The Beauty Series: Bringing Up Beauty, A Different Kind of Beauty and Beauty Returns, represents the books for which I’m best known. Essentially they follow Elizabeth as she fosters first a black Lab, Beauty I, then a Chocolate Lab, Beauty II, and finally a golden retriever, Magic.
In the second book, the view point splits to hers and that of sixteen year old Kyle’s who gets a white cane instead of a driver’s license. In the third, they go out. No dogs every die.
Over the course of creating Kyle, I met and chatted with many people with visual impairments.
I also wrote the lyrics for a song because I wanted him to sing a lullabye but darned if I wanted to track down rights. Angela McKay, one of the women I interviewed, is a singer songwriter and she and her husband Brian helped me set the words to music.
This trailer gives snippits of all three novels with Angela singing Kyle’s Lullabye.
My son, Craig McNicoll, did the filming and editing. There are voiceovers for Elizabeth (Jennifer Filopowicz, my daughter) Alicia (Eireann McNicoll, my daughter-n-law) and a scene with Kyle acted by Ian Garden, Eireann’s brother. Many dogs acted in this video including Buster, Beauty’s brother. Yes there is now a real Beauty named for the book. Also the golden retriever belongs to Amy, another young woman who fosters guide dogs because she read Bringing Up Beauty.
The covers of my novels were painted by Shariff Taribay.
For me the video reminds me of a huge voyage in my life and all the wonderful docks (as well as dogs) along the way. Listen carefully to the end and you’ll hear my granddaughter Violet give a cry.
If you know a dog lover, you should buy these three books. Available from the usual online sources but also at Burlington’s A Different Drummer Book Store.
I liked all the Christmas cards I received. Friends are another of the treasures of life. But feeling that you’ve made a difference is probably the most exciting aspect of being a writer. It’s not always reflected in royalties, reviews or awards. This Christmas card made me feel as though I have contributed significantly to Canadian children’s literature. So I want to post it here, in case I lose the actual physical photo. Samantha read Bringing Up Beauty in grade 4. Now she’s at U of Guelph and works part time at Canine Vision Canada. She fosters many dogs but a couple of months ago she told me she was finally raising a chocolate Lab that she named Beauty after the two dogs in Bringing Up Beauty, A Different Kind of Beauty and Beauty Returns. I feel honoured.