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Beats Chest and Does Tarzan Howl

Ok.  Not really.  But you get the idea.  It was a good day.

First, let me just say thanks to everyone who responded to the previous post.  Whether you commented or sent an email, your name is in the Stetson.  And boy is that hat full!  The drawing is Friday.  Also, I've compiled a list of all the great books you guys mentioned, and I'll post it here tomorrow.  Thank you. Thank you.

I'm also thankful and humbled by the kind words and terrific reviews that THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY has received.  Great books are collaborations, and Sweetheart is no exception.  My editor guided revisions with her head and her heart.  Rich Deas designed the cover and even turned the Feiwel & Friends logo into a heart with a black rooster perched on top; Barbara did the interior design using Cochin (also a term for a bantam rooster) as the font.  It is a beautiful book inside and out.  So if I beat my chest and do the Tarzan yell, please know I'm just thrilled for the whole team.

A few days back, I wrote about a Brooks & Dunn song that inspired me to let my rural voice run.  I will tell you that I had my doubts as to whether or not a story about a smalltown girl and her rooster would ever be published or if anyone would even connect with it.  None of that really mattered to me.  It didn't slow me down.  I was compelled only to write my heart.

Below is an excerpt from a review that came in today.  You'll find the complete one here:  http://readspace.net/2009/08/review-the-sweetheart-of-prosper-county/

When I read this part of the review, I cried.   Thank you. Susan.

 "This is a charming and delightful debut from Alexander.  She does a great job of making ALL the characters come to life, including a rooster and what is more and more a rarity in young adult literature, a mother who is involved in her daughter’s life and cares deeply about her well being and happiness.  What struck me most about this book though, was how universal it was.  I don’t mean that teens everywhere decide to raise roosters.  But they want to be a part of something, to be accepted and given a place, to show they belong and deserve to be there.  And for this reason, this book will resonate with teens everywhere, even if they have never HEARD of FFA.

The setting and the details of the story remind me that small rural agricultural towns are the same everywhere.  I was reminded of growing up in Swansea, S.C.  Of standing on Main Street and watching the Hay Festival and Christmas parades, of waiting with my mom in the drug store for a prescription, of going with my dad to the feed/hardware store where they sold seeds and nails by the pound.  Thank you Jill Alexander for writing a book that recognizes these places and those teens."