When I dove headfirst into the world of writing, my greatest motivation was to make a difference. I ultimately settled on a style of narrative non-fiction – true stories told in an inviting and engaging way. My hope was that real stories of everyday heroes overcoming adversity would shine a spotlight on some of our pressing societal issues and that the increased knowledge might trigger change.
The latest novel in my Lemons to Lemonade Series is A Healing Haven – Saving Horses and Humans at RVR Horse Rescue. The true account of the myriad of miracles at RVR Horse Rescue really fed my soul.
One of the heartwarming accounts we included was of a young student who had been touched by her experience at RVR. When her teacher assigned the class a non-fiction writing assignment, she went to work penning the story of Charity and Dominick, a horse and a donkey who are unlikely best friends.
When her teacher told her that her story was charming, but needed to be true, she insisted it was. Her mother later concurred. “She knows the horse and donkey. They live at RVR Horse Rescue,” her mom told the teacher.
The student had been so affected by her experience with Charity and Dominick that it sparked an idea. What if I created a children’s book featuring the duo and included real life situations? If the pair had imprinted a remarkable impression on one passionate young girl, perhaps they could inspire others as well. The spark ignited and a charming introduction to animal advocacy developed into a children’s book, titled A New Home for Dominick.
The story opens as Dominick the donkey arrives at RVR Horse Rescue. The poor little fellow is afraid of humans, based on his prior mistreatment. An old white horse, named Charity, takes Dominick under her wing. Dominick finally comes to realize that the humans in his new home are good and loving. Besides learning to trust humans again, Dominick has made a new best friend in the whole wide world, Charity.
As the author, I was pleased with the story line, but most warmed by the behind-the-scenes experiences. First was my hunt for an illustrator. My Google searches prepared me that talent doesn’t come cheap. However, since the book was a fund-raiser for RVR Horse Rescue, every penny mattered.
After one too-good-to-be-true offer vanished into thin air, I was introduced to a local illustrator, who specializes in animals, and who has enjoyed drawing horses since her childhood. Ileana Nadel, of Cool Critters, took on my project at a fraction of a normal cost, as her contribution to RVR Horse Rescue. My match to Ileana was certainly one made in heaven. I was able to pay her bargain-basement pricing out of my own pocket, as my own donation to the cause, funneling every penny of profit to an amazing non-profit organization.
The way the project ended up falling together in such a blessed way was as sweet as a mouthwatering strawberry-infused cassata cake.
The delectable icing on top was having the young student who originally inspired the story read A New Home for Dominick to a group of kindergartners. Her classroom writing assignment had come full circle and it melted my heart. To witness a young animal advocate passing the message along to younger students makes me feel that my original goal of making a difference is actually possible.
How are you trying to make a difference in your world?