Deborah Barnes is the author of The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary, a book that was inspired by the relationship she shares with her family of seven cats (now eight, thanks to a kitten she rescued from a Pet Supermarket) and lessons learned from them after her life took an unexpected change in direction in 2009. She is also the creator of the award-winning blog, Zee & Zoey’s Chronicle Connection, that not only continues to follow the everyday journey she shares with her cats, but covers topics from the humorous behaviors of cats to very serious subjects on pet responsibility.
While her first work was not published until 2011, Deborah has a background in marketing and has been writing for over 20 years in various capacities. She recently won the prestigious title of the “2013 Cat Writer of the Year” as presented by Friskies/Purina at the Cat Writers’ Association Conference and her current circle of works has brought her to where she is today – a serious cat advocate and Secretary of the non-profit, Pawsitively Humane of Miami, Florida, whose mission is to create public awareness and reduce the numbers of animals on the streets and in shelters through an extensive educational campaign.
Although Deb had always wanted to write a book and was encouraged many times throughout the years to do so, like so many others with dreams, she put it off thinking, “Yeah, maybe one day I’ll get to it,” without actually believing it. Well, unplanned by her, one day did come in the form of two life altering events – Zee, her lovable male Maine Coon cat, and Zoey, her high-spirited female Bengal cat fell madly in love and subsequently had a litter of kittens together. The other event – she was unexpectedly laid off.
Prior to her layoff, The Chronicles began unsuspectingly as a weekly series of emails that documented the birth and weekly update of the kittens growth with a humorous narrative by Deb and lots of amazing photographs taken by her fiance, Dan, that was sent out every Friday to various friends, family, colleagues, and co-workers. The emails soon became a sensation and many recipients clamored for a book. Flattered, but not really taking it seriously, it was not until Deb began to feel the effects of her layoff and hit a very deep, dark, and depressing point in her life that she knew she had to dig herself out of that hole and take charge of her life. Her cats and a little help from the Ellen DeGeneres Show gave her the push she needed and it was then that she decided it was time to write that book that everyone had been asking for.
As it progressed, the Chronicles became more than just a story of the growth of the kittens, but a tribute to the hero and heroine of the book – Zee and Zoey – and the amazing relationship and bond that formed between the two of them and how they affected those around them. The story unfolds with a brief history of the author’s life, the heart baring highs and lows, and her ever-changing network of human and animal relationships and progresses to the initial point of when Zee met Zoey for the first time, the whirlwind courtship to follow, and the subsequent pregnancy and then birth of four amazing kittens.
The reader is invited into the magical world of Zee and Zoey, complete with a magnificent gallery of photos and custom illustrations making the story even more enticing. The author is able to retell the details of the pregnancy and birth with amazing detail and realism, but with such a refreshing honesty and humor that even a “non cat lover” will appreciate and enjoy. It is a very warm, heartfelt, honest, humorous, sometimes sad, but very compelling story that people will easily relate to, as the story of the cats is wrapped into the general context of everyday life. But, most importantly, the story inspires the reader to look and learn from our feline friends as they perceive the world – to them, on each and every day, even the most ordinary of events or situations can become extraordinary through their mind’s eye.