PORTLAND, Maine — Once she has started working, Barbara Walsh does not dawdle. With a background in daily journalism and a Pulitzer Prize to her credit, Walsh, who lives in Maine, knows the importance of not wasting time when there’s a good story to be told.
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With her latest project, she may have set a personal speed record. She got the idea for it in February, finished the manuscript in the fall, and got the book into stores this month. In the sometimes plodding world of publishing, that is warp speed.
The book is “Spencer: Boston’s Beloved Marathon Dog,” a work for children about a real-life golden retriever who became famous for holding inspirational flags as he sat along the course of the Boston Marathon. Spencer came to Walsh’s attention when she read his obituary in the New York Times. Instantly sensing that this might be the basis for a book, she called Spencer’s owner in Holliston, Massachusetts.
“I said, ‘I am sorry for your loss—but this is an incredible story,’” she recalled.
In our less-than-perfect world, dogs’ lives are often far too short, and Walsh did not want her story—especially since it’s for kids—to end with Spencer’s death. So she figured out another way to close the narrative. One she hopes will leave readers with a smile.
“The end of the book,” she said, “is the light and the hope.”
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