Welcome to 
WritingWordByWord

Beth Hautala is author of Waiting For Unicorns, and The Ostrich And Other Lost Things. She lives with her husband and four children in northern Minnesota where she strives to write stories that tie heart and imagination together. 

 

 

Entries by Beth Hautala (66)

Monday
Jun122017

Cover Reveal!

The wait is finally over!
It's been over two years since my first book WAITING FOR UNICORNS released, and since then I've been working diligently to bring a brand new story to life. Today I am delighted to revel that story's official title, cover, description, and release date with you! 
Presenting . . . (drum roll please) . . . 

THE OSTRICH AND OTHER LOST THINGS 

 

Middle Grade Fiction
Coming February 20, 2018 

(From the publisher):
Eleven-year-old Olivia Grant has a knack for finding lost things. She can find lost rings, pets, and even her elderly neighbor's misplaced glasses. There's only one thing Olivia has never been able to find--her brother Jacob's toy ostrich. It wasn't until the day Jacob lost his ostrich that Olivia noticed how different he was: Jacob is autistic, and though she's his little sister, Olivia often feels like the older of the pair, his caretaker. And with her parents so heavily focused on maintaining status quo for Jacob, it's Olivia who has stagnated in his shadow--unable to explore new opportunities, or to be her own person. In fact, apart from being Jacob's sister, Olivia's not really sure who she is.


So when summer break begins, and the local community theater announces auditions for an all children's production of her favorite show, Peter Pan, Olivia jumps at the chance to claim something for herself. But what begins as a promising opportunity and a wonderful escape quickly becomes pure chaos. The visiting zoo with an odd assortment of animals--including an ostrich that causes even more trouble than Jacob's missing toy--only make matters worse, as Olivia's summer is shaping up to be just as consumed by Jacob's needs as the rest of her life has been. 

In time, and with the help of some unlikely alliances, Olivia must learn what it means to be separate from her brother and still love him, how to love herself in spite of her own flaws, and that not all lost things are meant to be found.

In this beautifully written novel, the bonds and challenges of caring for a sibling with autism are bravely explored, along with the pain and power that comes from self-discovery. 

 

This story is very dear to my heart. My team at Philomel/Penguin has been absolutely fantastic and I couldn't be happier about how this story has grown and developed. I am so excited to share it with all of you! 

Tuesday
Jun232015

Big News!

I feel like I've been waiting MONTHS to share this, and now I finally can! It is with such delight that I can finally say, I have another book on the way! THE OSTRICH AND OTHER LOST THINGS found a home with Philomel/Penguin this week, and I am overjoyed to be working with the marvelous people there once more. Thanks for all the warmth and support, my friends! I can't wait to share this new book with you! Stay tuned for updates!

Here's the rundown for the new project:

Olivia Grant, finder-of-lost-things-extraordinaire, is afraid of becoming just like her Autistic older brother. And she has a list of things she can never do—things her brother does all the time—to help keep her in check. But Olivia’s Neverdo list gets pretty messy when she unintentionally breaks the law. And as punishment, spends her summer in community service at the local zoo. To complicate matters, one of the zoo animals, an ostrich named Marge, keeps escaping her pen and showing up in Olivia’s backyard. 
Getting the part of Wendy in the summer theatre production of Peter Pan helps ease sting of community service and gives Olivia a chance to finally do something for herself—something her brother can’t mess up. But those hopes are dashed when her brother unexpectedly gets the part of Peter and throws everything into jeopardy.
An unexpected friendship with the zookeeper’s son Peter, who happens to be blind, starts to open Olivia’s eyes to the beauty of being different. And together Peter and Olivia set out to uncover the mystery of the escaping ostrich. But as her list of Neverdos grows, Olivia starts running out of time to find the one missing thing that will fix her brother, and save her from becoming like him. But when Jacob finally does the unthinkable and ruins everything, Olivia looses her temper, and Jacob disappears. With fear and guilt chasing her down, she must come to realize that sometimes life is a zoo. And learning to love others despite their lostness, and love yourself despite your mistakes is hard work. Harder than cleaning out monkey cages, or standing on stage, or finding a missing Ostrich. 
Often things that can’t be found leave room for the things that never go missing, and Olivia discovers that she has something beautiful to offer the world, no matter how lost or found she is.

 

Saturday
Feb212015

Hometown Library Love


This past Thursday evening I had a chance to sit down and talk about Waiting For Unicorns at my hometown library. I know it's going to sound odd, but this was an event of a lifetime for me. Here's why:I grew up in this library. I came two, even three times a week and the librarian knew me by name. She never even asked for my library card—she knew my number by heart. I came because I was welcome. And I came to peruse the books and make sure I hadn't missed any new ones. I knew where all of my favorites lived in the stacks. Peter Pan, Where the Red Fern Grows, Pride and Prejudice, Caddie Woodlawn, My Side of The Mountain, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, The Story Girl . . . and so, so many more. These were my dear friends growing up, and the library was their home.

I used to stand and gaze around me wondering what it would be like to have a story of my own living among the books I loved so much. And last Thursday that childhood imagining became reality. Waiting For Unicorns now resides on a shelf at the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library in Crosby, Minnesota.

To the staff at the Library, especially Peggi, thank you for this precious gift. For keeping me in stories and for allowing me to find my way, one book at a time, into adulthood. I've been richly blessed by those who poured time and energy into that place and into me. Thank you for letting me share my own story and call the library home in a whole new way.