Eleanore MacDonald is a California native … a musician, an animal advocate, a writer, who lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on a small farm graced with a host of furred and hoofed creatures. Growing up a motherless child in Carmel, CA., she found a great solace in the sea, in words and in the animals, drawing it all into her blood until they became a part of her––she has since then always sought a way to express that love through finding the extraordinary in an ordinary world.
Eleanore is also part of an award winning songwriting team with her husband Paul Kamm and has been a performing artist for 32 years. A true friend of Greece – her people, culture and islands – she has been traveling there and working with, and for, the stray animals of the country’s streets since 1986. She is presently working on her second novel, another book set in Greece that revolves around the hard beauties of the human-animal relationship, in the hopes of further engendering advocacy for the needy creatures everywhere.
You are invited to visit her music site – Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald, at http://www.kammmac.com
Some people know her as half of the much-loved internationally known modern folk music duo of 30 years, ‘Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald’. Others remember her as a lifelong advocate for and lover of the animals, and for the almost decade long stint spent as a teamster on the streets of Nevada City, CA; the slight, ginger haired, whip wielding woman sitting on the box of a Vis a Vis carriage, gently commanding the reins of a 2,000 lb. Percheron draft horse. (She was well known for using the whip on the cars that came to close to the horses she drove and loved so much, and never upon the horses themselves.) Or, as a singer and keyboard player in the local world dance band, Matinee Forever in the ’80s … and yet others will remember her 36 years ago as waitress and cook at Nevada City’s own ‘public living room’, Fast Eddie Falick’s Rainbow Mountain Inn.
Now an author, Eleanore MacDonald is giving us something new to remember her by with the release of her first novel, ‘All The Little Graces’. “Dream on! Don’t ever stop!” she exclaims over coffee, the cool morning at her home in Penn Valley accented by the song of birds and the grumblings of horses wanting to get out to their pasture. ”This book is testament to the fact that we are never too old to realize our dreams. I always wanted to be an author – I’ve always written, but my life’s focus became more about performing; I danced, I sang, but it wasn’t until this story began to unfold on paper when I was 50 that my dream to be a ‘Writer’, capital W, took its form. So, live your dreams! Don’t ever let anyone talk you into doing otherwise. Somehow, find that way to follow your heart.” Now, at 58, her book is finished and first released in February as an e-book, it has been garnering some great reviews.
Set on a Greek island, All The Little Graces is a fictional story that revolves around the complicated beauty of the human-animal relationship. “It’s a work of fiction, yes, but one that is based in truth. Paul and I began traveling in Greece in ’86, but it was when our family was planted on our favorite island for 6 weeks in ’90 that we met up with one of the book’s protagonists, ‘Margarita’, a loud little street dog who essentially adopted us and then opened our eyes wide to the reality of life as a stray animal in Greece.” Almost everything written in ‘Graces’ about the dog is truth, she says. “One of the ‘unwanted ones’ herself, Margarita set us off on a long and wild ride by deciding to adopt us, but she also introduced us to much more beyond the plight of the strays, to lovely people like the village fishermen and the black clad yia yias (grandmothers) who hold court on back alleys, the wise old men who haunt the ouzeries and benches scattered along the island’s harbor-front, people who run the local businesses and keep the island commerce alive, farmers who still to this day bring vegetables to town on the backs of their sturdy Skyros ponies and mules … Margarita introduced us to the beauty, as well as to some of the harsh realities, of an enigmatic culture. We absolutely fell in love with Greece. It is our home away from home and offers great inspiration to both Paul and I. Many a song of ours has been written there.”
The novel will be introduced at a book release party on July 19th, a Thursday night at 7:30 at The Stonehouse Old Brewery in Nevada City. Local favorites Beaucoup Chapeaux will be starting the evening off with a bit of Mediterranean cafe music before Eleanore hits the stage to talk about her book and read from it’s pages. Paperback copies will be available at the event and she will happily sign them after the reading.
A percentage of proceeds from the e-sales and physical sales of ‘Graces’ will benefit 2 animal charities; Sammie’s Friends, the no-kill animal shelter/rescue in Grass Valley, CA. and the Skiathos Dog Shelter on the island of Skiathos in Greece. However, if you buy the book at either shelter, they will keep ALL of the proceeds. A lifetime lover and advocate of the animals, MacDonald says, “They have given me so much, taught me so much and a great focus of my life has been their well-being. I prefer the animals to most humans, actually. This is another way that I hope to be able to give back to them.”
And what now? “Well, Paul and I are working on our 10th CD, original music that we look forward to performing more of in Europe in the coming year; I will continue on my quest to find traditional publishing, and I’ve started working on my 2nd novel, again set in Greece. I think it must be time for me to go back there and do some more research, don’t you?”