Alby and the Cat was originally a 40,000 word novel, with Alby and his interaction with Pussums, the mischievious cat next door, being one of the threads of that original story. However, it was around the same time The Five Mile Press decided to publish my children's book, Quizzical, that they also asked me if I'd write a shorter 5,000 word story for their Ripper Reads series. I decided to take the 'Alby' thread and attempt to condense it into a 5,000 word story, and when I'd finished it, I emailed it to Five Mile. Fortunately, they really liked it!
I'd always hoped to write a series of stories about Alby the guide dog, because I felt there wasn't much information around about guide dogs - what they do, and what's expected of people when they're around them - especially for kids. My aim has never been to preach to kids, more to intersperse educational tidbits throughout my stories so that if a child comes away from reading one of my books and has learned something they may not have previously known, then I am happy.
I am also happy that the second of my Alby stories, Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness is due to be released around July of this year. Check out the very first review on the Kids Book Review at http://kids-book-review.blogspot.com/2010/05/review-alby-and-cat-showbusiness.html and if you get a chance to read the book at all, let me know what you think!