Like her protagonist Shannon Kendricks, Cathy Parker is an attorney. She volunteered as a zoo keeper's aide for eight years and did have a very special beluga buddy, Mauyak, just as Shannon Kendricks has. As to encounters with alien children, as in the trilogy, she is not saying. She was also a radio and print journalist and once was the 'Jill of all trades' for a small satellite paper in Wyoming. She did everything from taking to the photos to writing the articles and op-ed pieces to helping with layout and hauling the newspapers through blizzards once a week. As a result, she saw lambs being born and went on a cattle drive and ate her first (and last) Rocky Mountain Oyster. She has seen mountain gorillas in the wild in Rwanda and orangutans in Borneo and even rocked an orphaned baby orangutan to sleep on her chest. She has volunteered with a chimpanzee sanctuary for former research subjects. So you can see where her heart lies. Currently she lives in Costa Rica with her black cat. All similarities between her cat and the trilogy's Narcissus are purely and probably coincidental.
A few weeks ago I promised you a picture of Mayak, my buddy, who recently died, and to whom my trilogy, Power Rising, is dedicated. Here she is. A gentle reminder: if you haven't read my trilogy yet, go to your favorite online purveyor of books and try out the first one, Power of Three. You might check your library first; I have tried hard to get them into libraries so as to share them widely. If you don't see them there, you can ask your librarian to consider ordering the trilogy. Mayak was very much on my mind when I wrote these three books. The beluga in the first book, Juneau, looked and acted pretty much like Mayak in my mind as I created the story. I always felt conflicted volunteering at the zoo and having the enormous and precious privilege of working and hanging out with her. I wouldn't have exchanged that experience for all the money in the world. Yet no cetacean should have to live in captivity. It was believed at the time that creatures like Mayak had lived in aquariums too long to be released. That's why I tried to find a middle way for Juneau in my book. For the time being, the captives stay where they are, sometimes in very cramped and lonely pools, even where no new cetaceans are being brought in. If only that could have changed for Mauyak, as it did for Juneau in my books.
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