Thursday, February 2, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: Heroes & Hounds by Bill Miller



Welcome to the virtual book tour for Heroes & Hounds by Bill Miller! I have a review and guest post, so let's get to it.


Heroes and Hounds is a wonderfully charming story about a young girl’s adventures with her pony and her friend as she seeks to fulfill her dream of riding “to the hounds” with the hunt. Although the story is written for young audiences, it has multi-generational appeal as it touches on such issues as the plight of families with parents in military service and the welfare of veterans. Anyone who loves horses, dogs and other animals will enjoy this book. The illustrations are beautiful and create a nostalgia of their own in their old-style look reminiscent of children’s books decades ago.

Carly is 11 years old and lives with her grandfather on a 200-acre Virginia farm while both parents serve in the military overseas.  She loves the farm, and befriends all of the animals including a sneaky red fox that stalks her grandfather’s prize chickens. Her best friend is her pony, Monroe, who shares her enthusiasm for adventure.  Carly’s constant dream is to ride with the Riverdale Hunt Club that passes through her grandfather’s property.

On one particularly rainy Saturday, Carly watches from her front porch as the finely dressed ladies and gentlemen ride to the hounds.  Later in the day, Carly finds out that a young hound named Hampton has become lost and Carly is determined to find him and by so doing endear herself to the hunt’s Master; perhaps to be asked to ride Monroe in an upcoming meet.  Carly enlists the help of her friend, Freddie, but the adventure is just beginning.  Carly, Monroe, Hampton and the red fox have no idea what’s dangers await them.

Author Bill Miller kindly wrote a guest post for us on his inspiration for writing this book.

I have been an avid equestrian all of my adult life and have been actively involved in Foxhunting for most of that time. We are a drag hunt which means we don’t actually chase live animals and there is never a kill. A number of years ago, the Master of the Hunt, an elderly lady, told me the brief story about a hound that went missing for three months and was found safe and sound several states away. This was the inspiration for Heroes and Hounds and as an 80th birthday present for my dear friend, I wrote the story.  It was delivered as a manuscript in a three-ring binder.  I shopped the story around for a little while but I was disappointed at the results so I filed it away. (Rejection letters) A few years later, I met another author who was writing novels about foxhunting in Mississippi. We talked and she told me about self-publishing which by now had reached respectable levels. I sent her the manuscript, she read it and loved it, and encouraged me to publish. Next I looked for an illustrator which I felt would great enhance the project. I met a retired couple from upstate New York: She an illustrator, he a book designer.  I had gotten all kinds of ridiculous quotes from others around the country but Mary and Al read the story, loved it, and wanted to be part of the project. And they didn’t want any upfront money.  It took another year to bring the illustrations to life, to really rewrite and edit the manuscript and publish the book. But it was a labor of love from everyone involved and the results have been more than we ever imagined. The story itself, while based on a true incident, really took on a life of its own and is basically fiction.
 
I am currently working on a movie for the web called Cowboy Spirit which will be an original script.  We plan on shooting it next summer.  You can learn more about it at www.cowboyspirit.tv.


Bill Miller has been riding to the hounds for the over 40 years. For nearly 20 years he has been an honorary whipper-in for the Norfolk Hunt Club. Bill is also actively involved in Team Penning during the summer months. He lives on a small farm in Sherborn, Massachusetts with his wife, three horses and dog.. When not working with horses, Bill is an independent film director and cinematographer. His TV shows and commercials have been viewed by millions worldwide and he has won three Emmys and numerous other industry awards. He has also been widely published in trade magazines. Bill is also creative director for Spirit of the American Cowboy Foundation, a non-profit organization which raises money for pediatric cancer research.

Awards:
  • Television Emmys, Clios and other television awards

Find and follow Bill Miller on:

Buy the book at:


Review:

Carly loves to watch the hunt as it comes past. She dreams of getting to be a part of it one day, feeling the wind on her face as she and her faithful horse ride with the hounds. Young Hampton is one of those hounds, but he loses his way on a hunt. Hampton soon meet "Crazy" Willie, a man haunted by his wartime past. Carly, Hampton, and Willie will be undertaking an adventure none of them ever imagine, but it's something that will hold vast importance in their lives and others'. 

This was a really great book! It managed to be modern but with an old-fashioned feel. It really drew me back to my childhood, reminding me of some of the classic books for young people. You get a great feel for the hunt, and you can feel the wind whipping past as Carly rides. This book has a wonderful sense of atmosphere, and the descriptions make everything so real. Carly and Hampton are both fun characters. They are both young and curious, and they are watched over by some very special protectors.

There were some great messages too in this book, the main one involving judging people. Willie was so haunted by his past that he was no longer able to function easily in regular society. People were so scared of him, but he wasn't a bad person. Luckily Carly was able to see past the appearance and see someone worth helping. The illustrations in this book were also fantastic. Each one really helped to contribute to the realness of the story. I thought this was a fantastic book, and I think boys and girls will enjoy it equally. This is a book that will entertain and delight.

Book provided for review.


Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour (a full list can be 

found here). Thanks so much for stopping by!

2 comments:

Laurie said...

Loved your review and enjoyed reading the guest post about what inspired the book and it's path to publication. Great post!

Notso Plump said...

come check out my blog and follow me! :)