Mother-daughter book tells adventures of family catsWritten by Don Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Once upon a time there were two kittens for whom things did not look good at all.
A car had hit their mother cat and killed her and they were not old enough to be away from her.
Then a nice lady and her nice daughter found them and learned how to take care of the newborn kittens and named them Loxley and Chuck.
Now Loxley and Chuck are living happily ever after.
Here there’d normally be a “The End,” just like in the storybooks the nice lady and her daughter wrote about their kittens, but it’s not the end.
It might just be the beginning.
Loxley and Chuck, or at least one of their fictional friends, just might be on TV. A publisher is interested in more books and Cartoon Network is interested in making an animated show.
Not bad for two kitties that almost didn’t make it.
Not a cat person
Lynne Carroll said she had just brought her daughter, Amy Radecki, home from the hospital, where she had been recuperating from “lifesaving” surgery to remove extra ribs that were causing arteries in her arms to clot dangerously, when the two women heard meowing from under their car.
There they found two little furballs, nowhere near old enough to be away from their mama cat — but the mama cat had been struck by a car and killed.
“I’m not a cat person,” Carroll said. “At least, I wasn’t then. But I am now.”
Questions to veterinarians and many online searches later taught the two women what they needed to know to care for newborn kittens: feeding them with eyedroppers, massaging their stomachs so they could go to the bathroom, even burping them.
Helping the kittens became part of Radecki’s recovery therapy.
Those little furballs are now 2 years old, and have become big and mischievous cats. Chuck likes to play with pens, especially a pen you want to use, and Loxley’s been known to jump in the sink and turn the water on when no one’s watching. And they both tease the dog, Jacoby.
“They’re family to me,” Carroll said.
Oh — and they have their own books. That was another leap of faith, Carroll said.
“I was sitting at the table looking at those two,” she said. “They were on the table wanting to fight — play-fight — and I thought, ‘Why not write about you guys?’”
Picking up on that, Radecki, a commercial art graduate of Owens Community College, suggested she illustrate the stories — “she’s a beautiful artist,” her mother said — and they publish them online, as a blog — that or a book.
“I’m no writer,” Carroll objected. But Radecki said, “You do it all the time for work.”
They scouted around and found an online publisher and the illustrated adventures of Chuck and Loxley took off. Along the way, the storybook versions of the two cats have encountered a variety of friends, from Frank the Mouse to Alfred the Mean Ant, who doesn’t know how to make friends, but learns.
Alfred the Mean Ant
“My daughter and I dialogue a lot. Sometimes I put some music on” for brainstorming, Carroll said.
The cats’ adventure with Alfred, is told in the second of the two books, Carroll said.
Sales of the books have been mostly driven by word of mouth and much of the proceeds go back to Paws & Whiskers, a charity for animals. That is not where her leap of faith ended, though.
Carroll is engaged to a retired engineer at SSOE in Toledo, and he’s nearly finished building the boat in which he wants to cruise Chesapeake Bay. And Carroll was looking for a lot less stress in her life.
So she said goodbye to her co-workers — “people I loved” — at Arbors Healthcare in Sylvania, back in February when the books came out.
Letters of inquiry to every publisher the women could think of led to a deal with Writer’s House for more Loxley and Chuck books. They can also be read at www.storyjumper.com and there was recently unexpected interest from another quarter.
Now Carroll and her daughter are flying out to California to talk with Cartoon Network about a possible show starring Frank the Mouse.
Loxley chased a length of string as Carroll considered everything that has happened since two mewling furballs were found under her car.
“I don’t know who rescued whom,” she said.