New Author, Artist Share Their Work



Joy Dutton and Gayle Lacau-Benz have just had their first book published by Writers Club Press and iUniverse.

The book, Pretty White Kitty & Sherzo, is a book about a special cat for all cat lovers, Dutton said. It is also a true story of the many adventures of a white, blue-eyed, declawed and deaf cat and her human.

Dutton said the cat lives above her limitations, making her story upbeat and inspirational to anyone with physical challenges.

Illustrated by Lacau-Benz, a copy of the book was donated to the Payson Public Library June 14. The two Payson women will sign copies of the book at the library at 10 a.m. Friday, June 21.

The book took three years for the cat to write and Dutton to type, and about six months for Lacau-Benz to illustrate.

The cat came to live with Dutton at the tender age of seven weeks. They made their home in Deming, N.M, for awhile, then lived in Holbrook where Dutton taught Native American children in a boarding school. Three years ago, the team moved to Payson.

Lacau-Benz is an 18-year resident of Payson, coming here from San Francisco. Friends of hers were retiring and moving here and wanted her to join them. She is a hairstylist with First Class Hair and Nails, but also has worked as a model and studied art all her life. One of her teachers was the late Hugo DiZinno, she said.

In addition to teaching in a Holbrook boarding school, Dutton has taught piano and other musical instruments for many years.

It was through music that she met Lacau-Benz. Dutton plays piano for her church and Lacau-Benz was in the choir.

One day, Lacau-Benz had a problem and Dutton sat down to comfort her and in the course of their conversation, Dutton shared a problem she had. She could not find an artist to illustrate her book so she could get it published.

She did not know Lacau-Benz was an artist. Lacau-Benz did not know Dutton was a writer.

They joined forces that very evening, with Lacau-Benz going to Dutton's home and sketching her cat.

It was exactly what Dutton wanted for the book, so that weekend Lacau-Benz returned with her camera and took photos of the cat to begin her drawings.

They took the book to just one publisher iUniverse, which had been advertised in the Payson Roundup last fall. The business is "publish on demand" the company only publishes the book when it is ordered and paid for.

Pretty White Kitty is Dutton's first book and Lacau-Benz' first illustration job. Dutton said it is not her last effort in publishing. She is semi-retired, continuing to teach piano, and now she writes as well.

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