In Rescuing Penny Jane, Amy Sutherland takes us on an unforgettable journey into the special world of rescue and shelter dogs—and the growing number of dedicated people who are deeply invested in saving these precious lives. This is a tale perfect for anyone with a furry loved one of their own that has already received a starred review from Booklist saying, "She seamlessly interweaves a narrative of the dogs she has loved over the years—warts and all. Reader, beware: you may find yourself falling in love with each one, too." Check out the lovely guest post below to hear how Amy's local library helped this story be told.
While writing my new book, I spent the mornings working in the quiet of my home office in the company, appropriately, of my two rescue dogs, Walter Joe and Penny Jane. But after lunch, when the silence and the solitude started to distract me, I left my furry co-authors and walked to what I jokingly call “the loudest place in Charlestown”—the neighborhood library.
The Charlestown Public Library is an unusually modern building, a big cube of concrete lined with tall, gleaming windows, in a profoundly historic neighborhood. Unlike most of the locals, I admire the building and inside there are wide maple worktables that gleam in the abundant light. After a morning isolated in my condo and my mind, I would spread my notes across one of those tables and soldier on amid people of all ages reading books, studying for American citizenship tests, and doing their bills. Though we each toiled away at our own projects, I felt that we were somehow on a team, which relieved the solitariness of working on a book that was proving near impossible to write. The librarians’ daily greetings also helped, as did the noise.
Libraries are far from the silent monasteries I grew up going to, where the most common word I heard was “shusssh.” Now people talk on their phones. They giggle with their friends. They play videos on their computers. The Charlestown Public Library has all of that plus what I call the wall of sound. The architects, either for aesthetics or as some kind of a joke, put the children’s section on a second floor balcony overlooking the library’s main floor, where all the worktables are. Then someone donated a million Lego pieces to the children’s section. That is why the wall of sound is a mix of joyous shrieks, crying, and the tap, tap, tap of some little hand rifling through the Legos. Throw in the kids’ nannies gossiping and some days I felt like I was writing a book as a soccer hooligan riot raged above.
This, surprisingly, helped me concentrate. The only time I rose from my work to complain was when the computer game upstairs began to bloop and bleep. The librarians would rush upstairs to silence the machine but eventually some tech-savvy preschooler would turn the bloops and bleeps back on. Mostly the din helped me focus as well as cheered me on. Here’s the thing about the wall of sound. It’s made by life, something us authors can be too removed from and what a library is full of.
Thanks, Amy! Rescuing Penny Jane goes on sale in about a month, so there's still time to download the egalley and dive in to this moving story.