In this weeks author spotlight, I meet up with the amazing Susan Keefe, author of, Toby’s Tails – The Christmas Kittens, a beautiful children’s book that donates a percentage of sales to a local animal rescue centre.
What is your book about?
It is about three kittens who were rescued. The story is of their first six months leading up to, and including their first Christmas.
What inspired you to write this book?
My husband and I did rescue the three kittens a year ago, they were such characters. We took hundreds of photos of them. We knew of a local animal rescue centre, Helianthus, and decided it would be nice to give a percentage of the profit of each book sold to them. The rescue centre were delighted and I had the book translated into French and Spanish as well to help sales. The Toby’s Tails series of books are written to educate children about pet ownership, how to treat animals, and how to look after them. All the stories are told through the eyes of our Border Collie, Toby, and he has a father like role in caring for the kittens in this story.
Who is your favourite, and least favourite, character in the book?
The three kittens are equally the stars and there are many adorable pictures of them, including one of the three up in the decorated Christmas tree. There are not really any unfriendly characters in the book.
What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?
I was lucky enough to have an idyllic childhood in the Essex, UK, countryside with parents and grandparents who encouraged my love of all animals both wild and tame. In 2006 my husband and I moved to a smallholding in France. When one of our Golden Retrievers died, we went to a farm to get a goat mated, as you do, and ended up in buying Toby our Border Collie, who was peering through the fence when we arrived. He was a very cute puppy only six weeks old. Lucky the old retriever, who features as Toby’s mentor in the first book Toby’s Tails was too old to go for walks but as soon as Toby was big enough we formed a tight bond, and he is a delightful companion, always at my side. One day I sat down and wrote Toby’s Tails (Book 1 in the series) about his first year and since then the books have just flowed. I do not write in any other genre.
Is this a standalone book, or can we expect more?
This is the fifth book in the series. Book 6 is just released and can be found on Amazon. It's titled Toby's Tails - Saying Goodbye to Lucky. I have plenty of others waiting patiently to be published in my mind. Toby, and the animals here at Fantasy Farm are such an inspiration.
Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?
Just living here in the peaceful French countryside and having Toby, and the other animals both wild and tame around us is an inspiration. Every day there is something new to write about. The expat writer Susie Kelly has been a great support and inspiration to me.
Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?
It has to be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I have loved this story since I was a teenager and still have my very tatty original book. I have seen versions of it on film, and at various theatres. I don’t normally go for romances but this book will be my favourite forever.
Have you written other books we should know about?
Yes there are four other books already published in the series, they are available in paperback and Kindle format from all Amazon sites worldwide:
Toby’s Tails (volume1 ) - Free on Kindle unlimited
Toby’s Tails –Still Wagging - Free on Kindle unlimited
Toby’s Tails –The Chicken Patrol - Free on Kindle Unlimited
Toby’s Tails –Billy and Daisy’s Big Adventure - Free on Kindle Unlimited
If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?
It would have to be write about what you know. It is so easy to write if you are happy in your subject, the words just flow.
Where can we find your book?
Where can we find out more about you?