I wrote Cloudy Rainbow, my paranormal romance, in 2007 after my 15-year-old cat passed away. I named the cat character in the book after Floppy and even included some of his real-life adventures in it. Although I’d published articles in pet magazines and a short mystery in an anthology prior to this, I’d never published a full-length book before. Since self-publishing was becoming popular at the time, my husband suggested that I go that route. I invested some money and sent the manuscript to Booklocker.com, a reliable self-publishing company that was referred to me by another author. I worked with this company to produce the book, and it was published in 2008. The library where I work purchased a copy and a few others, but it didn’t sell very well because I had no idea how to market my work and didn’t have much time to do it because I had a young daughter and was working full-time. That would’ve been the end of this book and my writing career had not a library patron who read the book encouraged me to continue writing.
Fast forward to 2015 when I finally took her advice. It was that year that I published the first book of my Cobble Cove mystery series, A Stone’s Throw, with a small publisher. I’ve changed publishers since then and am currently working on the 4th book of this series. My current publisher, Solstice Publishing, reprinted A Stone’s Throw in 2016 and just reprinted Cloudy Rainbow. The reprints, of course, include fresh edits, a new cover, and some updates to the story. I had no idea that, after ten years, my writing had improved so much. While I enjoyed re-reading the plot of my first published novel, I found that it needed a lot of polishing. During the final stages of editing, my mother passed away. I notified Solstice that I wanted to add her to the dedication. She was very proud of my writing and especially of my first book. Also, the book deals with loss. As it helped me get over losing Floppy when I first wrote it, it helped again to ease some of the pain of my mom’s death.
Cloudy Rainbow will always be a special book to me. Not only does it feature my beloved cat, but it goes back to the time I worked as secretary and Features Editor in college on the C.W. Post Pioneer newspaper. In addition, it includes a virtual world similar to Second Life. I had become involved in Second Life in 2006 to meet fellow librarians around the world who participated in it. After Floppy died, I created and still maintain a virtual pet memorial center in SL called Rainbow Gardens where I display photos of real-life pets that people have lost. Both Floppy and my cat Oliver who died last November are featured there.
Cloudy Rainbow wasn’t the only story I’ve written about loss. The Path to Rainbow Bridge, a short story available only as an eBook, won a Certificate of Excellence from the Cat Writers Association this past summer.
Although I’ve made a few changes to Cloudy Rainbow, the blurb remains the same except that I consider it a 10th anniversary edition. I think that some of the themes I approach in the book, although the characters and happenings are fictional, touch on universal questions most of us have about life and death. Without bringing up religious beliefs, I believe a line from the blurb is significant: “When you lose a loved one, whether it’s a relative, friend, or precious pet, you wonder where that special soul has gone and if you will ever see him or her again.”
Thanks to my fellow Solstice author Nicole Luttrell for giving me the opportunity to share the story behind Cloudy Rainbow.
Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, the Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her novels include the three books of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Debbie has also published a romantic comedy novella featuring a jewel heist caper, When Jack Trumps Ace, a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, and has written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. She lives on Long Island with her husband Anthony; daughter Holly; and Cat Stripey.
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