Monday, October 29th, 2012
Please join me in welcoming Elliott Flies to Highlighted Author.
Elliott is a resident of Saint Paul and is an attorney for a Minnesota insurance company. He and his father, Kenneth, wrote Retrieving Isaac & Jason to raise awareness of adoption issues and to encourage others to find their own unique families.
Elliott (known as “the writer”) is actually the human “translator” of the heart-warming story told by a yellow lab named Kai. Her grandfather, Kenneth, (whom she simply calls “Gramps”) also helped out. Ken resides in Eagan with his wife Millie (also known herein as “Granny”).
Proceeds from the sale of Retrieving Isaac and Jason will go to The Sharing Foundation, a non-profit organization which empowers young lives in Southeast Asian orphanages.
Elliott is represented by Lien Public Relations.
Welcome, Elliott. Tell us a little about yourself and your featured book, Retrieving Isaac and Jason.
My new book, Retrieving Isaac and Jason, is the story of two men in a committed relationship who adopt two boys from Southeast Asia. The story is told through the eyes of a clever and funny yellow lab retriever named Kai. I have a legal background and this is my first book. What inspired me to write this book was living through the joys and frustrations of international adoption, being part of an atypical American family and wanting to record the story for my sons. I hope readers relate to the joy I receive from my family.
What they’re saying:
“a deeply personal and very human story of two dads adopting two Asian boys, filtered through the pen – and point-of view – of Kai, the most erudite Labrador Retriever punster to fill a page. Kai writes about her “pack” with unconditional love, lacing her story with joy and wit, as her two dads (whom she calls “the leader” and “the writer”) drop her off with Gramps and Granny in Trout Valley while they travel to Cambodia to “retrieve” their first son, Isaac.
In using a dog’s voice to tell their story, the father-son writing team avoids any tendency toward cuteness. In their hands, it is a clever conceit by which they fully dramatize the need of gay couples to gain recognition as a family without making speeches, waving banners, or occupying any public places.
Readers will fall in love with this non-traditional family, and may find themselves becoming very careful of what they say in front of their pets, especially Labrador Retrievers.”—Sally Childs, the original director of the Jon Hassler Theater and Rural America Writers’ Center
“It is a such a beautiful, heartwarming story…I laughed, I cried, and I didn’t want it to end. There is so much love in this family, and it is told with a perfect mix of education (about the adoption process), humor (by the adorable pup narrator, Kai), and emotion (about the joy of having Isaac & Jason join the family). This story has such great life lessons, and I highly recommend it!”—jrnyc11, Amazon customer
“Put this book on your “must read” list. It is a treat. A story of love, commitment and determination told through the eyes of Kai, a gorgeous and witty labrador retriever. Whether you love children, animals, or just want to laugh and cry, you will not be disappointed. What an amazing bond there is between the members of the “pack”, it really warms the heart.”—Carol M Tempesta (Mamaroneck, NY, US)
“This is a beautiful tale about the desire to build a family. The story, written through the eyes of Kai takes your breath away. You feel like you are on a fantastic treck with the main characters to create a family. For adults and children, a beautiful read.”—Lucy, Amazon customer
Retrieving Isaac and Jason
IN this heartwarming tale, Kai the Minnesota-born yellow Labrador Retriever recounts how she and her two dads adopted her human brothers. With a unique canine voice and perspective, we learn about the arrival of Isaac in 1999 and then Jason in 2002. Relying upon her innate abilities to see things through the eyes of obedience devotion known only to a young yellow lab dog, Kai deliver a gift of love through her words and stories that will make readers laugh and cry as they follow Kai’s amazing journey to create her own pack.
My name is Kai, or so I’m called. Officially, with the American Kennel Association, my full name is Kai (pronounced like “hi”), Waters of the Sea. I really had no choice in the matter, come to think of it. They just showed up one day at the little kennel next to the big white house where I was born, asked a lot of personal questions about my lineage, and peered at me and my siblings like some sort of governmental inspectors. Being the boldest of the brood, I decided to go check them out first. Bounding across the yard, I bumped right into the blonde one before I could really stop. A mere six weeks old, I wasn’t fully up to speed on all of my important functions quite yet. I sniffed them thoroughly determined that they weren’t from around here. They had no fine country odor or farm-fresh scent. I fixed that pretty quickly by peeing in the dark-haired one’s lap.
Despite their big city smell, I decided right then and there to adopt these two wayward souls and form our own new pack, or family as they call it. These dads obviously needed mentoring on the important things in life, such as digging up flowers in the garden, chasing pesky felines, and cuddling up with a fresh rawhide chew next to a roaring fire. My first challenge was finding us a place to live. My mom’s kennel was certainly too crowded, what with my seven brothers and sisters constantly yelping and falling over each other in their collective effort to get fed. Luckily, after a rather long car ride, we found a nice house in the town of Minneapolis. We retrievers are good hunters, as you may know, whether it be for waterfowl or a good place to call home.
I immediately set about re-initiating the house into a proper canine dwelling. I set up several comfortable sleeping places-on the cool basement floor for hot and sultry summer days, in the upstairs bedroom surrounding by mounds of blankets for those chilly winter nights, and in a strategic living room locations where I keep constant watch over the front and back doorways. There was much more speak in this house than I was used to. Quite a bit of territory for a six week old puppy like myself to guard.
I also undertook the Herculean task of training my two dads to let me outside at the right moment before my yet-to-mature bladder let loose on the kitchen floor. These two proved quite trainable. After no too many accidents, they learned to let me outside as soon as I would head toward the back door and whimper. Who says you can’t teach old humans new tricks?
That was several years go no and much has changed. I’ve grown quite a bit, trained my dads well, and live a pretty comfortable life here along the banks of a great river. They call it the Mrs. Ippi, or something like that. I think it’s named after that snooty women with the ugly poodle-schnauzer mix up on the 36th Street.
I decided to record the events of the past few years because they have been so strange. I should have know something was up when my dads began spending long evenings filling out endless forms relating to their finances, health and fitness to raise a child. “Adoption,” they called it, whatever that meant. I’ve learned that adoption is a process by which families of destiny find each other, kind of like when I was adloped by two dads by in 1997. We also visited on a few occasions by some lady they called a “social worker.” She was nice and all, but kind of nosy about some pretty personal details, if you ask me. I guess all of these strange goings-on related in some way to the arrival of a tiny new person to our house (and later, another one). Believe you me, it has really shaken up the normal routines of my life in many ways.
And so I am sharing with you this intimate diary of events leading up to the separate arrivals of two little boys, my brothers. Lord knows my dad has no time to write anymore, what with all that diaper changing and baby rocking. So it is up to me, as usual, to take upon myself another important task. I’ve already cornered the market in our house on chasing squirrels, barking at phantom noises, and chewing the excess paper off of that funny looking roll next to the giant water bowls they call toilets. How much can they expect a dog to do and still get 16 hours of daily sleep.
So please bear with me as I try to recall what has transpired before my own eyes to re-tell the things I did not witness but which were told to me in excruciating detail. All in all, it has been an amazing journey. Aside from a few bumps and bruises from some rather intense stick chasing and ball retrieving that I endured last summer, these were the years that I adopted my third and fourth persons and, as I have come to find out, my best friends. I have done my doggoned darndest to tell a fair and impartial story, but you can expect that my version of these important events might be flavored with a bias towards the more important things in life: a good morning run, two regular feedings per day, and plenty of naps. After all, this really is a dog’s life, and my dads and little brothers are lucky to share in it.
Get your copy today: http://www.retrievingisaacandjason.com/pages/the_book.html
You can find out more at http://www.retrievingisaacandjason.com./!