would never expect or want to be. Luckily William never gives up on him, and the ending is sure to please readers great and small.

This book from Crescent Renewal Books is a must for all children who have or will have wiggly, jiggly baby teeth, and makes a wonderful first chapter book for ages 7-10 and grades 1-4.

The book is currently available in paperback and kindle, with audio forthcoming.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to our Charity of the Year

About the Author

DSC_1125Laura W. Eckroat is the author of The Lost Tooth, A Simpler Time, Daisy: A Life Cycle Series, The Life of Bud, Went Out to Get a Donut, Came Home with a Muffin, and What’s in the Corner? A Muffin “Tail.”

Laura was born and raised in Whiting, Indiana. She has lived in Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Texas. She now resides in Wisconsin with her husband, Steven, and their two rescue dogs—Muffin and Shadow.

Mrs. Eckroat is an elementary school teacher and a lifetime Chicago Bears football fan. She enjoys gardening, reading, writing and doing fundraisers for dogs.

About the Illustrator

Greg White Photo-oilGreg White attended Southern Nazarene University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. His passion for visual storytelling led him to the field of illustration, and he now works as a freelance artist and illustrator, specializing in children’s books, comic books, and poster design. He now resides in Oklahoma City, where he has illustrated over 200 books.

“Brave Benny”, a Little Bat’s Tale, Hits Children’s Bookshelves

bravebennycoverlo-dropWho Chains You Books is pleased to announce the release of Brave Benny, out now from author Heather Leughmyer and illustrator April Pedersen.

adoptingadelecoverloHeather and April are proving to be a great team, following up their success with Adopting Adele from earlier this year with their second collaboration in Brave Benny.

Description:

Benny the bat always did what was right; hiding during the day and hunting at night. His bed was a tree and he slept upside down, in a quaint little forest just outside of town.

Each night at dusk he’d stretch and he’d yawn, then drop out of bed, and be home before dawn. By daybreak the bats would be sleeping away, but bored little Benny just wanted to play.

He wished to discover the world in the light; he was tired of darkness, fed up with the night. Then one dewy morning, he passed by his tree; he was nervous, but eager, about what he would see…

What will Brave Benny discover on his adventure? Find out in this wonderfully illustrated, rhyming children’s book, a perfect bedtime story for ages 4 and up, and independent readers age 7 and up. Includes activities for kids, and some good batty questions and answers, too!

ISBN-10: 1-946044-14-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-946044-14-3

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to our Charity of the Year

About the Author

meHeather Leughmyer graduated from Indiana-Purdue University with a B.A. in English Writing and Linguistics. She is a dedicated vegan, animal rights activist, and animal rescuer. Writing has been a passion of hers for as long as she has advocated for animals.
Heather lives in Columbia City, Indiana, with her husband, daughter and several animal companions. She is the author of Brave Benny, Adopting Adele, If Your Tears Were Human, A Rat’s Guide to Owning a Human, and co-editor of Rescue Smiles.

About the Illustrator

aprilpedersenOur whimsical artist, April Pedersen, is a freelancer based in Reno, Nevada. She is partial to frogs, geocaching, science fiction, video poker, and chess. April is the illustrator of Adopting Adele and Brave Benny.

How Much Crating is Too Much? After the New OAS Book, Some Thoughts on What Constitutes Over-Crating of Dogs

From author Tamira Thayne: “I still believe dogs deserve as much freedom as humanly possible. I’ve grown to understand that often this includes the use of appropriate crating, living INSIDE the home with the family, playtime, and a walk daily or as often as possible. If dogs can’t have hours a day to be a (supervised when needed) part of the family, IT’S NOT ENOUGH.”

Tamira Thayne's "Untethered"

buddy-sam2lo My dog Khronos (left) and Sam (right) one of our two houseguests playing in front of open crates.

lostcoverlo-dropI left active rescue in 2015, so it’s been awhile since I thought much about the use of crates for dogs, in rescue or otherwise.

But between the release of our latest book from Who Chains You Publishing— I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary Rescue—and my occasion to use crates this week for two dogs I’m babysitting, I was forced once again to look the issue in the eye and give it a good mulling over.

My dog Khronos has been with us for over a year now, so he’s trained to a doggie door and is a perfect gentleman inside the house, no longer needing or using a crate.

Yet we still have one or two of them, folded up and gathering…

View original post 1,155 more words

Now Out! I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found: Daisy and the Olympic Animal Sanctuary Rescue

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On the far side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, halfway between the mountains and the ocean, stands the little town of Forks. In that town, in a quiet neighborhood of modest homes and shabby businesses, there remains a dilapidated pink warehouse.

Packed inside that warehouse, living in deplorable conditions, were once over 120 dogs. Some of the dogs were kept in crates piled high on shelves, arranged in rows along the walls, and shoved into corners behind heaps of garbage and urine-saturated straw. Some of the dogs were confined to wire-sided or glassed-in kennels. One was kept in an old horse trailer. Dead ones were stored in a cooler.

In one of the crates was a black dog named Daisy. This is her story.

It is also the story of the rescue of one hundred and twenty-four dogs—and one snake—from the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, the only large-scale dog rescue in the U.S. to be carried out with no support from local government. The OAS rescue was an epic narrative that extended over several years and featured small town politics, protests, assault, lawsuits, arrests, and a midnight escape, all played out to a nationwide audience.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to our Charity of the Year

About the Author

laurakoerbercolorLaura Koerber is an artist and writer who lives on an island with her husband and her two dogs. Her first book, The Dog Thief and Other Stories (written as Jill Kearney), was listed by Kirkus Review as one of the Hundred Best Books of 2015. She’s the author of The Listener’s Tale, I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found, and the upcoming The Shapeshifter’s Tale, and Limbo. She is also a contributing author to Rescue Smiles.

Here are some of the author’s thoughts on the book, written to her FB page last evening:

Okay, so here it is at long last. Or it seems like at long last to me, since I started working on it about two years ago.

The OAS rescue was a tremendously meaningful experience to a lot of people and the meanings are as varied as the people. It is not one story. It is hundreds of stories.

It is a fundraiser for OAS rescues, as I’m donating all my portion of sales to those who took in the dogs. Also, any nonprofit rescues can order books at reduced cost from the publisher, set their own price, and sell the book as a fundraiser to their supporters and the public.

Interested in selling this book as a fundraiser for your nonprofit? All books are $6.50 for nonprofits and indie bookstores (mix and match), which includes shipping. You can order in bulk from our nonprofit ordering page here: http://whochainsyou.com/nonprofitorder.html

What is the book about? My goal was to use the story of Daisy’s odyssey through the Olympic Animal Sanctuary as an overview of what happened, but also as a vehicle for informing readers about hoarders, failed rescues, law enforcement issues, trainers and behaviorists, and actions people can take when they become aware of abuse or neglect. The people named in the book are the ones who were named in the press or on TV. About twenty dogs are mentioned as illustrations of various points made in the text, such as the condition of dogs when rescued. The book is written in first person as a narrative with some sections written more formally. There are lots of photos, courtesy of many people who stepped up along the way, and from the Forks police files.

daisyfamily

Photo by Ernst-Ulrich Schafer, http://www.ernstschafer.com/

Shari Forst provided a story about Cream to illustrate how a behaviorist works with a dog and I added a tribute to Old Man Tucker just because…I think I would have loved him if I had ever had a chance to meet him. There is also a piece written by Jim Crosby who did the evaluations of the final dogs which is included to show how a real professional evaluates a dog. The cover features a very lovely artistic shot from professional photographer Ernst-Ulrich Schafer.

The book is not a comprehensive chronicle of everyone, every dog and everything that happened. For example, it does not include the long process of placing dogs after they got to Arizona.

In the end, I wanted the book to be uplifting. I hope it will inspire people who are not active in rescue to get active. I do hope that the people who were involved in the rescue, even if they are not specifically mentioned, will know that I wrote it in honor of all of you. Thank you.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to our Charity of the Year

Who Chains You Books Welcomes Author Laura W. Eckroat, and her “Muffin Tail” Books

What happens when a book publisher goes out of business without a solid plan for this contingency? All their authors end up in limbo, having a hard time getting their books freed up to move elsewhere.

That’s what happened to our next author, Laura W. Eckroat, who published books with Tate Publishing; when the company went under, that left her scrambling to make sense of what that meant for her titles and her business as a writer.

But then she found us at Who Chains You Books, and we’ve been working steadily with her to get her “Muffin Tail” books moved over to our publishing label and into Second Editions, getting her back on the right track with her titles.

We want to give Laura a big welcome, and hope for smoother sailing for her and her books from this point forward!

Her first two books in the Muffin series are adorable, and perfectly appropriate for ages 3 and up. They will soon be available in coloring books, too. 

Went Out to Get a Donut—Came Home With a Muffin

By Laura W. Eckroat

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Went Out to Get a Donut—Came Home With a Muffin is a happy-go-lucky, singalong story of adopting a pup named Muffin. The colorful illustrations by Greg White perfectly complement a wonderful tale that will engage our smallest readers while teaching love for our companion animals. Suitable for kids aged pre-school and up.

WHAT “MUFFIN” LOVERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE SAYING …

“… Came Home With a Muffin will win the hearts of children of all ages. The story behind the story is equally engaging and charming. It will become a favorite for dog lovers everywhere.” — Carolyn Hedgecock, Author Locker Letters

Went Out to Get a Donut is a fun book to read to your child while at the same time introducing the importance of adopting and rescuing animals. Mrs. Eckroat helps start the conversations with this book.”—Sherwin Daryani, Operation Kindness

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Our Charity of the Year

What’s in the Corner? A Muffin “Tail”

By Laura W. Eckroat

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Kids and adults alike will love this mystery “tail” as Muffin the rescue dog discovers what’s in the corner of her suburban backyard while she “protects” her family, too. What’s in the Corner? A Muffin “Tail” is Muffin’s second adventure and is sure to spark the imagination of children of all ages. Suitable for kids ages pre-school and up.

“Laura W. Eckroat has done it again. Muffin has done it again. What have they done? Answer: They have teamed up to tell another Muffin “tail”—a humorous little song about what Muffin, the rescue dog, from Went Out to Get a Donut, Came Home with a Muffin, sees in a corner. What’s in the Corner? A Muffin “Tail” is a book that will charm all who read it or have it read or sung to them. This is a book that you don’t want to miss.”—Katherine Boyer, librarian, book reviewer

Buy on Amazon | (Sorry, the Kindle Version hasn’t gotten Approved Yet) | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Our Charity of the Year

About the Author:

DSC_1125Laura W. Eckroat is the author of A Simpler Time, Daisy: A Life Cycle Series, The Life of Bud, Went Out to Get a Donut, Came Home with a Muffin, and What’s in the Corner? A Muffin “Tail.”

Laura was born and raised in Whiting, Indiana. She has lived in Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Texas. She now resides in Wisconsin with her husband, Steven, and their two rescue dogs—Muffin and Shadow.

Mrs. Eckroat is an elementary school teacher, and a lifetime Chicago Bears football fan. She enjoys gardening, reading, writing and doing fundraisers for dogs.

About the Illustrator:

Greg White attended Southern Nazarene University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication.

His passion for visual storytelling led him to the field of illustration, and he now works as a freelance artist and illustrator, specializing in children’s books, comic books, and poster design.

He now resides in Oklahoma City, where he has illustrated over 200 books.

It’s Here! Rescue Smiles: Favorite Animal Stories of Love and Liberation is Now Available

You can color us excited…Rescue Smiles is HERE!

Rescue Smiles: Favorite Animal Stories
of Love and Liberation

Edited by Heather Leughmyer and Tamira Thayne

The heart of the animal rescue world lies in its stories—of freedom, of love, and of sacrifice by those who not only acknowledge but embrace the human-animal bond and its wondrous gifts.

In our first rescue story compilation, Who Chains You Books is pleased to offer a look into the emotional lives of rescuers and the living beings they hold dear. Join us for the heartwarming anecdotes, as Cinnamon steals Spice’s puppies, Alice steals everyone’s shoes, and a host of other animals conspire to steal our hearts.

Through these tales, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek into the relationships between rescuers and not only dogs and cats, but horses, goats, pigs, rats, mice, and birds, in this delightful first installment of Rescue Smiles.

We hope you’re as captivated by the kinship between human and animal as we are. With contributions by: Laura Koerber, Tamira Thayne, Reg Green, Heather Leughmyer, Joe Maringo, Patti Lawson, Sarah Barnett, Barb Michael, Sunny Aris, Christopher Barnekov, Gayla Evans, Kat Soul, Rachel Ogden, Melody Whitworth, and Liz Woloski.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to our Charity of the Year, Unchained Melodies

The book is available wholesale for animal rescue nonprofits and independent bookstores. Visit our wholesale page to learn more and place your order today.

Connecting with our Illustrators: Meet April Pedersen

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As part of our Who Chains You Books First Anniversary Celebration, we’ll be bringing you a “Connect with our Authors, Illustrators, and Narrators” Series, so you can learn a little more about the animal lovers we represent, and why they’ve taken on the challenge of bringing the plight of the animals to life through creative writing, art, and interpretation.

We’ve given each of our authors, illustrators, and narrators a list of questions to answer. They are free to answer any of our suggested questions or substitute their own—staying on the fun, surface side of life, or getting as deep as they’d like. Feel free to ask them questions in the comments area, and we’ll ask them to drop by and answer.

Q. Give us your ‘official’ bio.

adoptingadelecoverloApril Pedersen is a freelance illustrator, mainly of rubber art stamps, but also of logos, magazine cartoons, and books. April is the illustrator of our highly-acclaimed Adopting Adele book, and also the upcoming Brave Benny, about a bat.

Q. Where did you grow up and what was your favorite thing you remember about where you grew up?

I grew up in Alaska, Nevada, and Oklahoma. I have fond memories of watching fireflies blink on and off
during the summer nights when I lived in Oklahoma.

1Q. What made you want to become a book illustrator?

I loved drawing from the age of 4—as most kids do—but I just stuck with it, and never really thought about doing anything else. It’s who I am.

Q. Tell us one thing about you that nobody knows. Until now.

I still like the Rubik’s cube (but I’ve forgotten how to solve it).

Q. Tell us what you love most about illustrating?

I enjoy seeing an idea become a visual manifestation. Seeing the illustration in print or on a website never gets old for me either.

Q. Do you have pets? How many and what are their names?

Currently I have two “mystery snails”, Otto & Turbo, plus a betta fish, Jackaby. I previously had tree frogs, goats, a horse, and a cat.

Q. Where would you travel for your dream vacation, and why?

I’d pick the South Pacific islands, where I could lounge around, peer into tide pools, and read a stack of great books.

Q. If you could wave a magic wand and make one thing better for animals, what would it be?

Have a mandatory “be kind to animals” curriculum, aka humane education, in all public schools.

Q. Tell us what your favorite book of all time is, and why.

I’m gonna go with The Time Machine by HG Wells. I would love to see what thousands of years will bring. This novel opened my eyes to thinking about the far future, the present, and the past.

bennyflyinghouse

Sneak peek at one of the Brave Benny illustrations

Q. What’s next for you with Who Chains You Books?

I recently finished illustrating Brave Benny—it’s in line for publication now—and I might be illustrating a third, too, we’ll see! I look forward to seeing Brave Benny in print.

Connecting with Our Authors: Meet Heather Leughmyer

authorinterviewshl

As part of our Who Chains You Books First Anniversary Celebration, we’ll be bringing you a “Connect with our Authors, Illustrators, and Narrators” Series, so you can learn a little more about the animal lovers we represent, and why they’ve taken on the challenge of bringing the plight of the animals to life through creative writing, art, and interpretation.

We’ve given each of our authors, illustrators, and narrators a list of questions to answer. They are free to answer any of our suggested questions or substitute their own—staying on the fun, surface side of life, or getting as deep as they’d like. Feel free to ask them questions in the comments area, and we’ll ask them to drop by and answer.

meHeather Leughmyer is the author of Adopting Adele, A Rat’s Guide to Owning a Human, and If Your Tears Were Human, and co-editor of Rescue Smiles, to be released this Friday, August 11, 2017.

She is also the founder of Happy Endings Rat Rescue, and a graduate of Indiana-Purdue University with a B.A. in Writing and Linguistics.

Writing has been a passion of hers for as long as she has advocated for animals.

She lives in Columbia City, Indiana, with her husband, daughter, and several animal companions.

ratguidecoverlodropQ. Where did you grow up and what was your favorite thing you remember about where you grew up?

I grew up in Sidney, Ohio and then moved to Warsaw, Indiana when I was 17. One of the things I liked most about growing up in Sidney was that I could get from my house to anywhere in town by walking or riding my bike, and it was safe to do that.

Q. What did you least like about your childhood or where you grew up?

Probably the small-town mentality. There were a lot of cliques and being different wasn’t necessarily seen as a good thing.

Q. What made you want to become a book author?

I have loved writing ever since I could write. I remember making a miniature book about my hamster when I was around 10. I still have it. Creative writing class was always my favorite.

Blank white book w/pathQ. What steps did you take to finish your first book? How did you make it happen?

My first book was an anthology of poems that I had been writing for a few years. They were in response to the animal cruelty and the suffering I had seen, read about, or heard about. I combined all of the poems I had written about farmed animals and added photographs by my friend and photographer, Vanessa Sarges into one book and If Your Tears Were Human: A Collection of Poetry for Animals in Agriculture was then published by Who Chains You Publishing.

Q. Tell us one thing about you that nobody knows. Until now.

My secrets stay safe with me…:)

Q. Tell us one weird talent you have that you wish you could make money from.

I can ride a unicycle. I taught myself to ride it in the 4th grade.

Q. Tell us what celebrity you’d love to be for a day, and why.

Any celebrity who is on vacation in some exotic place I could never afford.

adoptingadelecoverloQ. Tell us what you love most about writing?

I love how writing helps me deal with my feelings and emotions in a healthy and productive way.

Q.  Do you have pets? How many and what are their names?

Lots! I have 2 dogs, Bindi and Bailey, 1 cat, Jasmine, 2 gerbils, Tom and Jerry, and 6 rats, Cupcake, Chip, Shiloh, Raven, Riley and Max. Since I do rat rescue, the numbers are constantly changing.

Q. Tell us your weirdest pet story. 

Most of my stories are more cute than weird. I love interspecies relationships and I’ve seen a few firsthand throughout the years. I once had a cockatiel who fell in love with my cat. He would constantly circle around her serenading her with a mix of all of the songs he knew to try and get her attention, but she wasn’t impressed.

I also had a rat who liked to eat with my 2 dogs and 1 cat, a gerbil who fell in love with a spiny mouse, and a mouse who fell in love with a rat. I also had a dog who would take care of all of my rats, especially when they were sick.

Q. Where would you travel for your dream vacation, and why?

I love Hawaii. Perfect weather, the ocean, beaches, and beauty everywhere.

Q. If you could wave a magic wand and make one thing better for animals, what would it be?

Everyone in the world would stop eating them. Billions would be saved from suffering just like that.

Q. Tell us what your favorite book of all time is, and why.

I don’t really have a favorite because I like so many. I really liked The Girl on the Train. This was probably the most recent book I read and loved. I like any book I have a hard time putting down.

Q. If you could live anywhere in the world, were would you live and why.

This answer is the same as my dream vacation. Hawaii, for all the same reasons.

rescuesmilescoverloQ. What’s coming up next, more books for you?

Yep! We’ve got our next book, Rescue Smiles, coming out this week. We enjoyed picking stories with lots of different rescued animals, and we ended up with 19 unique tales of love for you to enjoy.

I also have another children’s book, Brave Benny, coming out this fall from Who Chains You.

I hope to just keep writing and see where it leads me!