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Where the Forest Meets the Stars(57)

By:Glendy Vanderah

Jo looked at Ursa. “Okay, this is too weird . . .”

“What is?” Tabby said.

“Ursa just said something would happen to change the no-kids rule.”

Tabby grinned. “Did you do this, little alien?”

Ursa squealed. The kittens were clambering up her hair to escape her arms. They jumped to the ground and ran straight up the porch steps, as if following an invisible trail of quarks. Juliet sprawled on the welcome rug and Hamlet flopped onto his back beside her, one paw softly batting her chin.

Ursa clasped Jo’s hand in her left hand and Tabby’s in her right. She pulled them in tight against her body like a little bird snuggling into its nest. She smiled at the kittens playing on the porch of her new home. “I did make this happen.” She turned her face upward. “Didn’t I, Jo?”

“You sure did, Big Bear.”


This book would not have blossomed without Carly Watters of P.S. Literary Agency. I thank her for her commitment to getting it published, and also for her early pruning of my convoluted backstories. Her deftness with the hedge clippers greatly improved the story.

I am deeply grateful to Alicia Clancy, who supported this book from sea to shining sea. Her unwavering enthusiasm has been a guiding light.

Another talented editor, Laura Chasen, sharpened and polished my writing beyond my imagining. I much appreciated her competent and compassionate style of editing.

I also would like to thank the first people who read this manuscript. Scott, my ever-willing alpha reader, provided thoughtful commentary, as always. Nikki Mentges, editor and beta reader of NAM Editorial, helped me improve the manuscript for the query process. I thank them both for encouraging me to seek publication.

I owe more thanks to the many people at Lake union   Publishing who supported and worked on this book.

I would like to thank the following people who provided insight into the emotional and physical aftereffects of being diagnosed with BRCA-related cancers. My friend Dr. Lisa Davenport offered advice and connected me with Dr. Victoria Seewaldt of City of Hope and Dr. Sue Friedman, executive director and founder of FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). Their guidance was critical to writing Joanna with realism. Dr. Ernestine Lee, kind friend that she is, offered much-needed support when I sought more advice on Joanna’s medical history. She talked to numerous oncologists whose advice helped me sort out my concerns.

My brother Dirk Vanderah, a talented paramedic, provided information about gunshot wounds and emergency medical support. I am so very sorry that he did not live to see this book.

I would like to acknowledge Andrew V. Suarez, Karin S. Pfennig, and Scott K. Robinson whose study of indigo buntings in edge habitats provided the scientific basis of Joanna’s research.

Infinite thanks and love to Cailley, William, and Grant for their patience while I wrote and for inspiring Ursa’s big heart, brilliance, and imagination.

Finally, more gratitude and love to Scott. His encouragement has been steadfast from the start, when the bird biologist he’d known for many years unexpectedly became obsessed with writing fiction. Thank you, Scott, for your extraordinary and often exasperating optimism.