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Squirrelly Q's crew of colorful critter friends

Even though Squirrelly Q wakes up alone in Central Park, he quickly meets several colorful critters who become fast friends and help him on his journey to find the one who makes him feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.  These 7 new friends become SQ's Critter Crew!

"Art imitates life."   -Aristotle

 

"Write what you know."   -Mark Twain

 

 

SQ's Critter Crew emerged from the real life characters in my own life story who were my greatest inspiration. 

 

Nothing else was more inspiring than the personalities and antics from my two sons who will forever be my muses.

Scroll down to see the photos of my real life inspiration!

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Maximus

Maximus is inspired by my youngest son, Max.  Like Maximus, he is small, but mighty!  He also loved Mickey Mouse as a toddler so a mouse seemed like the natural choice for his character.  Maximus is swift, brave, and friendly.  Just like Max.  Many have said that my son, Max, is a friend to all.  Notably, he is Squirrelly Q's first friend. 

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Sherlock

 

Sherlock's character was solely based off our beloved dog, Magnum, who is no longer with us on Earth.  He was a furry brother to Eli and Max and since he was such an important part of our own family story, he naturally had to be a part of Squirrelly Q's story.

He was big and strong and protected our family.  He had a loud, deep bark that was intimidating to some humans, but he wasn't really scary at all.  He was very lovable and affectionate and didn't know his size, especially when he tried to lay on us like he was a lapdog.  Sherlock gets excited and jumps around just like Magnum did in real life. We have kept Magnum alive in our thoughts and in our hearts, but now he can live forever in the pages of this book.

Sherlock is a super sleuth.  He is smart and intuitive.  He is clearly a domestic animal (wearing a detective outfit!), but he isn't lost from his Mommy like Squirrelly Q and Lady are.  Since he is so good at navigating the park and solving mysteries, we can assume that he knows exactly how to get home. 

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Bella

 

Bella is a spunky, smart teenage girl skunk. While she wasn't inspired by anyone specifically, I have had many spunky, smart teenage girls in my life... all of which have their own beautiful, unique place in my heart.  Bella's true colors are always shining through, just like all of my girls!   

 

Stay tuned for Book 2 to hear how she got those unique rainbow colors!

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Mr. E (Charles Wood)

 

Mr. E is inspired by my son, Eli.  Coincidentally, Eli had lost his two front teeth right as I finalized this character.  They even initially grew back with a space in the middle.  He is also a growing boy and is always sooooooo hungry!  Like Eli, Mr. E is inquisitive, clever, talkative, and just a little bit clumsy.  Notably, he is the one who comes up with the name, "Q."  Eli and I have a history of creating our own bedtime stories with colorful characters so this was very fitting for Mr. E!

Woodchucks can climb trees and they hibernate in the winter.  In the story, Mr. E has just woken up from a long nap which really means that he just woke up from hibernation.  Mr. E isn’t the most graceful of animals and makes a ruckus as he is climbing down from the tree.  Pinecones from the evergreen tree fall on Squirrelly Q's head as Mr. E makes his entrance into the story.

Mr. E knows that Squirrelly Q must be good at foraging food (even if he was just born) and that is why he asks him to use his sniffer to find them food.  Mr. E is also very hungry because he just woke up from hibernation.

 

Wonder why Mr. E is wearing that weird white theatrical scarf?   Stay tuned for Book 2 to hear the origin story!

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Francesco and Marcello

 

These two pigeon brothers sure are funny blokes! They are Italian pigeons and their capes are napkins from an Italian restaurant in NYC.  I envision them with Italian accents when they speak.  The bountiful feasts are actually the dropped popcorn, nuts, and various other treats from street vendors in the city.  But don't tell them that!  They believe that they are royalty.  Despite their royal status, they are helpful and kind to old and new friends alike.

I have always been entertained by pigeons, but these two were brought to life while I was vacationing in Italy with my husband (before our sons were born).  While relaxing on a bench in beautiful Sorrento, two pigeons snacked at our feet.  I could have watched them for hours!  They are brothers in the story which is a nod to my sons and the brotherly love between them.

The trip to Italy was for my 35th birthday.  Marcello was the name of the hotel waiter who delivered my tiramusu birthday cake.  He was also a colorful character and clearly left a lasting impression!

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Lady

 

The name of the kitten in the story was inspired by my childhood dog.  She is dressed as a princess by her human Mommy.  I learned later that an adult cat is called a Queen which couldn't have been more perfect! AND... she was friends with Francesco and Marcello, other members of the "royal family."

The reader is left wondering if Lady will also find her Mommy.  At the end of the story, the critters have a strong lead with the Lost poster that Squirrelly Q saw in Marcello and Francesco's kingdom. 

 

Stay tuned for Book 2 to see if Squirrelly Q's new friends reunite to help Lady find her human Mommy!

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 Pigeon muse in NYC

The original Squirrelly Q

in Central Park

This squirrel inspired the character  on a trip to NYC in 2009

Our beloved dog, Magnum, who was the inspiration for the character of Sherlock

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Sorrento pigeon bros that inspired

Francesco and Marcello

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Tiramusu birthday cake

delivered by Marcello in Sorrento

Sorrento, Italy 

Francesco and Marcello's original kingdom

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