Sue and Matt Baker had no idea how much their lives were about to change the June morning they found an abandoned black kitten behind their Claypool home.
The kitten was given the name Scooter, and the Bakers quickly adopted her as their own. The couple was originally supposed to take a trip that month in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary, but they pushed their plans back to September in order to take turns bottle-feeding and litter box training Scooter.
Through the mothering process, a unique bond was forged between the couple and the kitten. As Sue said, “We had other cats, but it was different with Scooter because of the whole mothering process.”
Several years later, Matt approached Sue with the idea of a children’s book series featuring Scooter. Sue liked the idea and typed up what would be the first book in the series: “Scooter, The Little Black Kitty with the White Spot,” and began the search for a publisher.
The book was picked up by Tate Publishing. Everything was going well with the first book in stores and the second, “Scooter’s New Home,” in the works, when Scooter died unexpectedly at the age of 5. Sue not only lost the inspiration for her writing, but also a beloved member of her family, and said, “I thought about quitting the series all together.”
After taking some time off from writing, Baker eventually decided to give it another shot. Though emotionally taxing at first, she was able to regain her momentum and finish the second book. It was between books two and three when a larger audience developed. Baker began to receive requests to read her books at elementary schools with Matt, who would dress up in a custom Scooter costume and act out the stories.
It was also during this period that the idea for Scooter memorabilia was hatched. Scooter stuffed animals, shirts and towels were developed, and are currently for sale online. It was also between books two and three that the Bakers decided to apply for a trademark on the wording “Scooter: The Little Black Kitty with the White Spot.”
Unfortunately, what they wanted too closely resembled another trademark, and though they were permitted to use the phrasing on t-shirts, their trademark request was denied and they were faced with another large road block. The solution came when Matt designed a new logo for the merchandise and re-named the line “Scooter’s World.”
Book three, “Scooter’s Big Surprise,” is now finished and will be for sale at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon beginning in November. Baker explains that even though Scooter was not alive for the development of book three, the events portrayed are based on real events, including the swallowed shoe string depicted on the cover.
For those in the area on Friday, Dec. 5, Baker will be reading her new book and signing copies at Next Chapter Book Store, located at 116 S. Buffalo St., in downtown Warsaw.