Local author Joy Metzer’s newly published children’s chapter book, “Happy Tails: Jitterbug Makes a Name for Herself,” follows the life of a long-haired dachshund born in the Ozarks who gets her big break in show business.
“It is mid-grade fiction. It is a children’s chapter book and it is on the surface a story about a little long-haired dachshund; she is born in the Ozarks, but she has big, grand dreams of being something bigger than herself,” Metzer said. “She wants to be known, she wants to make a splash in the world; she thinks she’s much bigger than her humble surroundings, so it’s this dog that goes in search of fame and fortune.”
But this is only one storyline in the book, she said.
“The bigger picture is about the lessons she learns because all the choices we make along the way during maturation and growing up have consequences, and hers certainly have consequences,” Metzer said. “So she goes through a gamut of emotions from elation at being discovered to grief for having left her family, regret for having hurt them, homesickness and sadness. So it’s addressing those emotions on a deeper level.”
The book, intended for ages 8-12, is all about tackling adversity and coming out better for it on the other side, she said.
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“The take-away from it, and I’ve thought a lot about this … (is) none of us is an island,” Metzer said. “We all need support systems around us, and for me, it’s always been my family, and I think family extends from those you’re born with to those you find along the way who become like family in your life, and that’s what I really hope people would take away: The importance of family, the importance of developing a family if you’re not fortunate enough to be born into a good family.”
The outline for “Happy Tails” began developing four years ago when Metzer’s now-husband introduced her to Jasper, a town in Newton County. While toying around with the idea of writing a book revolving around the life of a dachshund she had named Jitterbug, the animals she encountered in Jasper inspired more characters in Jitterbug’s fictional story, and the memories shared with her husband inspired the stories in the book.
“Happy Tails” can be purchased from joymetzerbooks.com.
While this is not her first book, this is her first children’s book. Now retired from a more than 30-year career in interior design, Metzer currently writes full-time.
“I always wanted to write and I had always been writing,” she said. “I’ve been writing since my 30s, and finally I retired from design and just took on writing as a full-time effort.”
The cover of “Happy Tails.” – Submitted photo