Debbie, a ferret, and Charlie, a cat, take center stage in author Conny Manero’s latest children’s book titled Debbie. It’s told from the point of view of Debbie and Charlie as Charlie helps Debbie adjust to life with her new family in a condo. The story is based on some of Manero’s own experiences.
“Writing Debbie was more of a tribute,” Manero said. “The real Debbie was with us for a little over seven years. After she passed away in her sleep, I felt I had to do something. We had lots of pictures and a few videos, but somehow that didn’t seem enough. So I wrote the story to remember her — not that Debbie could ever be forgotten.”
Manero always had a deep love of animals, and cats had been part of her family for some time. When they had five cats and wanted to add another pet, her son Dieter was the one to suggest a ferret. They got Debbie from a shelter, where they were told how to care for them. At home, they also checked online for more ferret care information.
“From there we sort of learned as we went along,” she said. And a major surprise was how much ferrets sleep.
Charlie was based on Manero’s cat named Charlie. Why were these names chosen? “Dieter named Debbie as soon as he laid eyes on her,” Manero said. “Charlie was named after Prince Charles because he was on TV when Charlie came into the house on that fateful night.” Manero refers to the night that she and her son rescued Charlie when he was a kitten.
While writing Debbie, Manero found that capturing her ferret’s spirit was the most difficult part.
“She was such a mischievous creature.”
Writing allowed Manero to relive memorable moments. She recalled that Debbie was fond of sleeping, stealing things and swimming in the tub, but she disliked being blow-dried. Manero said it was also fun to recall the fuss people made over Debbie when they first saw her.
Something Manero learned while writing Debbie is that not all ferrets are like her. She said while visiting a friend who owned a ferret she tried to pet him and he nipped her.
“Debbie never bit me, or anyone else for that matter,” she said.
Manero had three books published prior to Debbie, two novels and another children’s book titled Kitten Diaries. The different genres required different writing techniques.
“Waiting For Silverbird and Voice Of An Angel are both fictitious stories,” Manero said. “With Debbie all I had to do was remember and then follow the course of events. I had to use a good dose of fantasy to put myself in the place of Debbie and Charlie, but that wasn’t too difficult. They were very fond of each other. Kitten Diaries is also written just as it happened.”
Manero does not plan to do any sequels to Debbie, but she will be writing about more animals in the future.
Debbie is illustrated by Nancy Matson and runs a little over 60 pages. Illustrations do not appear on every page, but Manero is happy with the result. “Those that the illustrator provided capture Debbie pretty well.”
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