The Alabama Adventures of Walter & Wimbly

By on 1 November, 2012 in Erika Tracy, Fun, Shopping with 0 Comments

Our community is overflowing with fine talent that expands well beyond the county lines, and most often the state. One such gal is freelance writer and new children’s book author Jennifer Kornegay.

You’ve likely seen her name atop the page of articles in many of our local publications — and regularly in Southern Living magazine. Yes, she’s the writer that traveled the region tasting locally brewed beer. What a sacrifice artists do make! If you’re a food lover like Kornegay, you most definitely should be following her blog adventure of turning a community shared agriculture share into scrumptious meals (and more). Recipes and practical advice aside, you’re bound to have a chuckle or two along the way. Check it out at http://blog.al.com/eat-up/index.html.

Regardless of the subject matter, Kornegay’s voice sings out in all her work. A boppy rhythm, much like her up-beat personality, carries her prose and gives each piece a friendly feel. Her words are entertaining and a joy to read indeed. So what better fit for her next project than a book for young readers?

The Alabama Adventures of Walter & Wimbly tells the story of two neighbor cats that travel the state to find one another after Walter moves away to Fairhope with his family. Indeed, Walter and Wimbly were real cats and neighbors and the best of friends.

“They were very good friends,” said Kornegay “which is unusual for cats. They’d curl up and sleep together, eat food out of one another’s bowl and even were invited inside at one another’s homes to visit and play.”

Kornegay’s affection for her cat, Wimbly, (and Walter too of course) got her wondering if the two marmalade cats missed each other. The idea for a book first came when Kornegay wondered if the two cats would ever bother to try and find one another. Kornegay credits her husband with planting the seed for the adventure side of the book. Madeline Stewart, Kornegay’s mother, created all the color pencil artwork.

Traveling from Montgomery to Fairhope is a straight shot down Interstate 65 for those of us in cars. So why not the cats? Kornegay’s book includes stops on each cat’s journey (Wimbly heads south and Walter heads north) to explore Alabama landmarks and towns.

“There are so many towns along this route that have significance to people who live in Alabama. It’s as much to me about the places as it is about the cats” said Kornegay.

Kornegay did say Monroeville was the first location that jumped off the map at her. “From a literary perspective there is the To Kill A Mockingbird connection and the courthouse is beautiful.” However, Kornegay’s favorite stop isn’t too much a surprise if you’ve spent much time getting to know her. “Greenville’s Bates House of Turkey!” she says. “Much like Wimbly, I’m motivated by good food,” said Kornegay.

Although Kornegay has been penning non-fiction articles for various publications for almost a decade, her first attempt at fiction was a little different. Despite a “knack for storytelling” in her non-fiction work, Kornegay admits that it was a challenge to communicate in fewer words and harder than she ever thought it would be. “The first draft was very long,” said Kornegay. “I had to bring the reading level down through vocabulary.” However, Kornegay said she didn’t want the level so low that it didn’t encourage questions. “I think it’s okay for young readers to ask the meaning of words. If they’re interested in the book, even if there are things they don’t get, it helps move them forward to the next reading level.”

“My 4-year-old niece’s enthusiasm helped encourage me to move forward,” said Kornegay. We had shown her the story and pictures and she kept asking about it. You’ll see a nod to Miss Ellison during Walter’s adventure in Mobile Bay.”

Walter and Wimbly may continue to explore the state together if all goes well. Kornegay’s feedback so far includes critics of all ages. “One three-year-old did comment ‘I liked it. It was too long.’” said Kornegay. “And an adult asked if I’d be doing one about dogs.” One new reader opened the book and answered the question “How many friends do you have? Two, five, ten?” with a mumble of “I have 100!.” “Kids have asked ‘Where do they go next? What happens?’ I tell them, whether or not you ever find that out depends entirely on how many of these books you can sell to your friends.”

You may have seen Kornegay promoting her book around town in the past month and there’s more to come. On Wednesday, Nov. 7 join Kornegay at hue studio inc in Cloverdale at 1:30 p.m. for a reading of the book and afternoon snacks. The author will also be in the store signing copies from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Copies of The Alabama Adventures of Walter & Wimbly can be purchased locally at hue studio inc., Capitol Book & News and Goat Hill Museum store. The book is also available for purchase online through the website (www.walterandwimbly.com) and several other locations statewide. Visit the Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TheAlabamaAdventuresOfWalterWimbly) for updates on new adventures.

Erika Tracy is a proud resident of Cloverdale, graphic designer and photographer. A life-long resident of the capital city, she is honored to share her hometown with wonderful friends and many creative minds. See her work at www.erikatracy.com.

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