Source: Sherman Publications

New author pens tale of two puppies

by Phil Custodio

August 14, 2013

When first-time author Martha Swanson of Clarkston decided who her main characters should be, she found inspiration in furry friends Milly and Roxy, frolicking at her feet.

Milly, a 2-year-old Australian shepherd mixed breed, is owned by Swanson's daughter Chloe, a Sashabaw Middle School student. Roxy, a 1-year-old miniature Australian shepherd, is owned by her friend, Tracey Trim.

Milly was a puppy when Trim adopted Roxy, and the two pups became best friends.

"They hang out together, so I thought maybe it could be about Milly and Roxy," Swanson said. "I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book. I wanted a family connection, and I thought it would be neat to set the book in downtown Clarkston.”

The dogs’ adventures in the book "Milly and Roxy," are based on the real deal, especially personality wise.

"Milly is the more rambunctious of the two, and Roxy follows along," Swanson said.

The literary pups sit in front of the Woodshop as their owners lunch on barbecue, and enjoy visits to Depot Park to play with the ducks and enjoy Art in the Park, just as they do in real life.

On the page, however, Milly gets to skate on rollerblades, to the disapproval of her friend Roxy; go down a slide, even though Roxy doesn’t think that’s such a good idea; and paint a portrait of her puppy friend – all whimsically illustrated by Meagan Lipke, an art teacher at Sashabaw Middle School.

"I love it," said Trim, who has helped with the writing process.

"She was a big part of editing," Swanson said.

The book is set to print on Aug. 19. The author, along with illustrator Lipke, are planning to be at Taste of Clarkston, Sept. 15, and Art in the Village, Sept. 21-22.

Original art featuring Milly and Roxy will be for sale at the art show, and children will also have the opportunity to meet the author and dogs, and color with the illustrator.

Future volumes of “Milly and Roxy” may include summer and winter adventures in Michigan, the author said.