Faye Rapoport DesPres earned her MFA from the Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College and has published creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in a variety of literary journals. Faye’s first book, Message From a Blue Jay, is a personal essay collection published by Buddhapuss Ink in 2014. A lifelong wildlife advocate and animal lover, Faye donates a portion of the proceeds from her children’s books, the Stray Cat Stories series, to non-profit animal rescue organizations. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband Jean-Paul Des Pres.
Connect on Facebook
Welcome to The Children’s Book Connection, Faye! When did you begin writing?
I started writing diaries as a very young child and have continued writing in dairies and journals throughout my life. I started writing poems as a pre-teen and stories as a teenager. At the start of my more adult writing life I focused on poetry for a while, and I also studied journalism and worked in journalism and public/media relations. It wasn’t until I pursued an MFA in Creative Writing a bit later in life that I pivoted towards creative nonfiction, and eventually some literary fiction.
What is your latest children’s book about?
Frazier: The Very Special Cat is based on the true story of a big orange tom cat I rescued from a difficult life as a stray. Frazier used to visit a feeding station in our yard for feral cats, and when I noticed he was injured I got help from a rescue organization to safely trap him and get him to a vet. He ended up with only one eye, one of the things that makes him very special (and cute). His tale is heartwarming, the illustrations are charming, and Frazier’s story has a very happy ending!
What inspired you to write it?
Rescuing the real-life Frazier inspired me to write a book about him. All three of the Stray Cat Stories children’s books are based on true stories about real cats I rescued.
What was it like working with an illustrator and how much control did you have over the artwork?
I have known my illustrator, Laurel McKinstry Petersen, since we were in high school. She is a really talented artist, and I love her work. I had almost no control over the artwork — Laurel and the publisher handled that side of things. I did have an opportunity to look at the illustrations and make comments or suggestions, and if something was really important to me I was able to say so.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Frazier: The Very Special Cat is available on online at Amazon and BN.com and other online bookstores. Readers can also support their local independent bookstore by walking in and asking them to order copies from Ingram.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
Work hard to learn and practice the craft of writing, whether that’s through classes, a degree, a writing group, or whatever avenue you can find that fits into your life. Read a lot, write a lot, and don’t give up. Believe in yourself and your own voice.
What is up next for you?
Once Frazier launches, I will be back at my desk journaling, dreaming up new projects, and sending out work when it’s ready — the life of a writer.