One year ago, Cindy and Tim Romero published their first children’s book, “Skip Thomas Gets Adopted.”
This weekend, they will celebrate the publication of the sequel, “Skip Thomas’ First Halloween.”
Both books are based on true stories from the life of a rescue dog named Skip Thomas. He was part of a litter that was supposed to be purebred Labradors. The original buyer backed out when it became clear the puppies were Australian Shepherd-Labrador mixes, leaving the breeder to find the puppies new homes.
As lifelong dog lovers, Cindy and Tim didn’t hesitate to adopt one of the puppies. The puppy they chose became Skip Thomas, who turned out to be an extraordinary dog.
While the first book tells the story of how Skip Thomas got adopted, the second book is the story of his first Halloween.
“All of our stories are true stories,” said Cindy. “He really did dress as a pumpkin and go trick-or-treating. And at the end of the road, I don’t want to spoil it, but something happens. They’re all true stories.”
Cindy has many more stories about Skip Thomas. She started writing them down while he was alive. After he passed away at age seven, Cindy started sending her manuscripts to publishers.
In 2018, Surrogate Press of Park City offered to publish the first book.
“It was worth the wait,” Cindy told the Transcript last year. “I think all good things come in due time.”
This year, she reflected on all the things she and Tim have learned since publishing their first book.
“It’s a very big learning experience,” she said. “It’s a whole lot of work, but in the end it’s very rewarding.”
Over the past year, the Romeros have spent countless hours putting together their second book and marketing their first.
“I think it took from last October to now, about a year, to do the whole (second) book because of revisions and the drawings,” Cindy said. “Plus, … every weekend in the summer we’ve been going to farmer’s markets selling our first book. With our full-time jobs it’s been a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding.”
She joked, “Our friends have stopped calling us because we can’t do anything with anyone anymore.”
Despite the amount of work it takes to write, illustrate, and market each book, Cindy and Tim do it gladly. To them, creating Skip Thomas books is a labor of love.
“Every day we’re on cloud nine,” Tim said. “It makes you excited to go to work, but doubly excited to come home. … You get to think of your doggy and your life and my wife.”
He added, “If it wasn’t for her (Cindy), I wouldn’t be doing this. I do artwork all the time, but it stays in the basement. I have a lot of pictures that are framed down there, but I was really not known to a whole lot of people (before we got published). With what she’s done with this book, it’s brought my artwork out everywhere.”
One of the Romeros’ favorite things about being published authors is watching people enjoy their books.
“That’s probably the best part of this book, is meeting the people,” Tim said. “So many people love animals and they love what we’re doing.”
“A lot of people buy (the book) for their children,” Cindy added. “Others buy it for their dog. They love that we promote animal rescues and charities and donate part of our proceeds to them.”
Publishing a second book is quite an accomplishment. As many as a million new books are published in the U.S. every year, each of which sells less than 250 copies on average, according to Forbes Magazine.
Combined with the thousands of manuscripts submitted to publishers every year, it’s easy to see why publishers are so selective about which books they publish. It also explains the surprised reactions the Romeros sometimes got after sharing the news about Skip Thomas’ First Halloween.
“The funny thing about having a second book is people never thought we’d have more than one,” Tim said. “I think they thought we were a one-hit wonder.”
Although some people were surprised by the second book, others never doubted it would happen.
“At my work after the first book came out, people were already asking me, ‘When will we get the next book?’” Cindy said. “I told them, ‘It’s going to take a year but it’s coming,’ and every couple of weeks people would ask, ‘How’s it coming along?’ and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re really following us!’”
While Cindy and Tim are proud of their second book, they’re already looking forward to starting book three.
“We hope to be doing even more than this because we have a lot more stories to tell,” Cindy said.
“And draw,” Tim added.
Cindy and Tim love making books together.
“Today I showed a lady at work the book. She looked at it and said, ‘You guys are a match made in heaven. You’re the perfect couple,’” Tim said. “We met when we were 40 and I think it was meant to be. We were both out there dreaming every day, but our dreams didn’t come true until we met.”
“We couldn’t do it without each other — we’re a team,” Cindy said. “Even though I grew up in New Jersey and he grew up here, our backgrounds are so very similar. We really are soul mates — I believe that.”
Finding a publisher for Skip Thomas wasn’t easy. Cindy submitted her manuscripts to various publishers repeatedly for about five years before they found Surrogate Press.
Now the series is finally gathering steam.
“I’ve been getting orders (for books) online,” Cindy said. “It’s growing. This is what we want to do for our retirement because it’s fun; it’s what we like to do. We’ve been given the talent to do this and work together. I can’t wait until we’re retired so we can do this full time.”
The Romeros will hold a book launch party for their new book on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at 30 Plaza in Stansbury Park. Everyone is invited — especially animal lovers.
The party will include a raffle with prizes, refreshments, and live music by Rob Harrington, a rock guitarist and band leader from Salt Lake City.
Cindy and Tim will have copies of both of their books available for sale. The Stansbury couple donates part of the proceeds from every book sale to an animal charity in need.
However, buying a book is not required for people to enjoy the party.
“We just want to invite everybody to come to the book launch and come say hello, even if they don’t want to buy a book,” Cindy said.
More information about the Skip Thomas books is available on www.skipthomasadventures.com.