Last week, I got a surprise package in the mail – an early copy of the hardcover of Zebra Forest. I have several copies of the ARCs (advance reading copies), and so didn’t expect the thrill I got when I opened the package and saw my book in hardback for the first time. But there’s something about the real thing – dust jacket with embossed words, dedication in the front of the book, the whole shebang – that feels different. And the best part was getting to show it to the two people the book is dedicated to – my husband and my mother. People often say that writing is a solitary activity, and for the most part, it is. You need long stretches of silence and time to clear your head and think about things that are not immediate, that don’t relate to the logistics of life, that may end up as nothing more than a daydream. And in order to do that, you do need other people. People who give you the time, the support, and the space to think, to write and to rewrite. I have been blessed to have many people in my life who have helped me. They’ve shaped my thinking, given me thoughtful opinions, encouraged me, supported me. Of all of those, the two who gave me the day-to-day and year-to-year ability to write, and who kept that dream alive for the long time it took to come to fruition, are the two to whom Zebra Forest is dedicated. Getting to see their faces when they opened the book and saw the dedication for the first time was worth the wait.