Fifteen years ago, the plot for a children’s book came to Encinitas resident Jill Kramer one night in a dream.
“It was one of the strangest things that’s ever happened to me,” said Kramer, who was the editorial director of a Carlsbad publishing company when she had the dream for the book. “I thought I’d forget about it within minutes, and it stayed in my head all day. It happened to be July 4, I remember. I wrote the whole book that day.”
That book, “The Adventures of Inner-City Kitty,” recently became a reality. (An event to celebrate her book launch was held Sept. 17 at the Rancho Santa Fe home of Vicki and Art Perry. See photos from the event above.)
“I don’t know why it took 15 or 16 years for it to happen, but everything has its season and its reason,” Kramer said.
She initially shopped the book around to no avail.
“I had tons of connections in the industry, even though I wasn’t a children’s book editor,” Kramer said. “I sent it out thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll have no problem getting this published. But I kept getting no, no, no for various reasons. ‘We have too many cat books, or this or that, make it longer, make it shorter, do this, do that.’ I just sort of gave up after a while.”
She resumed her attempts a few different times over the following years. One promising opportunity fell through because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a potential publisher telling her the company wouldn’t be taking on new projects for a while.
“I said, ‘OK, forget it,'” she said.
Then came another lead.
A friend and literary agent, Bill Gladstone, said he would publish the book through his Waterside Productions company.
The 30-page book is about a couple that adopts three children — Miguel, 7, Erin, 6, and Carly, 5 — who want to adopt a pet, and end up bringing home a calico tabby named Kitty. Some of the topics and themes in “The Adventures of Inner-City Kitty” include adoption, tolerance, multicultural issues and acceptance, and a love of cats.
“It was longer than the traditional children’s book,” Kramer said. “I kept being told it shouldn’t be more than 900 words. That didn’t work for me. I did have one version that was 900 words, but I wanted to do it my way.”
She added, “I know books, I’ve edited probably 2,000 books and I know a good book when I read it, even when it’s mine.”
After growing up in Philadelphia, Kramer graduated from Boston University with a bachelor of science degree in TV and film, with a minor in English, at age 20, according to her website. Her career took her from Boston to San Diego, where she worked as a textbook editor for a major publisher. Then she moved to LA, before ending up in Encinitas.
“I had no interest or thought or inclination to ever write a children’s book, but I did have three adopted godchildren, so I’m sure that was in my consciousness when one morning I woke up and the entire plot and characters of a children’s book was in my head,” Kramer said. “It was one of the strangest things that’s ever happened to me.”
The first book she authored in 1996, “Love Dat Cat,” gives cat lovers “165 wonderful things you can do for your cat.”
“The Adventures of Inner-City Kitty” is available on Amazon.