Update April 9: The winner of the Litter Genie is KIMBERLY EHRHARDT! Congratulations Kimberly! Please check your email and reply within 48 hours to claim your prize.
|Christine Michaels & Gwen Cooper|
When the New Year rings in, we look forward to those unexpected highlights in life. One of those extended fireworks sparkled last Thursday. It was the date that I met one of my favorite authors, Gwen Cooper.
A native Miamian, Gwen is the author of NY Times bestseller, Homer's Odyssey, the story of a blind black cat she adopted as a kitten. I loved the book so much that I shared a review on both my personal blog and for Riverfront Cats. Gwen is an author and a cat lover, the best combination of qualities in my opinion.
Her book not only entertained readers but it really helped to educate new and non cat owners about cats in general, that blind cats are not entirely handicapped, and that in having three cats a woman can lead a robust life, thus demystifying the label of "crazy cat lady".
So when I learned that Gwen was returning to Miami to launch her new book Love Saves the Day, I cleared the calendar and counted the days.
At Books & Books in Coral Gables, Deb Barnes and I along with fellow Cat Network members, caught up with Gwen before the other fans arrived. She was everything we imagined and more. While some authors are introverted and develop sweaty palms and jitters before speaking engagements, not Gwen. Or at least she didn't let you see her sweat. She was chatty and perky and we felt like instant friends.
This evening she read from the first chapter of her new book, Love Saves the Day. For a video introduction to her new novel, please visit my previous post.
|Gwen signs book for local fan|
We learned that the book was a two year project but rewritten entirely three weeks before the deadline. The pressures of authoring a book! So why fictional? For starters, the setting is the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Gwen was drawn by the eccentric trappings of this corner of Manhattan beholden to the art and music of the 70s and 80s. There are numerous references to Gwen's husband, a music lover. Sarah (the mother in the book) is a former aspiring DJ. And the name of the cat "Prudence" came from? You guessed it! Dear Prudence, a Beatles song Gwen's husband played incessantly during the writing of the book.
"It was fortuitous that the refrain sang 'Dear Prudence won't you come out to play', " shares Gwen.
We love learning these nuggets of information that shape the story for a book.
As she read from the book, I was spellbound. The first third of the book is written from the point of the view of Prudence the cat. Gwen portrayed the tone, the attitude of Prudence with red laser dot precision. Gwen knows Cat! Prudence plays an important role in harmonizing a young woman's conflict with her past-- a tumultuous upbringing in her mother's dusty, Bohemian record store. Later chapters change to the third person and we learn more about the characters and devastating details about housing in the Lower East Side.
After the reading Gwen did advise not to be mislead by the juvenile book cover--the gradient blue background, sparkling stars and young looking brown tabby cat. Everyone can relate to the moral of the story- the complexity of relationships especially when a parent dies--circumstances beyond anyone's control that leads to a strained relationship, about the things left unsaid, and miscommunications. Pets we know can be the catalyst in bonding people. The journey and lessons of life are drawn from both humans and animals.
There’s an extra bonus for music lovers of the 1960’s -1990’s especially those that remember the New York music scene in late 1970’s, disco and punk. Gwen graciously includes an acknowledgement section listing some of the books that served as valuable research material, such as books about music, the Lower East Side, and Alphabet City.
We highly recommend the book and with warmer weather approaching, it's a great summer read on the hammock, under a tree or in your favorite reading room.
LITTER GENIE GIVEAWAYGwen's visit was thanks in part to the makers of the Litter Genie. I was fortunate to win one but knew readers could use it more. Therefore we are giving away one white Litter Genie to a lucky reader anywhere in US or Canada. Contest closes at 11:59pm April 7. The winner will be announced here on this post after April 7. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize.
Here's how to win:
- Leave a comment below stating why you would like to win a Litter Genie. If you don't have a Google account, please leave your email on the post so we have a way to reach you. (Required entry)
- Like "Riverfront Cats" on Facebook. www.facebook.com/RiverfrontCats
- Like our big brother site "Pawsitively Humane" on Facebook www.facebook.com/PawsitivelyHumane
- Share this giveaway on Facebook. Leave a separate comment here letting us know you posted FB.
- Share this giveaway on Twitter and leave a separate comment here letting us know you tweeted.
Good luck! And let Love Save Your Day.