I’m so honored to have Guilie Castillo Oriard choose Angels Bark as a host for a stop on her book tour for her new book The Miracle of Small Things.
I’ve been reading her book and am totally captivated. The story is engaging, the setting is spectacular and the relationship that develops between the main character and a lost abandoned dog is a story you won’t want to miss.
Guilie is a very talented writer. Her descriptive style takes you into the story where you’ll find yourself enjoying scenic Curacao as if you were right there. Her easy flow makes it easy to relate to the characters. You’ll be invested in the story right from the first sentence.
Here’s Guilie, in her own words, about The Miracle of Small Things:
THE HIDDEN STORY OF A DOG
Why would anyone abandon an animal? Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? And yet it happens all the time. Right now, someone is walking into a shelter to surrender their cat. Someone is moving away and leaving their dog behind. Someone, maybe expecting a baby, maybe with a new boyfriend, is turning their companion of years out into the street.
Here in Curaçao, December is peak season for abandoning animals. We find them roaming the street, skinny and disoriented and terrified. Or in the mondi (the wild), tied to a tree. If they (and we) are lucky, we find them alive.
But the island is small, not many people will adopt homeless mutts, and shelters and rescue organizations are all scraping to stay above water.
That leaves the animal-lover diehards. The ones who cannot say no, who cannot turn the other way. I have seven dogs, which might seem like a lot. Within this diehard community, it’s not. I know people who have 18 dogs, or 26, or 38. No, they’re not hoarders; these dogs are up for adoption. And they all have miserable stories to tell, if they could.
In THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS, I wanted to deal with the issue of abandonment but not in any maudlin, tear-jerker sort of way. Us rescuers often get a bad rep for manipulative tactics: the skeletal-dog pictures, the horror stories, the pleas for help.
I was going for a balance knotty to achieve. I wanted a story that animal advocates would enjoy and respect, one that put into realistic context the challenges (and joys) of rescuing. But I also wanted to reach the non-converts. The people who dump pets when they’ve become ‘inconvenient’. Who buy puppies at pet stores. Who give out chicks and bunnies at Easter.
The people who’d never pick up a book about a dog.
So I did this: I hid the dog story within a sort of legal-drama-slash-romance about Luis Villalobos, a man who comes to Curaçao for a fabulous career opportunity—and then ruins everything when he sleeps with his boss and falls in love with a client.
Also, accidentally, he rescues a dog.
This dog, named Al after J. Alfred Prufrock (Luis has a poetic vein), becomes a subtle symbol for the shift in focus Luis experiences throughout the story, all the way to the final test: Luis’s stay in Curaçao isn’t permanent, and relocating with a dog is out of the question. Luis will have to make a decision, and that decision will—quite literally—shape his life. (And Al’s.)
I don’t know if I achieved what I wanted. Will animal people love the story? Will harder hearts be softened by it? Will it make them think twice before abandoning an animal? Maybe even sway them into rescuing? I’ll probably never know. But I can hope.
And, on behalf of every homeless animal everywhere, please consider fostering or adopting from your local shelter before year-end. Home for the holidays never meant so much as it does to them.
Thank you so much, Michele, for opening the doors of Angels Bark to me (and Al) for this next-to-last post on the MIRACLE tour. It’s an honor to be a part of your wonderful animal-loving community.
Is animal abandonment frequent in your area? Are you an animal rescuer? How did you become involved in rescuing?
ABOUT THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS (Truth Serum Press, Aug 2015): Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.
ABOUT GUILIE: A Mexican writer and dog rescuer who moved to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book.
ABOUT THE TOUR: To celebrate the e-book release of THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS, several blogs are hosting Guilie throughout November to talk about writing, the book, its island setting and its characters — including a 100-lb. monster dog rescued from the streets — and some of the issues MIRACLE touches on, such as the role of large and small things in the realignment of our values, and the power of place in our definition of self.