Meet El Dorado Hills’ royal family
Book: “Princess Josie”
Author: Lisa Paragary Engelken
Illustrator: Karen Tarlton
Publisher: 3L Publishing, November 2013, hardcover, 24 pages
Josie is a small dog with a great sense of importance. In El Dorado Hills resident Lisa Paragary Engelken’s first children’s book, “Princess Josie,” Josie’s busy days are shared with the reader through the dog’s unique perspective as interpreted by Engelken.
Gorgeous, palette knife oil paintings by Karen Tarlton illustrate the story.
Engleken’s real-life 6-year-old Maltese poodle mix, Josie, is the heroine of the children’s book.
“I think she thinks that she’s in charge and we are her minions,” said Engelken.
In the book, Princess Josie lives in a castle with the king, queen and two princes, entertains her family by dancing and protects the princes while they sleep by curling up on a bed in their room.
Pete Engelken, Lisa’s husband, commissioned a painting of Josie from artist Karen Tarlton for Mother’s Day.
“I looked at that painting in my kitchen every day for six months, thinking how it would make a great illustration for a children’s book,” said Lisa. One day, she contacted Tarlton, who lives in Arlington, Va., and asked if she had ever considered illustrating a children’s book.
“She said she had always wanted to do a children’s book but she didn’t have a story line,” said Engelken. “I had an idea for the story, so we collaborated and it was a lot of fun. Both of us were able to do something we had always wanted to do.”
All of the illustrations in the book are from 12-by-12 inch palette knife oil paintings tailored to what Engelken was writing.
“I would call or e-mail her and tell her that I wanted a picture of Josie chasing a cat and I would get the picture of it in the e-mail, sometimes only two hours later, and it would be this incredible painting of exactly what I was thinking,” said Engelken.
She said Tarlton didn’t even see the book during the process and her first experience of it was when she received a printed and bound copy in the mail.
Another fortuitous partnership occured when Engelken bumped into Michelle Risely, owner of 3L Publishing, at a women’s convention.
The two had gone to high school together and when Risely said she was in the book publishing business, Engelken told her about the book she was writing.
A third partnership that Engelken credits with helping her write is her book coach, Scott Roberts.
“I didn’t need much help with ‘Princess Josie’ but with the young adult book I’m writing, I found that I know where I want the book to go and I’m very linear. Scott helps me with sub plots and adding more complexity,” said Engelken. “Writing a novel is a lot of work.”
Engelken, 47, is the daughter of restauranteur Randy Paragary, and has lived in El Dorado County for 17 years. In addition to writing, she is a full-time real estate agent and the mother of two sons.
“I always have some kind of project going on,” she said.
Her sons, Matt and Jake, didn’t think anyone would want to read a book about their dog, but Engelken told them to wait and see.
“Every person you meet who lives with an animal they love has the same story,” Engelken said.
Engelken will be signing her book at Face in A Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills, on Saturday, Feb. 8. at 11 a.m.
“Princess Josie” will be available for purchase for $18.95 or as a Toy Pack which includes a plush Josie puppy, the book and a red dog bowl with “Josie” printed on it.
“These have been very popular,” said Engelken, “and for Valentine’s Day, we’ll include conversation hearts and decorate the pack with Valentine decorations.”
The book and the Toy Pack can also be purchased from princessjosie.com or from 3LPublishing.com. The book, by itself, can be purchased on Amazon.com.