Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A Letter About Will's Red Coat

In the next week or so, advance reader’s copies of “Will’s Red Coat” will be making their way across the country to media outlets and bookstores to give them a preview of what is to come. (A.R.C.s are a paperback version of the book that is 98% done. It is used as a marketing tool.) 

In the past a member of our publishing team would write a letter to accompany the A.R.C.  However, this time I was asked to write it.  I thought I’d share it here with all of you this morning.


Dear Reader,
            
Just outside, a soft December snow falls. Evergreens, birches, and maples are coated in white. Even the lone old black ash tree that has been dying for years is made to look young again. Such is the magic of transformation through Nature.  
            
I no longer look at our backyard the way I used to before Will came along. He changed the way I see the simplest things, reminding me that they are often miraculous themselves. 
            
You see, Atticus and I always had the grandeur of the mountaintops, climbing close to three thousand of them in a decade. But Will helped me to recognize the extraordinary in what we often take for granted. The optimistic yellow of dandelions in the spring, the nostalgic smell of summer shade, the crunch of fallen leaves during autumn in New England, and the purity of icicles in the winter. They were all gifts that helped a fifteen-year-old deaf dog who struggled to walk and see—who had lost everything, including his home, trust, and hope—to regain himself. 
            
I brought Will here to give him a place to die with dignity. Those early days were rough for all of us, but on his way to dying, he did something no one expected. He chose to live again.
            
What was to be a brief two- or three-month stay grew into two and a half years of wonder. When the time finally came to say goodbye to Will, I was surprised by how right it all felt. Instead of grief I had nothing but reverence for a friend, who in the end, got it right.  

Will left behind a legacy where hundreds of thousands of his fans were touched by one bright soul. None of those more than me. Each day when I look up above my desk and see his red coat hanging there, I smile and think that Will, who was once an afterthought discarded in a kill shelter, was transformed into something extraordinary by Nature, and by love, faith, and friendship.
            
On the night before he died in my arms, I knelt next to Will and told him I would tell his story. I’m honored to have kept that promise. 
 
Onward, by all means,
Tom Ryan


You can pre-order Will's Red Coat any number of ways. It will be available wherever fine books are sold. But you can also pre-order a personalized copy of it from my local bookstore, White Birch Books.



27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my!

Carrie said...

Tom, this is the best! Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

Pat Langer said...

Man. I cannot wait to read this book!!!!

Anonymous said...

So looking forward to reading it, Tom.
jd

Anonymous said...

P.S. LOVE the cover!
jd

tammyp61 said...

I can't wait for this book to come out!!!

Anonymous said...

William Lloyd Garrison, Prince of New Hampshire, will forever be in our hearts! It was a honor and a pleasure to have met Will back in August of 2012, he was so happy and loved meeting everyone! <3

Anonymous said...

Prebought it in april of lastcyear. Andbyou are so right he and you and Atti touched so many hearts most,assuredly mine. Thank you

Pam Noble said...

To promises kept

Anonymous said...

I have no gift with words, I guess my gifts are in other areas, but I am always transported to another place with your beautiful word pictures. I didn't know of you till after Will's passing, but I can't wait to read your story of discovery together

Anonymous said...

Preordered my copy and looking forward to reading Will's story. I enjoyed "Following Atticus" very much. You write beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Have the book ordered and sooooo looking forward to reading it. Your writing sends a feeling of peace and tranquility that I look for in this turbulent world. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences.

Anonymous said...

Tom, you are an amazing writer and an amazing person. Looking forward to reading your new book. Your words often leave me in tears but they're "good" tears if you know what I mean. I enjoy following you and Samwise on Facebook. He is a kindred spirit for sure. Onward by all means and peace to you Tom.

Debra Combs said...

Beautiful heartfelt letter about Will. I preordered the book, can't wait to read it.

Wendy Morgan said...

Lovely letter, Thank you

Donna Jean said...

Perfect! Thank you for sharing! I already pre-ordered 5 autographed/pawdagraphed copies from White Birch Books. Her's to Will's story! God Bless!

mlaiuppa said...

Pre-ordered.

I may just read this aloud to Ramses as he naps in bed with me.

We are growing old together.

Kristin Harmon said...

Just lovely, Tom. Can't wait to read the book! Thank you for sharing this today

Teresa Runner said...

I have been so excited to receive my signed book! Can't wait!! Will was such a friend to all. Thank you for sharing.

Cathy Whitt said...

Since reading the first book The Following Atticus right after its release, I as well as millions of others have fallen in love with Max Atticus Will and now Samwise. You're writing is like warm butter on a biscuit on a cold winter morning. It warms the soul while reading the beautiful words as they run over the pages and down into your thoughts. You paint the most beautiful picture with your words that every scene that takes place in your book makes an unforgettable picture for your reader to enjoy. I pre-ordered the second book Wills red coat and cannot wait until it's published and mailed to me.

Vee Quarry said...

I hope the bookstore where I work receives an ARC! If it does I will be grabbing it before anyone else!

Joan T. said...

Will's Red Coat is anticipated by so many people and myself. I hope the whole world will get to read Will's story and know of the love and compassion you have for your loved ones and all people and animals. Something we so desperately need in this world right now.

Sue said...

What a marvellous picture of Will you have chosen to add to this post! It must have been taken after he had regained his sense of self, and decided to live again. There is a calm and sense of peace that can only come when one is cherished and feels safe and secure.
I look forward with eager anticipation to the book!

Anonymous said...

I have pre ordered from Amazon can't wait to read it 💙

Anonymous said...

Tom, I'm so excited !! Have been waiting and waiting for this book. Love your writing and your love of dogs, nature and all things wild and wonderful. After your Jan. 5 blog, another couldn't come soon enough !! And now another beautiful letter and something beautiful to look forward to - your story about Will. Gorgeous dog ! Of course, Atticus also remains a favorite of mine !
My best, Bea Johnson

Anonymous said...

Will you be in Massachusetts for book signings? It would be great to meet you.

Cynthia Calabrese said...

I shall never look at a dandelion in springtime or an icicle in winter and not think of dear Will!