Monday, December 20, 2010

Born on Christmas Eve

When I began writing LITTLE JOE, I knew the calf would be born on Christmas Eve. I wanted the barn to be filled with hope and the opportunity for renewal-- and the chance for Eli to connect with his father. I was living in northeastern Pennsylvania at the time and had been in stone barns during winter while the cold bit through my fingers, and the waterers crusted over. Yet, it was magical to hear the straw being swished around by the animals, the toddler "mooing" coming from the days-old calves anxious to suckle. How one could find warmth and love and light in between the silence in such cold, dark places stuck with me, and I knew what could occur under a lonely light bulb-- a birth -- in this case a difficult one for a calf -- would bring understanding and a chance for deeper love in a family frayed by its struggles to keep their farm alive. By the end of the novel, I hope I have showed that the possibilty is there-- for Pa and Eli to grow closer, for Eli to make his own decisions about farming, and for Grandpa to realize he's not done yet, that he can still raise livestock in his own way. There is astounding beauty in between the harshness of Nature, which can often make suffering worthwhile. And like the tiny glass unicorn Pa sifts out for Eli's little sister Hannah at the county fair, such things may be fragile and cost more than they might be able to pay, but those rememberances are just as important as winning the blue ribbon.

I will post the first pages of LITTLE JOE on my next blog, and I hope you enjoy it!




  1. i loved this book and i want you to know if you are going to make another book like little joe but mabey about a horse or a chicken

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed Little Joe! I love hanging out at farms and being with animals.

    Right now I'm just finishing off a historical fiction novel for teenagers, set in 1950 about a football team that despite all odds against them, won the state championship, then I hope to write another novel on the farm and hopefully, about Tess and her horses!