We have the pleasure of having Sue Hayman with us today. Her new book, Star: One Duck’s Rise to Fame. This is an awesome, true story. She is having a release party on Facebook this coming Frieday, May 23rd, 10:00 a.m. (PST) – here’s the link: http://dld.bz/dq85P
Let’s dive right in!!
Born and raised in Chatham, Kent, Sue then went to university in London where she completed a degree in Leisure Management, including a gap year spent working in the Canadian Rockies. After working in London for a few years, she went backpacking in New Zealand and Australia. It was during her time working in Melbourne she met her husband Barrie and they returned to the UK together. After a few years living in Kent, they eventually moved and settled in Devon where they have lived for over10 years. Sue and Barrie don’t have children together, choosing animals instead. They currently have 2 dogs, Drake and Meggie, and their famous duck, Star.
The writing of “Star: The Story of One Duck’s Rise to Fame” was a real surprise to Sue, who up until that point, had never thought of becoming an author. However, the incredible events taking place with Barrie and Star gave plenty of content where a story was just asking to be told.
This true story follows the life of an Indian Runner duck called Star, who decided from the beginning that he preferred humans to ducks.
Although happily married to someone half his age, Barrie was struggling to enjoy life. He was now officially retired and was sinking into a depression, missing his adventures as an actor and scuba instructor, along with suffering from poor health. An immediate and unusual bond of kindred spirits developed when Star came into his life. Recognising Star was different, the two of them embarked on an incredible journey. They became inseparable and went everywhere together, becoming celebrities with an international following. Wanting to make the best use of the celebrity status, Barrie and Star dedicated themselves to the Children’s Hospice South West. Not only did they go and visit the poorly children, they also went out busking on the street, raising thousands of pounds for the charity. We see how they honed their double act, entertaining and warming the hearts of all those who met them.
Told by Star’s mum, this is a funny and heart-warming tale of one man and his duck, but with the darker side of every day life threatening to stop them both in their tracks.
A Selection of Excerpts:
After a very long wait, the first one finally hatched. The little duckling appeared, and to our surprise looked like a miniature dinosaur: something straight out of Jurassic Park, and very gangly. How had it once fit into the egg now that it had unravelled itself? At first it just lay there, probably completely exhausted from the exertion of getting out of the egg, but then it popped its head up, gingerly stood, and moved away from its egg. When to intervene? Could we go in and get it yet or should we wait? We had no idea what to do. We left it for a little while, but then went in and gingerly picked it up. It was still warm and wet, but we carefully placed it into its new home – a plastic container with a couple of soft towels in the bottom and a very powerful lamp shining down to keep it warm and to dry it out. This little gawky creature appeared content with the attention, and thankfully was happy for Barrie and I to take turns to have a cuddle, with the occasional snout of one of our dogs poking through, who were just as excited and curious as we were. We cuddled the little creature whilst watching through the glass at the development of the others. After about half an hour, the next one arrived. We put the first one back in its new home and delicately took the next one out. Where the first had been yellow in colour, this one was dark brown. Unsure what was best, we put the newborn in with his older sibling. Even though he was only minutes old himself, he seemed aware of the company and although he let him have a little space at first, he then went over to it and sat beside him to keep him warm. Over the next few hours more siblings started coming out, in varying colours – either yellow, brown, or both. Whether it was just purely down to beginners luck or design by nature, all ten of the eggs we had put down successfully hatched. By now it was the middle of the night, but neither Barrie nor I cared as it was a labour of love – just like with Meggie’s puppies several years earlier who also, incidentally, decided to have her first litter of eight throughout the night.
As each one emerged, the same thing happened. The older ones would literally take the newer ones under their wing. They had become a little gang who totally looked after each other. As they dried out, the colours came out more and they looked a lot less Jurassic and more a gangly fluffy thing! All three of our dogs watched everything that had taken place, but the most surprising was our youngest dog, Genghis, who was Genghis by name and Genghis by nature – a cheeky chap – who took on the role of nanny and seemed to feel it was his duty to look after them. Not only had we brought ten new lives into the world, but had also now seen a completely different side to one of our dogs.
We put some chick feed and a shallow bowl of water down for them and said a prayer as we eventually went to bed.
Barrie, as a light sleeper, had been up to check on them several times in the night. He needn’t have worried though, because when I got up the next morning the ducklings were all full of life and very noisy! They were happily playing, eating and drinking.
When I opened the door to the nursery, Barrie was lying on the floor. Huddled up right in front of him was this little fluffy yellow duckling. It took me a while to realise that there were a couple of other ducklings that were also on the floor, but they were almost over the other side of the room huddled together. Barrie was so keen to show me some photos that he had taken earlier that day. When I looked, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was this little yellow duckling dancing! Well, that’s what it looked like, and posing for the camera. Barrie was full of it, telling how this little one had literally started performing in front of his eyes almost as soon as he had been put on the floor. I asked about the other little ducklings that had hatched shortly after and he told me how, unlike before, this first duckling had not seemed interested in them, had not really paid much attention to them. As the others arrived, they instinctively huddled together, but not this one. He almost stayed aloof. I must admit I didn’t really believe this and am ashamed to say that I wondered if this was in Barrie’s imagination, despite the fact that the truth could be seen even now with the other ducklings away from both him and this little yellow fluff ball.
I couldn’t deny that this little one had spirit. He stayed very close to Barrie all the time I was watching. Looking at the photos, I commented that this duckling appeared to be a little star.
“Star,” he said. “That’s a good name for him or her. Yes, Star by name and Star by nature.” I couldn’t disagree.
Star One Ducks Rise to Fame is an adorable story about a special “Indian Runner” duck named Star whose personality matches its name.
I loved learning about Star and all the other precious animals and how much love went into raising them. What a sweet story. I fell in love with the Hayman family. No matter how quirky they could appear they evoked everything good.
Who would think a duck would catch so much attention but this was not just any duck. This was Star Hayman, or more accurately a “Hollywood duck” and what a duck he is. It must have been so uplifting for people to get to see something positive in the news for a change. This upbeat story is one with heart and compassion.
Reading about all the exciting things that took place was so amusing and entertaining. Will have to go on Facebook and YouTube (starduckonline) and have a look for myself. Of course, if not for Barrie and the affection that Star had for him none of this would be possible. Barrie being a natural comedian had all audiences in stitches. Even his wife Sue found him surprisingly funny, though at times she feared what would come out of his mouth next.
This story is about people and humanity. There is more to this duck than meets the eye and I feel fortunate to have had the pleasure of being introduced to this beautiful animal and these extremely giving people. More than anything, this real-life tale has heart and soul. This story also brings to light the importance of Children’s Hospice and charitable acts in general.
In many ways this is a story of survival. Beautifully told and filled with grace.
Do you believe in destiny? I believe I do.
Author of Brooklyn & Bo Chronicles
When I was asked to beta read this book, I honestly didn’t know what to expect: a book on how to bring up a duck; a biography of the owners; a children’s book. What I found was a beautifully written and poignant tale of how lives can be changed with the help of an animal; of the love they give to so many.
The prejudice shown to something so honest and generous, at times, was very shocking.
In summary, this book on the first two years of Star’s life was an “unputdownable” one; an excellently written story, witty, funny, serious, sad – a superb read and one I’d highly and totally recommend.
Fiona Melrose, Beta Reader
I was one of Star’s Facebook fans. When I saw there had been a book written about this wondrous duck, I jumped at the chance of reading the whole story. I was not disappointed. It’s a wonderful story which includes happy times but also challenges which the family met with bravery. A fabulous read which I hope many readers will enjoy!
Diane Kitsy, Beta Reader
Twitter @SueHayman3 https://twitter.com/SueHayman3
Star Hayman on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002792047162&fref=ts
Amazon US http://amzn.com/B00KFQ1B1G
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KFQ1B1G
We hope you will join us this Friday, May 23rd, for this wonderful author’s Facebook book launch party! There will be great prizes and fun games. Here’s the link:
K.R. and T.L.
Amazon: Fateful Night – http://dld.bz/c6FmS Darkest Day – http://dld.bz/dkxrZ