Book Talk: Self-help author finds animals give twist on life

Wed Sep 8, 2010 7:38am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Heard the one about the pair of ducks who moved into a New Jersey home? Or the doe that stopped a woman in the woods as her fawn was stuck in a fence?

Author Jo Coudert, who built her writing career in self-help books, could not resist these heart-warming animal stories so found herself heading into a new chapter in her career.

Her latest and 10th book, "The Dog Who Healed A Family: And Other True Animal Stories That Warm the Heart and Touch the Soul," consists of 19 animal stories displaying hope, humor, loyalty, compassion, and love, that she gathered over the years.

The title story is about what happens when a family of five adopts three siblings with a troubled past and they adopt a dog, Shaneen, who eventually brings the family together.

Other stories focus on a goose, born without feet and destined for the Thanksgiving table, who is given new life via a pair of Nikes and the cygnet saved from drowning who becomes a pet.

American Coudert, 77, who published her first book in 1963, spoke to Reuters about writing and animals:

Q: How did you get into self help books in the first place?

A: "My first book happened by accident to be a cookbook and the publisher then said he was looking for someone to write a really intelligent book about self help. I said I thought it was a terrible idea but I talked to a very intelligent friend about it and we started talking about how you live a life. I thought that was interesting so maybe you could write an intelligent book about self help. Having argued that I did not have the credentials to write the book, I wrote "Advice From A Failure.""   Continued...