Oh my gosh—goats! Since choosing to incorporate a small herd into the novel (in progress), I’ve become completely enamoured with the little scamps. My curiosity was fully lit after a call out to my Facebook community garnered anecdotes and recommendations on where to learn more. I’m continually grateful for the anecdotes and facts they shared, many of which will colour the pages of my story.
“When they are happy, they do a little ‘corkscrew’ dance/prance which is very comical.” ~ Mila
“The goat, unhappy at being left alone, would invariably open the field gate with her horns and strike out for company, joining us companionably for the duration of the walk.” ~ Aisha
“Merlin is so sweet & loving, & so smart! He loves to come up to you and let out a quiet maa, waiting for a leg or head massage.” ~ Hanna
Part of acquiring context and developing authenticity in writing can involve field research. I took that term quite literally when my husband Eric and I recently visited friends, Candice and Ken at their farm in Northumberland County. They introduced their herd of Lamancha goats and acquainted me with the basics of their behaviour and care. After growing up with fairy tales and children’s stories featuring billy goats, nanny goats and kids, it’s going to take some practise to refer to them as a buck and a females as a doe, and a youngster as a buckling or doeling.
I can’t wait to start writing goats into my scenes. What a pleasure to meet this diverse cast of personalities! For their photographic cooperation, thanks goes out to the does: Zsa Zsa, Lucy, and Bambi; to doelings: Doris Day, Coco Chanel, and Pandora; and to buckling Zeus .
Some of the best research days are the ones spent in conversation with good friends. Eric and I enjoyed this day so much and it was made all the more special by Candice and Ken’s love of goats, the land and life’s simple pleasures.
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“For all the novel features characters that are alone, it is a story driven by human connections (…) With vivid descriptions, natural dialogue and in-depth characterization, Tuinman compels us to look beyond the surface. The ending is triumphant.” –Historical Novel Society
“The environmental component is relevant to our times, the struggle to be heard over greed and ignorance and other people’s agendas is real. (…) This book would lend itself to be made into a movie.” ~ Canadian Author Association Reviewer