Welcome to my website!
I'm very excited about my latest project, THE MAN WHO LOVED ELEPHANTS: 30 Years with the Elephants of Oregon's Washington Park Zoo. This narrative nonfiction celebrates one man's devotion to the largest herd of breeding elephants in captivity. The book is complete at something over 82,000 words, contains over 100 photographs, and is currently being shopped around to publishers and agents. (You can read excerpts by clicking on the 'Writing Excerpts' tab above.)
“You can make an elephant do one of two things,” Roger Henneous is fond of saying. “Run away or kill you. But you can get an elephant to do an amazing number of things.” With only a farm-boy upbringing and a fair degree of salty common sense to guide him, he developed a relationship with his animals unlike any seen before. In an era when elephant handling often involved chains, beatings, electrocution, isolation, and starvation, Roger chose to approach them with compassion, creating an environment of mutual respect where the elephants could live as naturally as possible. From sweet-natured Belle to knife-wielding Hugo, he served as the herd’s surrogate mother, mentor, analyst, playmate, teacher, and friend … even when they sent him to the hospital. When illness struck and they began to die one after another, he fought back by every means available.
At a time when elephant care and conservation are at the forefront of worldwide interest and debate, THE MAN WHO LOVED ELEPHANTS provides a look at zookeepers directly at odds with those who wish to paint them all as monsters. Roger’s story shows what can be achieved when thoughtfulness, empathy, and intelligence override impatience and cruelty.
As a former Washington Park Zoo (now Oregon Zoo) volunteer, I was fortunate to have direct involvement with Roger and his herd. The idea of writing about them has lurked in the back of my mind for nearly 20 years, but the time was never right ... until suddenly it was. Roger's willingness to talk about his life with the elephants - even the most painful parts - is what makes this story possible. I will never be able to adequately convey my appreciation and profound respect.
In other news:
I have had two stories accepted for an upcoming anthology, TRICKS AND TREATS: HORROR STORIES BY CONNECTICUT AUTHORS, which should be out in time for Halloween.
I've begun research into the American Civil War in preparation for what I hope will be my next book, tentatively titled, HER LAST FULL MEASURE. I also have another idea on the back-burner, waiting for it to tell me what it what's to be when it grows up. Working title, "Good Neighbors." Plus, there's a slew of short story bits and pieces I need to hammer into shape.
My past work has included media tie-in novels for Star Trek, Quantum Leap, and Earth 2, as well as an original fantasy Weathercock. My short fiction has appeared in the ezine Allegory, the collection Darling Wendy and Other Stories, and in Amoskeag: The Journal of Southern New Hampshire University. My nonfiction work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, NARHA's Strides, and ASPCA's Animal Watch.
I'm proud to be a regular participant in The Exquisite Project at Bill Library in Ledyard, CT. In 2015, I had the pleasure of being involved in Connecticut Humanities "The CT Caper," a story written in serial form employing the talents of twelve writers and artists from across the state.
Until recently, I maintained a semi-regular blog, "The Wild Ride" chronicling my experience as caretaker to my mother, who suffered from dementia. Mom passed away in June 2015, so the blog has grown somewhat fallow, but I drop in from time to time to write about the grief process or provide a shoulder for someone who needs to vent about their experiences as a caretaker. It's important to realize that you're not alone.
Now that my time is once again my own -- more or less -- I'm looking forward to finding new projects that challenge me as a writer.