Susy, how did you come to write Thunder Dog with Michael Hingson? 

I was working on a book called Dog Tales and searching for amazing stories about remarkable dogs. I stumbled across Mike and Roselle’s story on the internet and sent him a message through his website. He was willing to be interviewed, and at the end of 30 minutes I had chills. I knew it would make for a wonderful book. We met, hit it off, and decided to work together to bring Thunder Dog to life.

I’ve heard that many young adults are reading Thunder Dog. What about the book makes it a good read for them?

High schoolers and middle schoolers are very interested in the events of September 11 because they were so young when it happened. Thunder Dog is a book about those events with a positive message and a happy ending. It doesn’t shy away from the tragedies that happened on 9-11, but it does focus on the wonderful teamwork of Mike and Roselle and their survival.

Do you have any future plans with the book?

Thunder Dog may become a children’s book in the near future. People are asking, and Mike Hingson is dedicated to bringing Roselle’s story to kids who want to know more about her puppyhood and his childhood, which was remarkable. He used to ride his bike around the streets of Lancaster, scaring the neighbors but having a great time! He has lots of stories to tell about that time of his life.

A book takes a long time to write. How do you decide to work on a project?

The projects I decide to write are the ones I fall in love with. It takes almost an obsession with the subject or the story to put forth the time, energy, and passion to write and publish a book.

How long did it take?

Thunder Dog was researched and written in the space of 4 months.

What was the best part of working with Michael?

I loved learning about Michael’s world! The guide dog relationship, guide dog training, technology for the blind, and the miracles of 9/11 were some of the highlights. I also loved getting to know Michael’s incredible wife, Karen, and his three dogs, including Roselle.

What was the most challenging area you faced?

The most challenging part about writing Thunder Dog was the research I had to do on the events of 9/11. There were some positive, miraculous stories, but there were many tragic, heart wrenching stories, as well. So much courage and bravery and heroism is woven throughout the events of that day, as well. None of us will ever forget it, but it was overwhelming to dive into the research and read thousands of pages about it within the space of a few days. Very hard.


(Note from Nancy: You’ll find Patsy’s review of the book posted on 12/1/2011)

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many job titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”