Mountain Tails are wagging

mt-coverAs the advance copies of my second book, Mountain Tails, are about to arrive, anticipation is mounting here on the mountain.  All our tails are wagging!

Just like an expected baby, joy and fear are intermingled for me until I hold the actual book. I cried when I first saw 
The Woman on the Mountain;  I expect I shall do the same with Mountain Tails.

I can’t wait to see it, and stroke it – and read it, as it will look so different from my A4 manuscript! 

It will be even more exciting because I have done a black and white (and  grey!) illustration for each of the 44 short tales — anecdotes and observations, mixed with what I have learnt about these wonderful native creatures with whom I share my place. 

They continue to amaze, amuse, infuriate and educate me. I hope my book will do the same for my readers, and help ensure that no more of our wildlife vanishes into the extinction with which so many are threatened.
I keep telling various of my wild animal neighbours that they are in the book, or apologising to those who’ve only moved in since I handed in the manuscript. I haven’t apologised to the python, but it would have made a great tale, and a great subject for drawing.

Perhaps there will need to be a sequel.

Here’s how Chapter One begins:

Welcome to my Mountain

Short or tall or really small,
Furred or feathered, smooth or scaly —           
I’m the poorest creature here, without a tail at all.

Being the only human resident of a wildlife refuge, on the edge of a national park that is far from any town, I see lots of creatures behaving ‘wildly’. They can be so natural because they ignore me, as they should.

After all, I’m obviously of an inferior and inadequate species: no tail, only two legs, pathetic hearing, poor vision that’s shockingly so at night, no built-in insulation of fur or feathers, and an apparent inability to survive on the local abundance of grass, leaves, roots and other creatures.

To that general picture of modern white Australians, my neighbours might add other deficiencies peculiar to me: knees that can’t be relied on to bend, as knees must, to climb up and down slopes, inappropriate Celtic skin that burns to cancerous spots under our sunshine, and a lack of any singing talent.

and it ends:

I offer my readers, old and new, this illustrated collection of ‘Mountain tails’. Mostly short, a few tall, mostly new, a few classics — to make you smile, chuckle or sniffle, say ‘Oo-oh!’, ‘Aha!’, or, better still, ‘A-a-ah!’.
Come take a walk in my gumboots and meet my neighbours.

Mountain Tails will be in bookshops in early April, or you can order from the publishers, Exisle, online. More information from Exisle here.

17 thoughts on “Mountain Tails are wagging”

  1. Hi Sue.
    Thanks for the much-valued feedback. And the wallaby weirdo wouldn’t need to show off now, as I gave up; all the yard gates are open. A whole new chapter in the way we live together!

  2. Dear Sharyn,
    Just had to let you know that i absolutely enjoyed ‘Mountain Tails’as well.Won’t have that feeling of being lost in a book until you bring out the latest chapter of your life and animals on the mountain.Waiting in anticipation(no pressure)Heehee!
    P.S.Did the double jointed “Wallaby weirdo” ever return?

  3. Hi Darian,
    Thank you so much for that feedback! I love it when my books strike such a strong chord with a reader– but there can’t be too many who have as similar a setting, as you do. Hope you enjoy ‘The Woman on the Mountain’ as much.

  4. Dear Sharyn
    My mother sent me your book I really enjoyed it. She said it may be a bit slow for me “but you’ll probably know all the animals”…well I DEVOURED it. It was like being inside my own head listening to myself babble on about all the wildlife and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I live in a fairly remote spot on the edge of a national reserve between an old mining village and Cordeax Dam, ie basically the middle of nowhere where I paint and draw and write, so I could completely relate to the lifestyle and the animals (except we unfortunately don’t have Quolls, well – not that I’ve seen yet!) Look forward to reading your first as soon as I can.

  5. Hi Sharyn…. I am really looking forward to your next book. Being passionate about wild things and also living in wilderness ourselves (my husband is a vet with native animal background) your book will find a welcome home on our bookshelves once it has been read and re-read several times. We all share dismay at the environmental disasters occurring. Best wishes JF

  6. Thanks DWG. It had got very hot and dry here and fires were in the shire but not here. Then over the last five days we have had so much rain (220 mm or nearly 9 inches) that I am stranded. The creek crossing is too high.
    Extremes are the go in Australia (and elsewhere) now and will be worse if we don’t act. And yes, ‘greed’ is the word! But our pollies are still listening to the wrong people, unlike in the US, at last.

  7. Sharyn, I am pleased for you and your readers that your new book is about to be available and I agree the python would have been a great chapter. As soon as possible I will have it sent to the USA as I did your first one and enjoy it just as much!
    Also, I have been so concerned about the fires in Australia and too I really do not know if you were in personal danger from them. But I have thought about you and your personal safety, as well as what this is all about. There are so many scary things going on all around this world, of course in our own country. So much boils down to that word GREED. So much has happened because of it!! Do take care!
    DWG in Southern USA

  8. Thanks Kez. You’d have to be one of my earliest blog commentators. Glad I got to meet you in person at the Maitland talk.
    And there are three more books, all very different, in the pipeline for the next few years!

  9. Well, I’ll do a review here if I may, and let more people know about Fleur from the west, our newest about-to-be-bestselling author!

  10. Hi Sharyn 4th of May it comes out, but you’re getting an early copy so I’m told! Keep watching your mail!

  11. How briliant Sharyn – I can now say I understand your feelings after getting Red Dust in the mail this week! I’m so excited for you!

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