Author Vincent Bruni is an eclectic mix of artist, author and animal lover. The 75-year-old penned his first book while he was losing Panda, his beloved dog. Combining the love of his dog and his love for carousel horses, he wrote a book “that offers hope to every man, woman, and child who share their life with a cherished animal.”
“The TearDrop Garden” is a labor of love for Bruni. “I’m not a writer, I’m a storyteller,” he said.
In January of 1992 he began carving StarDuster out of wood. The project was finished in 1999 at Christmas. The detail in the carousel horse makes one think he has been carving wood his whole life, but this is only his second horse project. The wing on the face of the horse took six months to carve, Bruni said. “[StarDuster] inspired the book. I always liked carousel horses. I wanted to do wall art. The head, neck and shoulders are the best part of the horse,” he said.
“In The TearDrop Garden, “with the assistance of an old man, a carousel and a little boy and his dog, the angels are finally able to put a plan into motion - a plan by which man and his devoted animal friends will never again be separated, even by death.” The main character is modeled after his grandson and Panda, the dog.
In January of 1997, Bruni began writing the book. He worked Panda into the book to give him solace while Panda was getting close to his time.
“I want to awaken the child in every adult,”Bruni said. Although is book is geared toward adults, it would be a good story to share with children as well. “Children believe in fairy tales.”
Bruni describes the story as fantasy based on reality. “The horse gives it more authenticity,” he said. “It brings solace to people who have lost their animals that they will see them again.” The book is approximately 100 pages with a few pictures that relate to the story. There is a picture of Panda in the first few pages and pictures of the whole body of StarDuster.
“It’s not just some book about hiking, it appeals to everyone who has an animal,” he said. “I’m trying to get people to get emotionally involved with it,” he said.
The foreword of the book was written by Marilyn Goodreau and Meris Bickford from Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals.
“The TearDrop Garden is an instant classic that generations of parents will share with their children and grandchildren. It will comfort those who have experienced the death of a loved one and intrigue those who do not fully appreciate the strength of the bond between human being and those they love,” they wrote.
An animal rights activist, Bruni has seen how the movement has changed from the 1950s, when there were not a lot of veterinarians and if animals got sick, they died. Now, “people are more aware of animal rights,” he said. He has clipping of animal stories that go back decades.
Bruni has always loved carousels. As a boy he used to go to Old Orchard Beach to listen to the carousel music. The structure burned down around 1968. “To me it was devastating,” he said. “As a kid I would sit and watch and listen to the organ music. It just took you somewhere else.” At one time there were 2,500 wooden carousels in the country, not only 100 are left, he said.
Bruni carved another horse, an armored horse, before he attempted StarDuster. He had replicas made out of resin and he painted them to sell at various art galleries. He hopes to do the same with StarDuster, although for this horse, which takes a week to paint and do the gold and silver leaf, he expects there to be a limited number. He does plan to sell posters of the cover, and replicas of the bust of StarDuster, he said. The book will also be available as a hardcover and paperback book later in the year.
“This is a book to read again and again. Kids will love it, too,” he said.
Bruni has been a musician for 50 years. The High Ryder Golden Oldies Show plays a handful of gigs a year. Bruni started in the band in 1966 and is the drummer and lead vocalist.
The TearDrop Garden is available from Cobble Hollow Publishing at www.cobblehollowpublishing.com, on Amazon and iBooks.