Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Guest Post: S.R. Johannes - Author of THE NATURE OF GRACE series

The Animals in Grace's Life and Why They're Important

            So if you're an animal lover and an avid reader, you know that every good protagonist has his or her own personal four legged best friend  (or perhaps winged). For Grace, there isn't just one- but many! The animals in her life play a huge role in the adventures that she comes across, and without them she wouldn't be the fiery teen wilderness explorer she is! So in order to better understand Grace's world, let's take a dive into the animals that fill her life with meaning.

1. Simon (bear)

            Simon was Grace's first best friend and animal companion. With his adorable white bow tie, he's easy to spot and love! When they were both young, Grace and Simon played together, explored together, and even slept cuddled up next to each other. It's no wonder she recognized him in the woods that day-he's a pretty hard bear to miss! Without Simon's love and bear hugs, Grace may never have developed the true love for bears she has today.

2. Bear (dog)

           As Joe Well's ranger dog, Bear has an important job to do. He protects his owner while he's on duty, and sniffs out any signs of danger in the woods. But when he's off the clock, Bear is a happy go-lucky player, and  loves to play fetch with Grace and her dad! As the family dog and a USFWS trained canine, Bear leads an extremely busy life- but he wouldn't have it any other way.

3. Petey (bird)

            Now Petey is an interesting little character. Being an African Grey Parrot, Petey has the brain capacity of chimps and small children- not to mention an almost 800 word vocabulary! So whenever Birdee comes into town, Grace knows that her best bid friend will always be on her shoulder. Without Petey looking out, a lot of things may slip past Grace's grandmother; but with Petey, the two make the perfect team to help watch over Grace while she's fighting bad guys!

4. Bandit (wolf)

            Even though Grace never comes into close contact with Bandit, she does study him throughout the extent of her work with the Red Wolf Rescue Project. As she watches him, she realizes just how close he is to his family and how hard it is for him to survive as an endangered species- this pushes her through her mission of saving the wolves and stopping whoever is against them. So, while Bandit is not an up close and personal animal companion, he did teach Grace some important lessons about survival, family, and hope.

5. Cat (panther)

            Grace meets Cat in the Everglades and helps rescue her. She is a Florida Panther and endangered. In a way, Grace feels if she can save an animal, she can save herself from all that's gone on in her life. 

Thanks so much for sharing with us Shelli! This is so insightful!

Unstoppable (The Nature of Grace #3)Haven't read the latest in the NATURE OF GRACE series? Here's the synopsis for Unstoppable!

After everything that has happened, Grace moves to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee, and hang out with old man Rex, Birdee's "friend with benefits". Grace quickly befriends Dylan, Rex's nephew, and Dylan's girlfriend, Sadie, who is a die-hard teen activist. Sadie spends her time leading protests against the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for animals or the flimsy law.

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace and her friends rescue an abused—and endangered—Florida panther. She and Birdee spend time rehabilitating the animal. But when the panther runs off, Grace follows it to Uncle Bob's, a large roadside zoo they all have been protesting. One that is illegally filled with a variety of endangered and exotic animals. Before she can rescue the panther, she and her friends are kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. 

Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace and her friends are offered one chance at survival, but only if they reach civilization before being caught. With a small head start and very little supplies, only time and skill stand between the hunter and the hunted. But out in the Everglades, there may be more dangers than Grace realizes.

Against all odds, Grace must make it out alive and win, or everything she holds dear could be lost.

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