How a One-Eyed Cat Became a Children’s Book Star, by Faye Rapoport DesPres


I hope children enjoy his story and that it helps them develop compassion for strays.

Who knew a one-eyed cat could inspire so much love while starring in a new picture book?

This month the third book in the Stray Cat Stories children’s book series, Frazier: The Very Special Cat, launches with Writer’s Coffee Bar Press. The book, charmingly illustrated by Laurel McKinstry Petersen, tells the tale of a big, orange tom cat rescued from a hard life outdoors.

Friends often ask why I started writing children’s books, since my first book is a collection of personal essays titled Message From a Blue Jay. Personal essays are part of a literary genre known as creative nonfiction (CNF). CNF is challenging to write, not only because of the hard work that goes into shaping good essays, but also because CNF writers reveal a lot about themselves and their lives for the world to read. It’s “opening a vein” type of writing, and publishing CNF can be an intense experience for a writer. It was for me.

After Message From a Blue Jay was published, I needed a change of pace. I had rescued a feral cat that was (and still is) living with my husband and me, and I thought her story could be the basis for a good children’s book. My publisher at the time (an independent press called Buddhapuss Ink) liked the idea.  

Time passed, though, and the owner of Buddhapuss Ink, MaryChris Bradley, eventually closed the press (after years in business and publishing many wonderful, award-winning books). She launched a new imprint, Writer’s Coffee Bar Press, and we agreed that my children’s book would be published through that imprint. Little White: The Feral Cat Who Found a Home was a success, so I decided to write a series of three Stray Cat Stories.

The second book in the series, Tribbs: The Very Handsome Cat, was published in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit. Now, to complete the trilogy, I’m introducing Frazier to the world.

Frazier’s story is special to me because the real Frazier is a big, lovable boy who was injured when I brought him inside. He went through a lot before getting his well-deserved, very happy ending. I hope children enjoy his story and that it helps them develop compassion for strays. After all, no matter how many eyes (or ears, or legs, or tails) any of us have, we all deserve love and a family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Faye Rapoport DesPres is the author of the memoir-in-essays Message From a Blue Jay (Buddhapuss Ink, 2014) and the Stray Cat Stories Children’s Books Series (Writer’s Coffee Bar Press). She earned her MFA at the Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College and has published creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in a variety of literary journals. A life-long advocate for animals, wildlife, and the environment, Faye donates a portion of the proceeds from her children’s books to non-profit animal rescue organizations. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jean-Paul Des Pres, and their rescued cats.

Connect with Faye on the web:

Website: www.fayerapoportdespres.com

Twitter: @FayeRapoDesPres

Instagram: FayeInBoston

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100058817963789

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