Virtual Book Tour w/Giveaway: Two Brothers, One Redhead and a Stolen Giraffe by Sarah Mandell
Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe
by Sarah Mandell
Sarah Mandell will be awarding 5 of her handmade laser etched wooden pendants that she is launching as a new collection in conjunction with the release of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.Please visit GoddessFish.com to follow the tour, remember the more you comment better your chances on winning.
The McElroy brothers find trouble easily. Dylan plunges headfirst into it, while Daniel cleans up behind him. That’s the way it’s always been, ever since their mother left them to be bounced around the foster system, causing trouble wherever they went. The soon-to-be euthanized giraffe they just stole from the Northside Animal Park may be their biggest predicament yet, in more ways than one, but there's no undoing what's been done.
Lost in Nebraska without a plan, clueless how to care for the ornery old beast in the back of the trailer, the well-meaning brothers stop to rest at an abandoned-looking barn. A pretty redhead with a snappy temperament and a shotgun discovers the boys and their sixteen-foot stowaway. Her name is Josephine, she lives on this farm with her father who is spoken of, but never seen, and her root cellar has more locks than a bank vault. She’s got a way with animals and plenty of secrets, not to mention the interest of two brothers who swore they’d never let some girl come between them.
“I’ll open the door. You can bait her off the truck.”
With their roles designated, Dylan reached for the lever. The back door of the trailer flew open with a loud crash. Daniel winced at the noise. They were supposed to be doing this quietly. He peeked around the barn to see the farmhouse, in case a light had come on in response to the bump in the night, but there was nothing. He returned to his spot by the trailer and squinted his eyes, looking into the rectangular cavern. There seemed to be no sign of life in there either, which was odd, considering all the signs of life thumping around in that very same trailer pretty much nonstop since Chicago.
“Crap. Did we kill her?” Dylan asked, his tone wavering just enough to give away the tightening in his throat. “Millie?” His voice echoed in the metal room lined with hay, but no sound could be heard in response.
Daniel stepped forward and held out one of the salads, just like he was supposed to, while balancing the bag with the sandwiches in his other arm. Sure enough, the smell of food inspired movement. The boys smiled at each other in relief. Millie was still alive back there, concealed by darkness, and perhaps she was hungry enough to follow her dinner down the ramp, off the truck, and into the barn. Surely they could lure her like a kitten. How they got her into this huge trailer was something no words could describe, but how they planned to get her out wasn’t likely to be any easier.
A long blackish purple tongue emerged from the dark and licked the salad, pulling out a piece of iceberg lettuce to chew. Daniel, no longer pissed at his brother for thinking up these stupid adventures, was now in awe of the creature before him. Her crooked bottom teeth chomped the lettuce against the flat roof of her mouth, just inches from his hand. Next, she inspected the paper bag that held the sandwiches, curious by what was probably her first up-close sniff of fried food, and Daniel let her, thinking nothing of it. She stuck her whole pointy face in the bag, coming out with Daniel’s chicken sandwich. It was still wrapped in wax paper, but she didn’t seem to mind. Her jaw slowly opened and closed, rolling in circular motions like a cow, as she savored a meal not intended for her. She ate the paper too.
Q & A with Sarah Mandell
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Sarah Hall is one of my favorite writers, because she really takes her time with character development and descriptions. Sometimes her writing is a little complicated and I have to re-read a paragraph twice and really pay attention, but I really enjoy her style and the characters are always well done. My two favorite books from Sarah Hall are Daughters of the North and The Electric Michelangelo.
I’m a big fan of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and I was really inspired by Rosie the elephant, the way she had a personality without stealing the show. That’s exactly what I tried to achieve in my new book Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe. I wanted Millie the giraffe to have her quirks, and be a background character, without making the whole book about her.
Lastly, I was inspired by Andrew Smith’s In the Path of Falling Objects. The bond between the brothers in the book really struck me, and I know for sure it influenced how I developed my own characters for my new book. In my story, there’s a certain grittiness to McElroy bother’s background. They’re inseparable, but they also can’t help but argue about everything.
What's your pet peeve?
Talking on the phone. I absolutely hate getting phone calls and will only answer calls from a handful of people. It’s an introvert thing I guess.
When you are in writer mode, music or no music? If music, do you have a playlist?
Music is very important to my writing. I listen to specific genres that relate to the story I’m working on, and that was very much the case when I wrote Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe. The story takes place on a farm in the middle of Nebraska, so I wanted background music that had roots, and a slight country vibe (but the problem is, I really hate country music).
I wrote the first draft in 9 days, and listened to Doug Burr exclusively for the entire time. He’s got a soulful voice, and strong country influences, but it worked well for me because it’s more alt country / indie folk. In fact, I was so inspired by the music playing in the background that it seeped into the story I was working on. One of my main characters, Josephine Larsen, listens to Doug Burr in her truck and even plays the song “Always Travel Light” for Daniel. This song, along with lots of others that inspired me later on when I started the editing process, can be found in this Spotify playlist I created to go along with the release of my new book:
Who was your favorite hero/heroine?
My favorite hero would have to be Daniel Grey from My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. Actually, he has many names throughout history, Daniel is just one of them! He’s able to recall past lives and find people who lived them (in their current lives), and best of all, he’s able to be reunited with his true love hundreds of years and lifetimes later.
Have you ever had one character you wanted to go one way with but after the book was done the character was totally different?
Oh yes! When I first came up with the characters and plot for Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe, I had planned on both of the McElroy brothers having the same amount of character development, and equal focus in the story. As I got through writing a few chapters, I realized one of them had to be the stronger character, they couldn’t both be written the same way, so I chose to make one brother showy and reckless, the kind of guy who talks non-stop and is pretty easy to read personality wise. The other brother is quiet and complex, and I chose to focus on him in the story because without the narrator telling you about his backstory or what he’s thinking, you’d never be able to guess what he was all about. Daniel McElroy’s character is tough to crack!
Sarah Mandell is a professionally trained artist with a background in commercial interior design. She's also the brains and busy hands behind a thriving indie craft business called Once Again Sam in Greenville, SC. Even with an ever-expanding collection of creative outlets, she's truly the happiest when she's writing. Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe is Sarah’s second novel. Her debut novel was Celia on the Run (Untreed Reads, 2012).