Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe
by Sarah Mandell
The McElroy brothers find trouble easily. Dylan plunges headfirst into it, while Daniel cleans up behind him. That’s the way it’s always been, ever since their mother left them to be bounced around the foster system, causing trouble wherever they went. The soon-to-be euthanized giraffe they just stole from the Northside Animal Park may be their biggest predicament yet, in more ways than one, but there’s no undoing what’s been done.
Lost in Nebraska without a plan, clueless how to care for the ornery old beast in the back of the trailer, the well-meaning brothers stop to rest at an abandoned-looking barn. A pretty redhead with a snappy temperament and a shotgun discovers the boys and their sixteen-foot stowaway. Her name is Josephine, she lives on this farm with her father who is spoken of, but never seen, and her root cellar has more locks than a bank vault. She’s got a way with animals and plenty of secrets, not to mention the interest of two brothers who swore they’d never let some girl come between them.
Daniel and Dylan McElroy snapped their eyes open only to be blinded by a billion-watt flashlight aimed in their faces. It might as well have been the sun. They scrambled to their feet, unable to see who or what was behind that blazing white light. They shielded their faces, begging for mercy.
A female voice came from behind the painful brightness. She managed to get out, “What in the hell…” before the beam of light shifted upward, illuminating Millie’s unimpressed face. The giraffe’s long eyelashes blinked downward, inspecting the people below. Her nubby horns cast strange shadows on the ceiling of the barn.
While the beam of light from the girl’s torch shown upward still, locking Millie in the spotlight, Daniel got a good look at the person holding it. She was a teenager with fiery red hair all mussed up from sleep that fell well below her shoulder blades. Her eyes were pale in color, but he couldn’t be sure if they were blue or hazel in this severe lighting. She had delicate features, a snobby little nose, and a pair of pink lips parted in astonishment as she gazed upward at the out-of-place creature. This girl, a member of the Larsen family perhaps, was a pretty thing, but she was not in good spirits being woken in the middle of the night only to find two strange young men and a reticulated giraffe in her family’s barn. She had a shotgun at her side, which she now raised up and aimed at Dylan.
Daniel cleared his throat, ready to say just the right words to save young Dylan from certain death. Again. “We didn’t mean to cause no trouble,” Daniel explained, palms open with vulnerability. Daniel had always been the spokesperson when trouble found them, or more likely, when Dylan found trouble. He was the explainer of the mischievous pair.
“Am I hallucinating, or is that a giraffe?” the girl demanded to know.
“That?” Daniel asked, glancing upward in hopes she was referring to something else. “Uh. Yeah. That would be Millie. Millie the giraffe.”
Interview with the Author
- How long have you been writing?
I started writing around 2008 or 2009. I had just caught the reading bug a year or two earlier and decided to write some of my own stories just for fun. By the time I finished writing the first one, I was hooked and went straight into the next one. In the last few years, I’ve probably started close to a dozen manuscripts, but a few remain unfinished for now. Once I have one that’s got “something special” I forget all about the others and pour my time and effort into the one.
2. How long have you been a published author?
Celia on the Run was my first novel to be published (Untreed Reads, 2012), and Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe, my newest book, was actually written in 2012 but was just recently released in May of 2016.
- What titles do you have available?
Celia on the Run:
Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe:
- What made you choose the subject of this book?
Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe is an interesting mix of romance, humor, and grittiness. I wanted to have an animal as a major theme in this story, because I’m a huge animal lover and always enjoy watching them, especially if they’re doing things that are out of the ordinary. The setting is a farm in the middle of nowhere, which is the kind of place I long to be, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and not much else. The characters are what matter most about the story. Josephine Larsen is a self-sufficient redhead, and I’m always a fan of a strong female character, so I was sure to make her as independent and tough as possible. The McElroy brothers, Daniel and Dylan have a close-knit relationship, but there’s a lot of tension too. I’m an only child, so the bonds and struggles of siblings have always fascinated me, which is why I chose to include this element in the new book. The overall book is a bit quirky, and that was exactly what I was going for. I wanted to offer a story that’s unpredictable and a little offbeat, because I think YA can get a little too normal sometimes, if that makes sense.
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon?
Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe just came out a few weeks ago, but I’m toying with releasing a prequel for this novel in the future.
6. What is your favorite genre and why?
Contemporary YA – I love watching characters go through some major life experience for the first time, some event, decision, or relationship that shapes them. The teen years are full of so many ups and downs, and the way a character handles these things is really interesting to write about and read about.
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
The outline: I feel giddy if I’m able to write a brief outline of the story and it all makes sense at that level. I get excited to start filling in the holes and develop the characters after that, but if the outline doesn’t really work, I feel like I can’t get started. I need to see that the plot will have a good pace, that something interesting happens in each chapter, and that I’ll be able to end the story well. The ending is the hardest part!
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
My husband! He thinks very differently than me, but we’re good as a team, so I think it would be fun to write a story together, maybe something that alternates between characters for each chapter, so that we could each have our own character(s) we’re responsible for, but have them share the same story.
9. Where can readers find you on the web?
Website and blog: http://www.sarahmandell.com/
Thanks so much for being my guest.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sarah Mandell is a professionally trained artist with a background in commercial interior design. She’s also the brains and busy hands behind a thriving indie craft business called Once Again Sam in Greenville, SC. Even with an ever-expanding collection of creative outlets, she’s truly the happiest when she’s writing. Two Brothers, One Redhead, and a Stolen Giraffe is Sarah’s second novel. Her debut novel was Celia on the Run (Untreed Reads, 2012).
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Sarah Mandell will be awarding 5 of her handmade laser etched wooden pendants that she is launching as a new collection in conjunction with the release of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: