From the Author
Thank you, Sir David Attenborough!
By the early 1990s I had spent much of my adult life (since 1976) living with Alanna in one form or another. I was ready for a change. I knew I had written Alanna for the girl I was, one who wanted to see a girl swordfighter with Attitude in the books she read as a teenager. Now it was time to write something for the grown-up girl I had become, a shy and somewhat reclusive writer who loved animals. I was still trying to develop ideas for the current me when I discovered a series of programs on television, starting with "The Living Planet," narrated and shaped by naturalist David Attenborough (he wasn't a Sir then). I watched him with fascination, then awe, as he went places you couldn't pay me to go to interact with creatures I had never heard of. My husband and I came to the reverent conclusion that this man would pick up *anything.* He introduced us to gorillas, kiwi birds, and Komodo dragons, climbed volcanoes and forest canopies and soared in balloons to give his audience a better understanding of the natural world. He was clearly happiest with animals and cross when surrounded by humans, exactly the qualities I wanted for my new girl hero, Daine. I watched program after program done by Sir David, absorbing his enthusiasm for and acceptance of wild creatures. I even found his footprints in places I never expected to: researching mythical creatures for the Daine books, I found his name again, as the man who discovered a gigantic prehistoric bird egg on Madagascar!
We writers find our influences in all kinds of places, many of them quite unexpected. Sir David Attenborough's work was and is a bounty to this particular writer. I owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude, both on my own behalf and on that of the many readers who have taken Daine and her animal friends to their hearts.