Whanganui writer Wendy Ward is about to launch her new children's book Tiger and the Talking Pond.
The story, she says, is inspired by a tabby kitten she met while living on a King Country lifestyle block.
"It is a story I told my grandchildren and since I have moved back to Whanganui and retired, I have been inspired to publish my work."
Ward first saw Tiger as a stray kitten living with his mother and siblings under a Taumarunui church.
With help from volunteers, she fed and tamed the felines and found homes for all but Tiger who went home with her to become a "barn cat".
"He became friends with the bottle-fed lambs and would lick their faces for milk.
"The mother hens and ducks would peck him if he stalked their babies so he learned to get along with them as well."
Another character in the book is Tilly, a black "house cat" who has moved back to Whanganui with Wendy, her husband Dick, Smokey the cat and retired working dogs Nell and Chloe.
Tiger now has a new home but Ward doesn't want to say too much about that because it will give the story ending away.
Encouraged by her Whanganui writers' group, Ward set about making the story into a book with help from designer and publisher Jenn Falconer and Marion Rainforth was recruited as the illustrator.
"I applied to Creative NZ for funding but they get so many applications and when that was unsuccessful, I decided to go ahead and publish it myself."
H & A Print offered a good price and Ward says she is delighted that the publication of her book has been an entirely Whanganui effort.
With her working life as a clinical psychologist and SPCA inspector behind her, Ward says she would like to turn more of her stories into children's books.
"I didn't set out to impart life lessons in this story but it does include subtle and humorous messages about second chances, showing kindness and the understanding that everyone makes mistakes."
Ward says the book is probably best suited to children in the 7 to 10 age range although she hopes younger children will enjoy having it read to them as well.
Tiger and the Talking Pond will be launched at Springvale Playcentre, 39 Fox Rd, Whanganui at 2pm on Sunday, December 9.
There will be refreshments and the chance to meet some SPCA kittens.