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Local View: Author, Illustrator and Dog Mom, Alice Hanh

Blog

Local View: Author, Illustrator and Dog Mom, Alice Hanh

Kari Kalway

We would like to introduce you to Alice and her dog, Bear. Alice is in the process of writing a children’s book about dog adoption. Her book will feature many adoption stories from around the world, including some Washington dogs like our friend, @Dolly.the.Chi. Please enjoy reading about Alice and her book. If this endeavor speaks to you, you can donate to her GoFundMe page to help cover the publishing costs and put this book on children’s bookshelves everywhere. You can also contact her through email at bearnosebest@gmail.com, Instagram @bearnosebest, or follow her on Facebook, /bearnosebest

How Alice met Bear:
While Alice was healing from the heart break of losing her first dog after 14 years together, she wasn’t convinced that she wanted to go through the heart break of loving and losing another dog. But after two years it hit her, she is a dog person and she will always need that kind of love in her life. 

Alice started searching for her new companion online with Pet Finder and other rescue websites and by visiting shelters. Then she spotted Rex, an adorable golden retriever, on PAWS’s website. She went to go visit him, but he was already on hold for another family. That day she hung out at the shelter for another hour and went through all the dogs over and over again. She kept going back to Rex, until she saw this small, black dog sitting all by himself right next to Rex. Alice was surprised that she hadn’t noticed him until then. She offered him a treat and found that he was very gentle and cautious. He seemed like such a sweet boy and she felt the need to check him out. After she went though the application process and was approved, she met him in the back area of PAWS. He was loving and trying to snuggle, but also he wanted to play and kept bringing a ball to her. After that experience, he stole her heart. The little black dog was 6 months old and not especially cute at the time, but she couldn’t stop thinking about him while she waited a day to make the decision. Bear was the one, and he sealed it with a lick on Alice's hand the next day when she came to adopt him. 

What inspired her to write a children’s book?
Growing up, she was most interested in sitting and writing stories, drawing or making cards and stationery. Writing came more naturally than other subjects in school so she decided to study journalism in school. Writing a book was something that she had always wanted to do but, until now, she had never thought that it was realistic to follow that passion. 

How does the publication process work?
This process was foreign to Alice when she started. After reading a bunch of publishing books and  researching the subject of publishing children’s book, she decided that self-publishing seemed to be the easiest option in this day and age because the bulk of the responsibilities lands on the author. The author fronts the publishing costs and has control over most of the decisions for the writing, editing and release process. Another benefit of the self-publishing route is that the timeline for release generally is shorter since there are less approval points. 

What is the current timeline for the book?
April- Alice has focused on writing the story this month. There will be two parts to the book, the main story line and the dog biographies at the end of the book.

May and June- Illustrations will be created to match the pictures with the main story.

June and July-  She will shift her focus to editing the “true stories,” the biography stories she collected from all over the world. 

August and September- She will be trading drafts back and forth with her editor. 

October- Her goal is to have the book ready for publication. 

February through April 2019 - The publication process generally takes 4-6 months before the book is released. Stay tuned for more information about a launching party in early spring 2019!

How many dog adoption stories will be in the book and which areas of the world are included?
When Alice started on this journey of collecting adoption stories for her book, she expected that it would take one to two months to collect enough stories. Instead, she was overwhelmed by the positive response to her request for adoption stories. After only a week and a half, she had received 52 stories from dog lovers from around the world. 

The 22 stories included in the book come from South Korea, Bermuda, Australia, Iran, Mexico, and the USA. Ten of these stories are from our own corner of the world in Western Washington State.

How did she choose the stories that will be featured in the book?
It was very difficult to trim down the number of stories to include in the book. To help her make the decision, she printed all the stories and dog pictures she had received and posted them on the wall to make the Wall of 50. She read through each of the stories 2-3 times and categorized them to find the balance for the book. The comparisons were made in a few differing categories: by the dog’s breed or physical traits, where they are from, the dog’s personality change from before and after adoption, the reason they were at the shelter to begin with or if it was an educational story to help inform future adopters. Alice’s main goal was to choose outstanding stories that were relatable and most representative of adoption stories around the world. 

What has been her favorite experience and most challenging experience she has encountered since she started this project?
The best part about committing to write a children’s book about dog adoption has been the dog community support. It took her by surprised that so many people wanted to support her goal. Meeting the people who love dogs, their community and rescues inspiring. Working with the rescue community is the most fun, because those people have a exceptional hearts. 

Alice is now in the most challenging part of the process; sitting down to write on her own timeline. So far is has been on other people’s timelines, collecting the stories, but now it’s up to her to sit down and use her brain to create the story. The best way to support her now is to ask her where she is on her book to help keep her motivated.