Pet Art Blog
Twee' Art LLC, Vermont
Unusual Pets & Wonderful Inspiration
My Interview with Vonnee Lee (Y I Lee)
Vonnee Lee, and I met through Facebook posts a few years ago. We began messaging and I discovered, except for our physical distance – one in the UK and the other in the USA - we had much in common. We had each worked with and enjoyed horses, engaged in multiple career endeavors, plus authored and published books. To my surprise Vonnee Lee revealed she’d also experienced joy with something others may think of as unusual pets. As you will soon see, in my interview with Vonnee Lee, she combined this love into something to share. I hope you’ll find her and her story interesting and inspiring.
Susie: Welcome Vonnee Lee. I am so happy you want to share your story. Please begin by briefly telling us a little bit about you, your family, and your occupation.
Vonnee Lee: I was born in the UK in the county of Wiltshire. I had a younger brother and sister, sadly both have passed away. My father was a Doctor and my mother worked as his receptionist. When I eventually left home, I worked for a few years in various equestrian centers, as I had and still have a great love for horses. However, in the sixties I decided to go to London. It was an exciting time. I trained to be a singer. My career continued for fifteen happy years. But it was the 1980s and I found work was becoming more and more difficult. Live music was being phased out as clubs and music venues struggled to pay artists. Not only that, I found myself at a crossroads struggling to find any real meaning to my life. Thank God in November 1981, I had a profound spiritual experience that changed my life. I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the best day of my life.
Susie: Yes, your story touched me deeply.
Tell everyone how you first got into writing.
Vonnee Lee: My autobiography Mother, Me and Mantel is something I have wanted and needed to write for some time. For me, it proved to be a cathartic experience. Allowing me to face and banish any remaining demons from my past. I want the book to be a testimony to God's goodness, love and grace. I hope it will encourage whoever reads it.
Susie: I believe it does and will continue to help others heal. Thank you for sharing this.
As you know I am posting this interview during my annual Susie Caron’s Pets & Wildlife Inspirations Group on Facebook hoping to share how people use their love of pets and animals to inspire others. “Do you or did you have any interesting pets and stories you may want to share?”
Vonnee Lee: I have had some great pets in my life, but I have to say, fancy rats have been my favorites. I wasn't sure about them at first, I was scared. However, that quickly changed when a friend asked me to look after her rats while she went on holiday. At first, I was terrified of them, but that soon changed. They were so friendly and such fun, I hadn't laughed so much in years. Needless to say, when she took them home, I missed them so much I had to have some of my own. Then began my foray into breeding and showing, them which I loved and made many new friends.
Susie: I enjoy how excited you get when you talk about your Pet Rat Friends. How delightful to discover this about you. Will you share what you did with your experience and love of these pets?
Vonnee Lee: I began writing books, two of which were inspired by my rats. It was great to be able to write from experience. The first was called, A Rat and a Ransom the second was called Rat Run. Both are popular with children. My other books are more for Y/A.
Rat Run is a children’s fantasy, similar to Aesops Fables
and Watership Down.
It takes the reader on a fast paced, dangerous quest
with Timere, as he searches for the
answer to the hostility between two groups of rats.
A Rat and a Ransom, written for children, is the story
about how helping someone weaker than ourselves,
brings benefits for both.
A lesson young Tom soon found to be true.
Susie: Thank you Vonnee Lee so much for sharing this love of pets and how you combined your experiences to share these lovely books with others. I want our readers to also know that you are actually the author of several more books also for adults as well These are titled: 1. The Door. 2. The Gathering Storm and 3. A Shadowed Valley.
PS All Vonnee Lee's books can be found on her author page: Y I Lee: Click Here:
Vonnee Lee: Thank you so much for inviting me.
My thanks to everyone who is reading this. I hope to continue, after our annual launch, publishing one interview every month for you. If you know anyone who works with animals in special ways, or is inspired by pets and animals (Including horses, farm animals and wildlife), please let me. You can give me their contact information in the comments below. Tell me what you think about my interviews so far too. You can also join my mailing list, by signing up and contact me that way.
Can Pets & Animals Help Us?
As a pet owner I’ve enjoyed many pets. I especially treasure the unconditional love they so freely share. Preserving this love and memories alive for myself and others motivates me to paint pet portraits for people who love their pets. This isn’t the only way people use pet experience to keep the memories alive and recall the lessons and inspiration pets offer. I’ve asked several wonderful people who use their personal pet experiences to share these with us.
Today I am pleased to interview Tracy Crump, an accomplished author, editor & instructor who contributes articles in numerous magazines and books. Tracy offers writing workshops, webinars and her course “How to Write for Chicken Soup for the Soul”, is a Serious Writer Academy’s Top Seller.
I met Tracy on Facebook when I read she contributed to the 2021 Daily Devotional for Animal Lovers, All God’s Creatures. I bought the hardcover book from Guideposts and after reading I knew I wanted to share more about Tracy and her work with you.
*An Interview with Tracy Crump, author, editor and contributor to All God's Creatures, Guide Posts Daily Devotionals for 2021
Susie: Tracy, tell us a little bit about you, your family, faith and occupation.
Tracy: My husband, Stan, and I were high school sweethearts and have been married 44 years. We live in north Mississippi and homeschooled our two sons, who are grown now, and each has two children of his own. Years ago, I worked as an intensive care nurse and now enjoy writing articles, devotions, and short stories. We’re both active in our church-(except during Covid-19 restrictions)-and my 99-year-old mother-in-law lives with us.
Susie: Tell us a bit about your pets or pet/animal interests and any stories you may want to share.
Tracy: Except for grandchildren, we are currently pet-less, but we’ve shared our home with a variety of cats, dogs, gerbils, hamsters, finches, and parakeets, some of which have taken center stage in my writing. Our Siberian husky became ecstatic whenever it snowed (which it seldom does in the Mid-South). He would jump into my husband’s lap and sled downhill with him. We also had a golden retriever who had two sets of nine puppies. That’s when we learned there’s nothing sweeter than puppy breath.
Susie: What do you do, or have you done because of your interest in pets and wildlife?
Tracy: When we homeschooled, I jumped right into whatever my children were interested in. One son considered becoming either a veterinarian or a park ranger, and the other wanted to keep bees. Both boys volunteered at wildlife rehabilitation centers and the Memphis Zoo. I’ve taught school children about wildlife, put on puppet shows, worked at a butterfly exhibit, and sloshed through ditches at night hunting frogs for an amphibian monitoring program.
In one of my more daring moments, I allowed my son to keep a rehabber’s pet kingsnake in our home for use in a school program. Unfortunately, the weather turned bad, and the streets became too icy to do the program or take the snake back to her owner. I had failed to add frozen mice to my grocery list that week, so we were left with a hungry snake. She latched onto my son at one point, but thank goodness, she was too small to swallow him!
Susie: Do you have any interesting products featuring pets or animal themes for sale?
Tracy: I’ve published stories about dogs in two Chicken Soup for the Soul books and one about a cat in another anthology. A story about our husky will release in The Dog Who Came to Christmas later this year. I wrote about my favorite wildlife rehabber and a hawk she taught to hunt in The Ultimate Bird Book (no longer in print). And of course, Susie, you first saw my name in Guideposts’s All God’s Creatures: Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers 2021. I had six devotions in that book and will have ten in the 2022 edition. [Photo attached.]
Susie: Yes! I found and read your contributions as soon as I received the book. I was personally moved by one about how a dog helped your Mother recover from an illness.
Can you tell us where my customers can find these? Do you have a website, or how can they contact you?
Tracy: All the books can be found on Amazon or in bookstores, except the Guideposts book, which can only be purchased on their website at https://www.shopguideposts.org/bibles-devotionals/all-god-s-creatures-2021.html. Additional formats available may be found here: https://www.shopguideposts.org/bibles-devotionals/all-gods-creatures-daily-devotions-favorite-formats.html
Your customers can connect with me at https://www.tracycrump.com/ or any of the sites listed at https://linktr.ee/tracycrump.
Thank you for having me as a guest on your website, Susie. Your artwork does justice to the animals you paint, and I think that’s the highest praise a portrait artist could receive.
Susie: Thank you for your compliment and for taking the time for this interview. It was my pleasure to share you, your appreciation for pets and animals and how you inspire us through your work. I feel motivated now to write up some of my pet stories.
Do pets and animals teach, inspire, or bring you comfort?
Comment below about this or ask questions.
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Susie Caron, acrylic artist, creates realistic paintings of pets, animals, and selected scenes. Her love of and experience with many pets and farm animals throughout her life, enables her to capture the unique feeling and expression of each subject. In her commission pet and livestock portraits, Susie also works with each customer to discover and then reveal the personality and special bond between pet and human.
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