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Circus is no fun for animals

24 Jun

I’m a massive animal lover. I don’t eat them. I do animal rights activism. I am trying to befriend the crows in my neighborhood. Yet… I wrote a book with a circus in it. Why? Let me explain.

When I first wrote this book, I wasn’t an activist. I wasn’t thinking about animals in a deep manner. I actually included circus animals in every early draft of this story. A few years ago, I personally became aware of the cruelty. When I realized it, I was stumped. Should I still find a publisher for my finished novel? When I got to that bridge–finding a publisher–I asked for the chance to do some revisions, so I wrote most of them out. But I still had questions.

Can I create an authentic circus and also drive home that animals aren’t entertainment?

Can defend animal rights without making that message take over the book?

Can I be true to myself and also not turn off potential readers or their parents?

Balancing this tight rope wasn’t easy.

In the end, I decided that Bartholomew’s Circus of the Incredible would have animals (after all, Bartholomew is a bad dude). I included very few and tried not to sensationalize them at all (for example, my main character didn’t marvel at them).

Then I had the characters to voice their opinions on it. Spartacus discovers the Bart’s history of animal cruelty. Calyxtus, the socially-aware goth, speaks up against the lack of empathy and understanding in choosing animal entertainment. Zeda, a fire-breathing girl from the sideshow (and Spart’s love interest), pours her heart into—and coaxes Spart into—saving an endangered aye-aye from a life spent in a cage.

But even now—I am still torn. Hence this post. Will kids get the message? Or will they ask their parents to take them to a circus and end up at an event with elephants and bears and therefore increase the demand for animal acts? 😦

To reach more people, I’ve added a link to my website to raise awareness of the cruelty of animal entertainment. I also plan to create small “did you know?” table talkers or fliers at speaking events. I want to turn this around into an opportunity to educate.

I’m curious what others think. Do you have any ideas on how to add this speaking point to book readings or classroom visits without coming across as militant? (That’s always a fear.) Any other feedback?

Thanks for reading and I hope you spread the word as well. Skip the animal entertainment. It’s no fun for the animals.

91 days and counting

4 May

Spartacus Ryan Zander
and the Secrets of the Incredible

* COMING AUGUST 3! *

[insert dance party gif]

I’m not gonna have my first author blog post be a back-to-back GIF party, but that’s only because it’s after midnight and I might be a the slightest bit obsessive about picking just the right GIFs. But! As I was updating my book’s advanced reviews page I got SUPER excited and wanted to share my progress, right …now.

My book is officially dropping in 91 days! Not that I’m obsessively counting. I’m not obsessively counting.

Spartacus Ryan Zander and the Secrets of the Incredible has been a labor of love (as a published author, I’m contractually obligated to drop that phrase once per book mention). But this story is one I’ve loved and labored over for a super long time–so much so that the book is now almost as old as the main character. I HAVE AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOOK TWEEN. Amazing how fast they grow up.

Spartacus was been picked up by the loveliest people, Fitzroy Books, who have helped make this awkward tween into everything I hoped it would be. Between now and the publishing date, I’m going to be sharing updates, book details, and some funs stuff I’ve learned along the way. In the mean time, CHECK OUT THIS COVER!!!

SRZSI

And also–these awesome advanced reviews. 😀 😀 😀

😀

Okay, maybe just one GIF…

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