Guest Authors

A Place to Call Home by G. A. Whitmore


What Inspired Me to Write a Book?

I’ve always had a passion for reading. I was one of those kids who hid a flashlight under my mattress at night, so after my parents tucked me in, I could read under the sheet to my heart’s content. I didn’t become interested in writing until I took a Creative Writing class in college. Even then, I didn’t spend a lot of time writing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. I wrote some poetry and short stories, but nothing I ever considered publishing. Nothing on the scale of a novel.

Then I met Toby. Toby was seven months old when I first saw him at the Connecticut Humane Society. He had been physically abused and was severely traumatized. His backstory, as told to me by the woman who rescued him, fascinated and horrified me at the same time. He was found in northern California in a box in a dumpster with a white female puppy, presumably his sister. They were discovered by a young couple travelling back to Los Angeles, who took the puppies home with them. The local vet, upon examining the dogs, thought they might be part wolf. Toby ultimately ended up in Connecticut after relatives of the couple, who had stopped by to visit while on a cross-country driving trip, decided to adopt the puppies.

I couldn’t stop wondering how and why Toby and his sister ended up in a dumpster in a box, and were they really part wolf? And more importantly, what would drive someone to abuse a defenseless puppy? My musings turned into a story. The story turned into a book.

The impetus to finish writing the book came from my realization that Toby’s story could help raise awareness of the plight of abused and abandoned dogs. When A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale was published earlier this year, I decided to donate part of the proceeds from the sale each book to a rescue organization in honor of Toby and all rescue dogs in need of a place to call home.

A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale

Book Excerpt

My favorite scenes in my book A Place to Call Home: Toby’s Tale are Toby’s dream sequences. They were fun to write because I didn’t need to stick to plausible situations or events within them. Anything could go. This particular dream scene takes place two-thirds of the way into the book. At this point in the story, Toby is convinced he will never find a place to call home.

Was this another dream? Who would visit him in this dream?

As if in answer to his question, a large pack of wolves and dogs slowly materialized out of the enshrouding gray and one-by-one encircled him.

The snow stopped falling. All was still and quiet.

A long, wailing howl pierced the silence.

Followed by another.

Then another.

After a few moments, a chorus of howls erupted from the group that now surrounded Toby. A primordial urge rose within him. He stood up and shook off the light layer of snow that had accumulated on his fur. The urge grew stronger, more compelling, until he realized his own voice had joined the others. The multitude of voices became one as they howled on and on, until the cry reached its crescendo and abruptly ended, leaving an echoing silence around them once again.

A large, white figure approached Toby.

“Welcome to our pack, Toby.” The figure turned, and with a nod of his head, indicated the others. He turned back to Toby. “How did you come to be here?”

            Toby tried to find his voice, but the howl still reverberated in his throat. When he finally spoke, his reply was weak and raspy. “I don’t know. I don’t even know where here is.” He hesitated, and then asked, “How do you know my name?”

“My name is Strider, Toby. I am your grandfather.”

Strider! The memory of lying with Tara next to his mother as she told them the story of Sadie and Strider came flooding back to him and he felt a warmth of emotion flow through his body.

“Where is this place? How did I get here?” Toby asked.

Strider paused in thought for a moment, and then replied, “This land is a different place for different creatures, yet it is the same place for all creatures. For us,” Strider swept his large head around him, “this is the place we call home.”

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  1. Thanks for sharing the inspiration for your book, Gail. Looking forward to reading your story about Toby! Thanks for hosting, Kristie!
    John Fioravanti recently posted…John Fioravanti: HELP FOR INDIE AUTHORS!My Profile

  2. I enjoyed reading about the inspiration for your book, Gail. Thanks for hosting, Kristy.

  3. Thank you Kristy for hosting Gail on her “Spotlight” Author blog tour.

    I am shocked at the way animals have been abused. I once attended a get together. One of the dogs seemed a bit skittish. Several of us asked about her. Apparently she was a show dog and they didn’t want her barking, so they had her vocal chords cut. This just broke my heart. I wonder what other awful things had been done to this poor defenseless animal.

    Thank you Gail for sharing this story. I have the book in my Kindle and hope to read it very soon.

  4. It always angers me when I hear of people like that who do things to anyone who is defenseless–animal or human. With all the animal shelters and humane societies, the animals could have easily been left at one of those.
    Rebecca Carter recently posted…Thracian Guvetche (Pot) Cooking StyleMy Profile

  5. Thanks for hosting me Kristy! It’s much appreciated. Love your blog site and will subscribe to it as soon as I post this comment! Thanks to all my RRBC friends, too. They’re the best author support group around.

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