SIDNEY — Katrina Kittle, of Dayton, writes about what she cares about: social issues.
That’s what she told attendees at the Sidney Shakespeare Club’s Christmas luncheon, Friday, in the new Community Room of the Amos Memorial Public Library.
The luncheon, which drew a crowd of about 65, was open to the public, with special invitation given to local book clubs.
After a light lunch with dessert, provided by The Spot, Kittle was introduced by Starlett Clement of the Shakespeare Club.
The topic of Kittle’s talk revolved around her book, “The Blessings of the Animals.” Her goal of the presentation, she said, was to give the “story behind the story,” and examine the evolution of the book, with bits of information about her life as she was writing it.
“Every one of my books starts with some social issue that I care about,” Kittle said. “I’ve written about AIDS … about addiction … about child abuse. Marriage isn’t as edgy as those, but it is a social issue and it actually impacts more people than those other subjects.”
The author, who was born in Illinois, has lived in the Dayton area for most of her life. She graduated from Ohio University, where she earned two degress, one in English and one in education.
“Animals have always played a huge part in my life and in my books,” she said. “In every single one of my novels, there’s at least one important non-human character. I knew I wanted to tell a story about some kind of motley crue of rescue animals that ends up rescuing a human character.”
Kittle then began a discussion about marriage, which is another big theme in the book.
“It’s really important to me that it was not an attack on marriage, nor was it a defense of marriage. It was just sort of an examination of marriage in our culture right now,” she said.
Once she realized marriage would be a defining theme in the book, she was able to begin the process of creating and building the characters. She went into further analysis of the characters as individuals and detailed the circumstantial intricacies that make each one unique.
Kittle reflected on experiences that were occurring in her own life throughout the time the she was writing the book and how these issues affected her and, ultimately, her writing process.
Kittle also displayed a slideshow of photos, which included multiple pictures of animals she had come across in her life. She described the quirky personalities of each and matched them to the corresponding animals of her book.
“All those animals have real sources,” she said. “I never write about people from real life, but most of the animals are taken from real life.”
Also in attendance, and in harmony with the book’s subject matter, was Julie Ehemann, Shelby County Commissioner and vice president of the Shelby County Animal Rescue Foundation.
Prior to Kittle’s introduction, Ehemann gave a brief overview of SCARF, which was formed five years ago in an attempt to assist the Shelby County Animal Shelter in keeping animals healthy and ready for adoption.
“Anything that the shelter tells us they need, we try to be there to help them do that,” Ehemann said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825