Barber Dowagiac publishes his first children’s book
Published at 06:00 on Saturday August 13, 2022
DOWAGIAC — What becomes of a deferred dream?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or does it fester like a sore and then drain?
Lennie Slack’s dream of being a published author may have been postponed for 25 years, but unlike Langston Hughes’ poem, he was able to turn that dream into fine wine.
Lenny Slack, under his pseudonym LR Slack, recently published his first book “Cats of Katlyn: The Tale of Tailey” with Friesen Press. The book is available for purchase online through Friesen Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booktopia and Walmart. Autographed copies can be purchased in person at Bakeman Barbers, 101 S. Front St, where Slack has worked for nearly 40 years.
The fantasy story centers on Tailey, a cat who is transported to her homeworld of Katlyn and attempts to return to Earth to rescue her friend Megan from her homeworld’s evil forces. The book is the first of three planned for the Cats of Katlyn series.
The dream of writing books was instilled in Slack during his elementary school years.
“I remember I was reading a story about Daniel Boone and I thought I would really like to write a book,” he said. “Later, that desire just started to grow.”
Author LR Slack found a love for fantasy stories while serving in the Navy and earned a certificate from the Institute of Children’s Literature, as well as a certificate and associate’s degree in drawing and design computer assisted.
“I love science fiction and fantasy,” he said. “When I was in the service, I had a lot of time to read. I read a lot of fantasy fiction and fell in love with this idea. That’s why I got into it.
Slack wrote his first sketch of Cats of Katlyn in 1997. The concept served as a bridge between his love of cats and dogs and his love of children’s literature.
“I really wanted to do a story about cats and dogs,” he said. “A cats and dogs story that was different from what you would typically see in a cats and dogs story. I dug into it and started using a little association word and made it happen.
That year, Slack sent a final copy of the book to publications and received rejection letters. He put the project aside and focused on raising his family. Even so, he never lost the urge to write.
“I put it on the shelf for 25 years,” he said. “I finally pulled it off the shelf and, as a New Year’s resolution, decided I was going to write it down and relaunch it.”
After sending out a revised edition, Cats of Katlyn was picked up by Friesen Press. When Slack held the first copy of his published work in his hands, he was overwhelmed with emotion.
It centered me,” he said. “I always thought it would happen, but it did. It was really an overtake there for a minute.
Slack thanked his friends and family for the years of encouragement and support and acknowledged that many close people are an inspiration.
“I use my life to associate myself with it,” he said. “My family, the people I used to work with are represented in there. This is where you get your job. It comes from you, from your life, you know?
As his dream took a detour, Slack is grateful for the 25 years of experience that shaped his book into what it is today.
“I just encourage anyone who wants to write, to write,” he said. “Do what you want to do because if you hold back, you’ll be an old man waiting to do it. It’s hard to do that when you’re raising a family and trying to get things done and finally getting to where you want to be, but writing is just a really wholesome experience.