I’m a late bloomer. Very late! At age 65, I wrote a story featuring a tabby kitten named ZuZu, born in a barn at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. I liked it so much I wrote more stories set in the Berkshires and added in lots of farm animals and an extended family. ZuZu’s further adventures bring readers to many interesting and historic places. The Hancock Shaker Village, the Red Lion Inn, Chesterwood, the Berkshire Botanical Garden are some of those places that my husband Charley and I have visited many times and I wanted to share them with others.
A Berkshire Tale is comprised of ten tales following ZuZu and her friend Nick through the seasons of a year. It’s appropriate for children of all ages, even adult children like me. I wrote it so that adults could share the stories with a child. This motivated me to create a blog, Around ZuZu’s Barn, about the book and about the importance of reading, storytelling and imagination in the life of a child. The blog evolved into a conversation with kindred spirits on many topics, with some of my photography interspersed. (I used my photographs to illustrate A Berkshire Tale.)
I had been a teacher and administrator for over thirty years. I’m now retired, living with my husband Charley and our two cats, Roxie and ZuZu, in the woods of South County. People who read this invariably ask, “You have two cats? Well, what about the other cat? Why doesn’t she have a book about her?” To appease my blog followers, I began to write posts of life seen through the eyes of Roxie, “The Other Cat.” People really love these vignettes and it appears there may actually be another book within these posts.
Another question I’m asked is, “Do you have a book set in RI?” I now can answer that I have one in the process of being published. It’s a small book in rhymed verse set in the Botanical Center at Roger Williams Park. The main character is a baby pitcher plant, Adonis, who one morning decides to stop eating meat. This causes much consternation for his mother, Dee, her friends, and the other plants and creatures living around the carnivorous plant section of the gardens. And I’m currently working on a mystery set in South Kingstown, complete with black and white photos of settings in the book.
Although I’m a late bloomer, I am trying to catch up, so that by the time I’m 67, I’ll have more books under my belt. Please visit my blog and check out the photos and “The Other Cat” stories. You’ll also get to know a bit more about me and Charley and the ZuZu stories which I’m continuing in the future.
Claremary Sweeney is also on Facebook.