Animal advocate, author Jennifer Skiff visits Steamboat for inspirational book talk
January 3, 2019
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Limitations are no match for award-winning journalist, author and passionate animal advocate Jennifer Skiff. Especially when it comes to standing up for a cause she believes in.
"We all need hope," said Skiff, who has a career that involved more than a decade as an investigative correspondent for CNN. "There is good all around us, and when we know about it and see through others how to create positive change, we gravitate toward being part of the compassion movement."
Known for writing poignant books about animals, Skiff will be in town this weekend for her first visit to Steamboat Springs for a book talk from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4 at Off the Beaten Path, 68 Ninth St. She will speak about her book, "Rescuing Ladybugs: Inspirational Encounters with Animals That Changed the World," which was released earlier this year
"In this book, I make the connection of how helping animals benefits us all," said Skiff, who also wrote "The Divinity of Dogs" and "God Stories," which were published in seven languages.
If you go
What: Author talk and book signing: Jennifer Skiff
When: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4
Where: Off the Beaten Path, 68 Ninth St.
"Rescuing Ladybugs" highlights the true stories of remarkable people who Skiff said didn't look away from seemingly impossible-to-change situations, and instead, worked to save animals. In its pages, she also coined the phrase "the compassion movement," describing it as, "the collective quest to alleviate suffering for all forms of life."
Passionate about animals and their welfare, Skiff serves as trustee, advisor and spokesperson for charities like the Dogs Refuge Home in Australia and Institute for Humane Education and Animal Aid USA, while also working with lawmakers to create positive change.
This week, Explore Steamboat caught up with the author to find out how the remarkable stories unfolded.
Explore Steamboat: Who/what inspired you to write “Rescuing Ladybugs: Inspirational Encounters with Animals That Changed the World?”
Jennifer Skiff: “Rescuing Ladybugs” was inspired by my personal connection with a tortured bear in Laos and the successful quest to free him by building the first bear sanctuary in that country. The story started there and is also about the compassionate heroes I've met and worked with since meeting him.
Note: According to her bio, she also facilitated the release of 12 chained monkeys into their natural habitat in Flores, Indonesia.
ES: Where's the most surprising place you've found inspiration for one of your nonfiction novels?
JS: The most surprising places I've found inspiration is when I've witnessed atrocities perpetuated against innocent animals. As an animal advocate, I see things that are deeply disturbing. It's at those moments I realize that I must tell the stories of those innocents in order to successfully activate others to help them.
ES: When you find beautiful characters that have faced some kind of hardship or challenge, do you feel a personal responsibility to tell their story?
JS: Everyone has a story, and we all have faced serious challenges and heartbreak. The good news about writing nonfiction is that when you share your own or other people's challenges, readers relate and are lifted when they know they're not alone.
ES: You seem to have a way of finding unexpected humor in topics that are complex or one people may shy away from, how do you find that humor?
JS: Both my parents had sarcastic, dry senses of humor. They created laughter from the composition of words with expression. I've found that when it comes to writing, humor keeps the reader engaged and that's my goal — to take them on an emotional journey that includes laughter.
ES: Can you remember back to the moment you knew you wanted to be an author? Was it a particular novel? An author you look up to?
JS: My love for books started when I was 12 years old and worked stacking books in the grade school library. That year, I asked my grandmother for an electric typewriter for my eighth-grade graduation present – and received one.
ES: Is it everything you thought it would be?
JS: For many years I was content being a television journalist — traveling the world for CNN and writing and producing news stories. It wasn't until I met an Australian on those travels that precipitated a seasonal move to the other side of the world and a shift to writing books. It's the perfect profession for me. I get to spend the day cocooned in a room with my dogs writing true stories that inspire others. What could be better than that?