Today I’m thrilled to introduce a dear friend of mine, author Sharon Ledwith. I’ve known her since back in the Musa Publishing days (2011-2014) and I’ve been thrilled to see her go on to do bigger, better things with her books. Today she’s here to celebrate the recent release of her latest novel, Lost and Found: Welcome to Fairy Falls.
Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power, all the while trying to lead a normal life. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected…
The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.
Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the
animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.
Can you tell us a bit about Lost and Found? (The blurb will go directly above this, so focus on the characters & their relationships)
I wanted to tell a love story that transcends the boundaries of human/animal relationships, and give readers a wonderful emotional experience. Meagan Walsh is a rebellious teen who has suffered a great loss with the death of her mother, and shut down her unique ability to communicate with animals. Meagan’s mom was the only one who knew (and encouraged) her psychic gift. Meagan’s trouble-making days end when her father sends her to a boring tourist town called Fairy Falls to live with her estranged aunt with the hopes that Meagan will eventually straightened herself out, and move forward with her life.
Whiskey is an old shelter cat hell-bound on finding a human pack leader who will save the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter, and keep it from closing its doors permanently. When Meagan is forced to do community service hours by her aunt (an employee of the shelter) she gets a strong intuitive hit off of Whiskey, and for the first time since her mother’s death, opens up and allows Whiskey, and the shelter animals inside her world. What Meagan doesn’t realize is that it’s the not just the animals who need saving, but herself as well.
What part of the story came to you first?
During my year-long stint as an animal care attendant, I learned so much about the procedures and daily routines of working in an animal shelter. Then, one day, I found myself wondering what the animals would say if they could talk? How they would act and sound? What did they really think of humans? So, chasing down the animal voices frolicking in my head, I decided to write their story. The result is, Lost and Found, the first book in my teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls.
So to answer your question, I envisioned the old shelter cat we had at our animal shelter using the ducts to get to the dog floor below and report to the canine pack leader, Nobel that their shelter was in danger of closing forever. The sad reality is that the shelter I worked for DID close its doors, despite a multitude of fundraising attempts and pleas to the town council. Thankfully most of the animals found homes before the shelter closed forever.
How much planning did you do before starting Lost and Found?
Loads! I did a lot of research on how to psychically communicate with animals, and read a lot of books on that topic. Then I read books and visited sites about animal behavior and animal body language. Fun fact: I actually wrote the second book in this teen psychic mystery series first. I had volunteered as a tutor for the local literacy chapter and decided to write a book about an illiterate teen boy with the ability to ‘read’ and get a psychic impression off an inanimate object like a ring or watch (known as psychometry). I created the tourist town and surrounding area of Fairy Falls through this book, which I entitled Blackflies and Blueberries. Then I got the gig at the animal shelter, and thought that Fairy Falls should expand to include other psychic adventures. I’ve planned for five books in the Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series, each with a different cast of characters and psychic abilities, and using Fairy Falls as the backdrop to glue these stories together.
Your main characters are a cat and a dog. How did you get into the POV of these animal characters?
All the shelter animals in Lost and Found are based on an animal I cared for in some capacity at the shelter. Now, trying to come up with each animal’s unique voice wasn’t that hard for me, since I went by the personality of the cat or dog. I observed certain quirks, how each animal behaved, what were they afraid of, what they liked, and so on. What I found was that every animal (even kittens born in the same litter) was different. Just. Like. People. When I was ready to sit down and write their story, I compiled a list of shelter animals that readers would emotionally relate to and connect with. Many came to me as a surprise, others were firmly planted in my imagination from the very beginning.
What was your favourite thing about writing Lost and Found?
The dialogue between the animals. They just crack me up, and like young kids, are so painfully truthful. I think creating the animal characters gave me a lot of freedom too. Other than getting the descriptions and mannerisms correct, the animals allowed me to play as a writer. I felt no pressure or restrictions writing their story, and loved every minute of it! This is truly a champion of the underdog tail…er tale.
If you could have lunch with any author, alive or dead, who would they be & why?
That’s a no-brainer: Dianna Gabaldon. She wrote the Outlander time travel romance series, and the depth of her research boggles my mind. Her characters are well-developed and stories are richly layered. I’d love to pick her brain, and maybe what’s on her plate since we’re out for lunch, to get her to divulge some of her techniques and any advice with me. Kilts would be optional, of course.
What are you working on next?
It seems I’m gonna have to learn to juggle between two book series now! Presently, I’m working on the next installment of The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel adventure series. I’ve already planned and started Book #3, The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, featuring Drake Bailey as the point-of-view character. As mentioned above, Blackflies and Blueberries, Book #2 in Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls has been written but needs to be revised and polished for print. So I’d better get those balls into the air and start juggling!
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog and letting me share my literary wares, Dianna! I really appreciate your support and all you do for your fellow authors! Cheers and keep on writing!
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.
BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE
Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:
Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:
And for those readers who love to escape to the past and have a blast…
The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:
The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:
The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:
Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links: