A friend of mine pointed out that I’m not blogging the way I said I would. I have gotten off to a sluggish start, and I’m sorry about that. Sadly, it has to do with a death in the family. My husband Tim’s father died last week at the age of 86. It was not completely unexpected, but still it’s always a shock when a loved one dies. As soon as we heard the news we piled the kids in the car and took off for Minneapolis (an 800 mile drive). The kids were great (for the most part) and it was a lovely funeral, lots of good friends and distant relatives telling stories. Jerry Ungs was a unique character and he will be missed.
So we arrived back in Kentucky last night to torrential rains and flash flooding. The rain was truly biblical. Many roads were washed out and we had to take a few detours just to make it home. Our front fields had turned into lakes. Luckily no drowned cows or chickens. Today is sunny and clear — a perfect day, the calm after the storm. We were missing our beloved Kit Kat, but found her high and dry in the barn, with 5 kittens hidden in the corn crib! Wow, what a great present to come home to!
So now I’m gearing up for my mini tour to celebrate Dream of Night coming out tomorrow! Yay! I heard there’s a nice feature in the Danville Advocate Messenger, so I’m going to check that out in a minute and post the link.
If you’ve been checking this and not seeing any new posts, I’m sorry. I promise this time I’m going to blog for real. Lots coming up this week, and so I will keep you posted as I travel to Lexington, Cincinnati, and Columbus in the coming days.
The wonderful folks at Joseph Beth in Lexington, KY are hosting a signing for Dream of Night on May 4, publication day! Two days later, I get to visit the Blue Marble Bookstore (in northern KY, near Cincinnati), one of my favorite places, and talk about Dream of Night. Also, we’re working on planning an event at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s showcase adoption facility located at the KY Horse Park in Lexington, both to celebrate the book and to raise awareness about Thoroughbred adoption. Please check back for specifics in the next coupla days…Thanks!
Okay, picture this: the package arrives, I glimpse the return address, I know it just might be first copies of my new book, hot off the presses, sent by my wonderful and thoughtful editor. So, I rip the big padded envelope open…and….
I can’t believe it!
Dream of Night is a book.
Okay, I’m a mom. I’ve held my newly born babies in my arms for the very first time, and of course holding a newly born book isn’t as mind and heart-blowing, but it’s heaven just the same.
Right now I have to just sit here and gaze silently for a moment at my little creation (which of course isn’t my creation alone at all but the final beautiful product of so many amazing talented people, including my lovely and hardworking editor and her terrific team of book superheroes at Atheneum.)
Yay! I’m just thrilled to post a first review of Dream of Night which appears in this week’s Kirkus:
DREAM OF NIGHT
Once Dream of Night was a champion racehorse, but by the time Jess DiLima gets him he’s nearly dead from starvation and pneumonia, and his thin hide is covered in scars. Twelve-year-old Shiloh is scarred, too, both from physical abuse and from the emotional withering of years in foster care. Jess doesn’t feel up to the challenge of either one of them, but she knows that she may represent their last chance. Henson’s story unfolds in a tight, third-person, present-tense narration that shifts its focus among the three principals: Jess, Shiloh and Night. Her novel, like her characters, shimmers with anger and hope. She doesn’t pull her punches—the scenes and flashbacks of abuse are realistically graphic—but she also never lets the details overwhelm the narrative, always offering the possibility of redemption. The author understands, too, that victory is not necessarily a blue ribbon won or a family reunited—sometimes it’s just the quiet triumph of a girl confidently brushing a horse in a stall. Another impressive book by the author of Here’s How I See It—Here’s How It Is (2009). (Fiction. 8-14)
I’m so excited about my new book that’s about to pub on May 4. It’s called Dream of Night, and it’s a middle grade novel told from 3 different points of view: an abused ex-racehorse, an abused foster child, and the foster mother who takes them both in. I was inspired to write this book after moving back to Kentucky and realizing how many ex-racehorses there are (thousands every year) and how many end up in abusive situations. I did a lot of research about people and organizations that work to rescue horses. I am especially grateful to the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at the Kentucky Horse Park. Will write more about this wonderful organization and what they do in my next post.
Please keep checking my blog for more information about the book and upcoming events in May 2010. I haven’t been the best blogger, but my 2010 New Year’s resolution: to keep up with my blog, to update it regularly, and to respond to posts. The last year was just so busy (twins turned 5!), I was kind of in a fog about blogging. But this is a new year, and away we go!
Here’s a picture of the gorgeous cover for Dream of Night:
I almost forgot to post this! It’s a video of me, talking about my books and my writing career, and it’s up on the Simon & Schuster Web site as part of their Authors Point of View series. Hope you like it!
It’s been a very busy season for me, with two books being published within a couple months of each other. Here’s How I See It–Here’s How It Is being published at the end of April, and Grumpy Grandpa, my latest picture book, comes out in July.
The beautiful and fun illustrations are by Ross McDonald, whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Time magazines, and whose children’s books include Bad Baby, Another Perfect Day, and The Noisy Alphabet. It’s a privilege to work with Ross. You can read all about him at his Web site, www.Ross-MacDonald.com.