Seven Days to Goodbye
by Sheri S Levy
GENRE: Young Adult- coming of age
Sheri S Levy will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC 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.
Thirteen year old, Trina has chosen to raise service dogs and have puppy after puppy. But during her seven day beach vacation, Trina struggles with having to return Sydney at the end of the week and worrying about her best friend changing into a stranger. To complicate the week, Sydney, meets a young boy with autism and the girls meet his two older brothers. Tension is raised over the guys, and Trina fears she’ll lose more than her service dog. Will Trina's lose her best friend, also?
Uh, oh. The wind lifted the Frisbee into the air. It looked as if the disc had sprouted wings, and disappeared up and over the jetty. Sydney halted, staring at me. He was used to chasing his toy. His eyes asked for permission as his body quivered pent-up energy. Letting him struggle for a minute, I giggled and said, “Okay, Syd. Find Frisbee.”
I did a slow jog towards the rocks and seconds later, Sarah called, “Wait for me.” I did a slow jog towards the rocks and seconds later, Sarah called, “Wait for me.”
I turned around and stopped. “Wow, you're joining me! Come on. I’ve got to
find Syd’s Frisbee. It’s on the other side.”
We climbed over the jetty. The dogs used their four-legged drive and moved much faster than Sarah or me. When we reached the top of the mound, Sydney stood a distance away with his Frisbee at his feet, leaning close to a small boy. The boy continued to pat the sand in his bucket and turn it upside down, making a row of mounds.
My heart did a triple beat in quarter time. I started running. Sydney’s stub wiggled and jiggled as soon as the boy’s sandy hands rubbed his back.
“I’m sorry,” I said running ahead. I bent, face to face with the boy. “I hope he didn’t scare you.”
The boy never looked at me, only at Sydney and back to the sand. He said in a monotone voice, “Doggy, doggy.”
Sarah meandered up to us. I panted in fast spurts. Worried about the boy and Sydney, I never noticed the rest of the group. A little ways from the small boy, two guys around our age worked on a fort or it could have been a sand castle. The one who seemed to be the oldest, stood. He had long legs and was much taller than I expected. Using his hand, he shoved his longish brown bangs out of his eyes.
Oh, Sarah had definitely noticed. She smiled, pushed loose hair back into her braid and pulled her bathing suit in place.
I rolled my eyes. Okay. Here she goes.
Q & A with Sheri S. Levy
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
When I began writing my first draft, Dog Days of Summer, I knew I wanted to bring back memories of special times on Edisto Beach. My husband and I and our best friends, frequented an old house on Edisto Island for years. Our friends had a black and white, Springer Spaniel, and we had an Aussie and a Black Lab. We spent long weekends frolicking in the sand and water, and listening to music on the screened-in porch at night.
After we lost our best friend and all of our dogs had moved on to doggy heaven, it was my way of keeping their memories fresh. Every day I walked my new dogs, ideas flowed through my brain. It was painful at first, but when I decided to write this story, it became very therapeutic.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The fun of writing this book was turning my memories into a young adult novel. I used some names of people that meant a lot to me, but readers wouldn’t know they were special. Many of the activities in the story were from experiences, but I had fun adding a sweet romance. Don’t most teens go to the beach anticipating a love interest?
I wanted to make the story about Trina, a puppy raiser for service dogs. Having taught special education for years, I discovered service dogs were becoming an important part of therapy for autism, mobility and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I found a service dog organization, PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Living Services), and they helped me with my research. Soon I was using my dog training knowledge with my experience with autism and began writing.
Teen issues added conflicts that most teens endure. Friendships change as one person matures before the other. Jealousy creeps in as their interests change. And independence takes over logic thoughts.
When I completed the story, I changed the title to Seven Days to Goodbye. It takes over two years to train a service dog, and I hadn’t expected my title to sound sad, but actually joyful.
After a seven-day vacation on Edisto Beach, Trina’s trained dog, Sydney, will return to his facility to be matched to his forever companion. Trina has the choice to take a break from training, or choose to do it again.
PAALS and I support each other. Proceeds from Seven Days to Goodbye and my school visits help PAALS train more dogs. They have a waiting list of clients needing a service dog. Their organization is 100% non- profit. Most of the puppies are trained in a prison facility Monday through Friday. On Friday, a volunteer picks up the puppies and meets the foster families at a central location. The families enjoy socializing their pup by doing outings, giving them real life experiences, and introducing them to other animals and children. Monday morning, they return the pups to the prison trainer.
What inspires you?
I have always enjoyed teaching and helping with special needs. After I married, I worked during the day with the mentally handicapped. Two evenings a week, I attended college to graduate with a BA and continued until I earned three special needs teaching credentials. When a new Multi- Handicapped class was added at my children’s elementary school, I applied, and was offered the job.
The best part about teaching is motivating students to try hard and not give up. I used only positive reinforcement and enjoyed great results. My favorite time of the day was reading out loud. Most of my students hated reading because of their difficulties. But once they became involved in a story, they begged for more. This new interest nurtured their desire to work harder and learn to read by themselves.
I believe my students were the ones who inspired me to write. As I share my experiences during each school visit, my goal is to motivate other students to enjoy writing and to encourage them to read often.
What do your plans for future projects include?
After Seven Days to Goodbye was offered publication, my readers asked me what came next for my characters. I realized I needed to finish the story. The sequel, Starting Over, is due July 18th, 2017. And I am busy working on the third story, For Keeps.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sheri, originally from California, moved to South Carolina with her husband, two children and a Siamese cat. Soon they adopted their first rescue dog who influenced their need to continue living with dogs. Sheri taught a multi-handicapped Special Ed class, and then a GED-parenting class, which included home visits. Because of her love of reading, Sheri found unusual ways to encourage children to read. After her rescue of a difficult dog, Sheri enrolled in dog classes to change his behavior. Her dream of writing, Seven Days to Goodbye, came from the culmination of her beach experiences, her understanding of behaviors, and from research with PAALS, a service dog organization.