Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Interview with Andrea Yerramilli author of Ralphie, Always Loved with Giveaway

Ralphie, Always Loved
by Andrea Yerramilli
Illustrated by Samantha Van Riet
About Something Good, LLC
October 28, 2017
Picture Book
32 pages

Tour dates: April 9 to May 4, 2018
Content Rating: G

This is the story of the life, love, and adventures of a beloved family dog, and how he delighted and touched his family and everyone he met.

Ralphie was born with a heart on his belly.
He loves food, his family, his friends, his neighbors.
He loves pretty much everything and everyone.
And they love him back.
And that's how it is all through his life.
Read the book and fall in love with him too.

Rambunctious and hyperactive, Ralphie had already been returned to the animal shelter three times, but when Andrea and her husband adopted him and gave him a loving home where he was understood, accepted, and taught, he learned fast. As Ralphie's human family grew, so did his capacity for love and the ways he could express it. He remained a loving and beloved family member who touched the hearts of the whole neighborhood until he was ready to say goodbye at the grand-old age of sixteen. Ralphie, Always Loved will remind you of all that is good, and reaffirm your belief in love's power to uplift and transform.

Follow the tour by visiting Andrea Yerramilli's page on iRead Book Tours.

Interview with Andrea Yerramilli!

Q: Your book Ralphie, Always Loved takes us through the life of a real dog. How did
you get Ralphie?
A: We rescued Ralphie from Animal Rescue Force, a dog shelter in New Jersey, in
October 2000. He was four months old and had already been returned to the shelter
for the third time. My husband had just become a dog person after having been
converted by our dog Skipper (also a rescue). We saw Ralphie sitting in his kennel
and knew we couldn’t leave him there. Although we weren’t looking for another dog,
my husband insisted that we take him home with us. I have always been a dog person,
so he did not have to work very hard to convince me!

Q: Why was Ralphie returned to the shelter three times before you got him?  And what
did you do differently from those other homes that made it possible to keep him?
A: I don’t really know why Ralphie was returned three times. He was quite a hyper
puppy who ate everything from the rosebush to tea bags and toys, and he turned our
home upside down, so I’m guessing that was the reason. On the other hand, he was
completely loving and not malicious in any way. Consistency, patience, and redirecting
his energy helped. Skipper helped too. She was an amazing, very intelligent dog. She
also was the alpha dog, and in time Ralphie mimicked her behavior. Plus we did not
give up on him, which was key!

Q: When you had your children, were you worried about how Ralphie—and the other
dog in the book, Skipper—would react?
A: We had the dogs before we had a baby, and our home was the dogs’ home first.
Dogs are pack animals and are territorial, so it is important to introduce new members
carefully. We let our dogs smell an item of the baby’s clothing first, and then the baby.
We knew our dogs and knew that they were loving and not aggressive, but we were
with them for all the early interactions. We reinforced gentleness, not just on the dogs’
part, but on the babies’ parts as well—and kept doing that as they grew.

Q: The book is also about a dog’s life cycle. Ralphie is born, and at the end there’s the
suggestion that he’s going to die. When he did, how did you mourn?
A: It’s hard to put into words how empty my life felt right after Ralphie passed. It was
as if my entire world was in disarray. On the day we got his ashes back, our family
made a memory box filled with things that reminded us of him. We told Ralphie stories
and laughed and cried. We made donations to dog charities. And the kids still look for
signs in the clouds. The book has a fictional explanation for why Ralphie had white
markings on all four paws, and the tip of his nose as well as his tail. We liked to think
he was experimenting with painting clouds up in heaven before he began his journey
with us on earth. We just know he’s painting away and sending us signs to let us know
he is with us always.

Q: Where did you get the idea to use clouds the way you did?
A: Ralphie had a streak of white on his nose. All four paws had tips of white in various
degrees. The tip of his tail was white, and he had a heart-shaped white mark on his belly.
I often marveled at those markings and wondered what could have been the reason for
them. Ralphie was also curious and always getting into things and into trouble. Painting
clouds and spilling paint seemed the most logical explanation to me. :)

Q: Do you have any dogs or puppies now?

A: Yes, I do. I have a rescue dog named Lennon. She is a border collie and Labrador
retriever mix, one and a half years old. Skipper, our first dog, was a border collie mix,
and Ralphie was a Labrador retriever mix. So when we saw Lennon’s picture and breed,
we felt that she was meant to be ours. She reminds me of both my other puppies every
day—and then in some ways she is just Lennon. She’s building her own legacy and
giving us reasons to love and imagine a world filled with love.

And here she is. . .

Andrea has always been an avid reader and that jumpstarted her imagination at a very early age. In fact she escaped to the Land of Make Believe more often than her mother liked.

She is a former marketing professional who is a mom to kids both with and without fur. Andrea says that it helps to have one foot planted firmly in reality while the other is foot loose and fancy-free in Imagination Land. She enjoys the best of both worlds.

In 2013, Andrea and her husband started About Something Good (ASG) as a vehicle to curate, inspire and share goodness in the world. In a world where negative images flood the media, and words like “hate” get tossed around so easily, Andrea felt she needed a space that encouraged and focused on the words like “love” and the beauty that is life.

Andrea is committed to finding the good in everything and believes: that a sense of belonging to someone's heart is what makes us feel complete, that kindness goes a long way, and that keeping your mind and heart open can help when things happen that you don't understand.

Andrea lives in New Jersey with her husband and children.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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1 comment:

Andrea Yerramilli said...

Thank you for sharing Ralphie's story with your readers! xo, Andie