Zobel Nolan's latest--a kitty come clean tell-all book
Norwalk resident Allia Zobel Nolan acknowledges that she can be a humorous person. However, she says she's not one to stand up before an audience spouting one-liners. She rather leave that to others, like the feline types.
If people have wondered one time or another what their cats were thinking, Zobel Nolan's latest book, "Cat Confessions" will surely fill that need to know. Described as a "Kitty Come Clean Tell-All Book," "Cat Confessions" matches 28 one-liners with photographs capturing a variety of feline expressions that are beyond the "cat's meow."
However, don't expect to see Angela, Zobel Nolan's eldest, MacDuff, her 23-pounder, or Sinead, her shy black and white beauty anywhere in the book. The author says they have had enough exposure on her website.
In the beginning pages, illustrated by graphic artist Mary Pat Pino of Westport, Zobel Nolan offers "a short paws to reflect." She notes how "cat-hartic the act of coming clean can be" and that is why she chose to follow her very successful "Purr More, Hiss Less" with "Cat Confessions," which offers felines opportunity to own up to their mischievous ways so "they can hold their whiskers high and be an example to all who would follow in their pawsteps," the author writes as she reflects upon her writing the one-liners.
The author attributes each of the one-liners to fictitious felines living in a variety of communities across the country. Of course, she includes "Jack and Julia" from Norwalk, who claim, "We love, love, love Mommy, But her cooking...Yech!"
Then there's Freddy from Redding, who looks right into the camera and says, "OK, so I introduced my compadre, Coyote, to Pablocity, the neighbor's Chihuahua. What? Did I do something wrong?"
There's a trio of cats (Ham, Shem, and Japeth from Nashville, Tenn., looking into the camera with the one-liner: "We lick the salt off the potato chips when Mommy has company."
During a recent interview in her East Rocks Road home, which she shares with her three cats and husband Desmond, Zobel Nolan noted that she drew inspiration for that one-liner from her own experience with her cats, who she discovered licking the salt from a bowl of potato chips that she had put on the table.
"I get a kick out of my own stuff," commented the author, who says she loves when her husband brings her flowers.
"He can sweep me off my feet with flowers," Zobel Nolan said. However, the euphoria is usually short-lived when she hears a vase crashing on the floor, the result of an exuberant cat who loves to eat flowers.
Such real-life is captured in "Cat Confessions" with Calvin from Atlanta, Ga., admitting, "Sometimes I break things and then pretend to be asleep so Mommy thinks the dog did it."
MacDuff's own experience with a large hairball, which resulted in a trip to the vet led Bailey from Dublin, Ireland to say in the book, "So, I was minding my own business, staring at a bug, when this gigantic hairball shot out of my mouth, like a cannonball and -- SMACK-landed right in Daddy's shoe. I mean, I couldn't do it again if I tried."
While many of her ideas come from living with cats for more than 20 years, the author attributes her creativity to a number of factors.
She grew up in Woodside, Queens, with her father, first-generation Italian-American telling a lot of stories. Also, she says, while other children would amuse themselves coloring, painting or playing with dolls, she would read books.
"When I was a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on. For me, it was important to read as much as I could."
Reading books fueled her imagination and today she is the author of 170 books, many written while she was employed as senior editor of religious books for Reader's Digest, where she worked for nine years.
She left the company to write books full-time and has penned between 20 and 25 books including humor books for adults and children's bible storybooks, including her recently published "Moses' Memory Book," the third and final book of a series, illustrated with Linda Clearwater. The other two are "Daniel's Diary" and "Noah's Notebook."
These books along with "Cat Confessions" are published by Harvest House Publishers.
In addition, this month, the author's "The Dreamy, Fishy, Happy Bible Storybook, illustrated by Nadine Wickenden, has also just been released.
This book includes six easy-to-read rhymed Bible stories with multi-sized flaps and colorful illustrations. These brief Bible stories acquaint children 3 and older with popular Bible stories. She tells them in an authentic and entertaining manner so the children can connect with and remember the stories. She shares details like the noises the animals make on Noah's ark, the frogs that jump and the flies that swarm in Pharoah's palace and the experience of joy when the rock is moved away and the angel announces that Jesus has risen. The book is published by Zonderkidz, a division of HarperCollins.
Zobel Nolan has found her niche as a writer of humorous cat books and bible stories for children. However, she gained national prominence as a writer with her first book, "The Joy of Being Single," back in the day when she was single and touting the benefits of single life. This book, published by Workman Publishing in 1992 led to her to interest in writing about cats with her very successful, series of cat books including "101 Reasons Why a Cat is Better Than A Man," "101 More Reasons Why a Cat is Better Than a Man," "202 Reasons Why A Cat is Better than A Man" and "Everything I know About The Rat Race I Learned from My Cat," among other humorous cat books.
However, the biggest joke came when Zobel Nolan found love and learned about the joy of being married. Her marriage to Desmond 16 years ago was the subject for the New York Times' popular Sunday feature, "Vows," which spotlights weddings of couples whose bond in marriage often reflect a little twist of fate.
Could be that marrying Desmond reflected the kind of open mind that Zobel Nolan finds she is experiencing as she enjoys her prolific life as a writer. She says although she wrote the "Joy of Being Single" and other earlier books before she took the position at Reader's Digest and continued her personal writing while an employee, she finds quitting the job as a senior editor and devoting her full-time to her own writing has led to a heightening of her own imagination.
She is the first to downplay her own talents, however. She has an unabashed devotion to God and says, "Thank you, God. I'm very blessed. I don't think that for one minute that these things are coming from me. I'm the channel."
However, she does believe that writing books full-time is what she was meant to do.
"I don't think I was meant to be in a corporation," the author said.
With three books just published this spring and summer, Zobel Nolan is working on a number of writing projects including a new book titled, "Thank you, God: Love the Children of the World," illustrated by Miki Sakamato and published by Zondervan, the religious division of HarperCollins. In the book, each page focuses on children of a different country expressing gratitude for something unique to their country, such as the tulips in Holland. The book is slated for publication in October 2011.
Also she is writing a devotional book for the "tween" audience as well as a sequel to "Cat Confessions."
By the way, in this cat book, Angelica from Grand Rapids, Mich. says: "A confession? Yeah, I have one:" My mom's not a cat, and, well, I love her anyway. Is that too weird?'
Zobel Nolan probably drew inspiration for that line from Angela, or was it Macduff or maybe Sinead, all three whom she calls her "children."
Zobel Nolan will be participating in local book signings in upcoming months. Until then it is available at local book stores, including Barnes & Noble and Borders and or at www.harvesthousepublishers.com.