Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Real Casey
I'm very pleased to by taking part in Ginger's extravaganza. My name is Kim Chatel. My YA Paranormal novella "The Stone Beach" is currently available from Eternal Press (www.eternalpress.com.au). Instead of sharing an excerpt, I thought I would tell you a bit about the inspiration behind this story.
First, here's a short blurb about "The Stone Beach."
When Caroline begins her last year of middle school, she barely recognizes her best friend. Brenda dresses differently. She blows off classes, homework and friends. But has Brenda really changed, or is Caroline just seeing her with new eyes?
Caroline has worries that Brenda doesn’t even understand. Her fifteen-year-old cat, Casey, is sick and the vet has been hinting that it’s time to put him to sleep. How can Caroline lose her two best friends at once?
In the next few months, Caroline learns that some friendships are not worth keeping, others are worth fighting for and still others will endure into the afterlife.
Casey (March 31st, 1992 - October 18th, 2007)
Casey started life as a runt. As a kitten, he was so tiny, I worried he wouldn’t live. He was also shockingly orange with wide, blue eyes. For the first few months, he hid from me constantly. He was so timid; I thought I’d never get a cuddle. By the end of his life, he was my constant companion. Many of my typos can be blamed on his big pink and orange paw stretching out to tap my keyboard.
His brother, Moe, was identical, but black. I called them my Halloween cats. They came into my life in 1992. It seems like a lifetime ago now, and I guess it was—Casey’s lifetime. We lost Moe in 1995. Casey spent weeks sitting on our back deck, scanning the horizon for his brother. But Casey was a trooper. For the first two years, he came to work with me everyday. We moved ten times in sixteen years and adopted numerous kittens, puppies and other critters. Casey took it all in stride.
Though he outgrew his runtiness (he was 17 pounds in his prime), his life was plagued with inexplicable illnesses, so I am thankful that I had sixteen fabulous years with him.
Readers always want to know where authors find their inspiration. Often there is no easy answer to that question. Ideas come from all around: family stories, life experience, news articles even jokes. Often a story comes from a combination of ideas.
In the case of “The Stone Beach,” inspiration was a clear as a knock on my door. Casey, was diagnosed with diabetes and hyper thyroid disease. He was fourteen years old, and as I watched him shrink from a robust 17 pounds down to 11 pounds (he shrunk to only 6 pounds in his final days), I knew that we didn’t have much time left with him. My daughter was only five-years-old at the time. One afternoon, after one of our many trips to the veterinarian, she asked, “What if Casey just doesn’t wake up one morning?” My heart broke to tell her that might happen. I thought back to other pets I had lost and realized how hard it was to speak of such things to a child. As a parent, I wanted to brush her worries aside, tell her everything would be all right. But how could I make such empty promises, when her heart was so full of love and worry?
So I wrote The Stone Beach. In the course of editing it, I’ve read this book dozens of times, and my eyes still prickle with tears in certain parts, but it brings me comfort. I hope my daughter and all the children who are hurting from the loss of beloved pets, will read it and find comfort too.
Kim Chatel is a rising star in the world of literature and a born storyteller. In another incarnation, she’d have gauged the effect of her tales in faces that watched and listened to her by flickering firelight. Like other excellent writers, she knows that often, it’s what an author doesn’t say, that piques a reader’s interest and makes a book memorable. Chatel cleverly allows the reader to draw her own conclusions in The Stone Beach.
Part coming-of-age tale, part ghost story, all enthralling reading, this is one of those special novels not easy to forget. Long after you’ve finished reading it, you’ll find it stays with you. You’ll remember the way it moved you. You’ll look around for your own Stone Beach.
Read the whole review
Caroline is learning that life isn’t always easy but with the right friend you can deal with what life throws at you. This book is a real tear jerker. Definitely a minimum 2 hankie read. This one makes a real impact, but keep the Kleenex handy. I give this one 4-1/2 red roses.
Read the entire review at Red Roses for Authors
See a slide show of the real Casey
Watch The Stone Beach Video Trailer