Yippee! It's alive! It's launched! It's a book! Oh, sorry, but even after nineteen books published, it's still exciting to know that the new one is out there, on bookstore shelves, in libraries, on e-readers, in people's hot little hands. My new one is The Money Bird, second in my Animals in Focus Mystery series. The first book, Drop Dead on Recall, has been well received, especially among my fellow dog & cat fanciers and dog-sport enthusiasts. It was even named one of the Ten Best Dog Books of 2012 by NBC PetSide!
The Money Bird begins when photographer cum accidental amateur sleuth Janet MacPhail sees her friend Tom's dog, Drake, retrieve something mysterious during a retriever training session. As in the first book, the setting for the story includes an animal-oriented activity taking place in northeastern Indiana. I've been involved with animal sports since I was a kid -- first with horses, then with dogs -- and I've been writing about dogs and cats for nearly 20 years, so I know this world and its many characters well.
I know that there's more to the world of animals, even those we bring into our homes as companions, than sometimes meets the public eye. Although my first goal as a mystery writer is to spin an entertaining story, I also hope to tickle my readers' curiosity bones. I believe that fiction can raise people's consciousness without beating them over the head, which is why my mysteries all quietly raise issues for consideration. In The Money Bird, the issue is wildlife trafficking, specifically the ugly but lucrative trade in tropical birds, many of them members of endangered species.
So in The Money Bird we have dogs -- lots of dogs, many of them wet! -- and Leo, Janet's heroic little cat, and some birds who shouldn't be flying around a lake in northern Indiana. And aside from all this, Janet has to continue to meet her normal challenges: she's running a business, dealing on many levels with her mother's dementia, and trying to sort out just what she wants her relationship with Tom to be. That's a lot of birds - let's hope Janet has a big net!
Sheila Boneham has published 17 nonfiction books about dogs, cats, and animal rescue, six of which have won "best book" awards in their categories in competitions of the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers' Association. Her feature articles have been published in Dog Fancy, Dog World, The AKC Gazette, Cat Fancy, and more. She holds a PhD in folklore from Indiana University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Sheila lives in North Carolina with her husband Roger and her retriever girls, Lily the Lab (that's her, not Sheila, in the photo!) and Sunny the Golden. She's at work on the third Animals in Focus Mystery. You can reach her at www.sheilaboneham.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheilawrites. She'd love to hear from you!