NICHOLASVILLE — Anne Carmichael found her calling somewhere in the wilds of Facebook.
An administrative assistant at Taylor Made Farm in Jessamine County and animal lover, Carmichael saw a piece on Facebook about a blind cat in Philadelphia. His name was Magoo Who?, after the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, who was noted for his poor vision.
Among the blessings of the Internet has been the rise of the celebrity animal: Doge, the skeptical Shiba Inu meme dog, and the felines Grumpy Cat, adorned with a permanent look of outrage, and Lil Bub, who through a series of medical maladies looks like a wide-eyed, toothless, open-mouthed perpetual kitten — in cat terms, irresistible.
And then there's Magoo Who?, a blind cat who was close to be euthanized when he was adopted by a New Jersey couple, Colleen Kelly Angstadt and her husband Scott.
Now Magoo Who? loves to play with people, although he doesn't care for the couple's five other cats. Magoo's favorite toy at the moment is a box which he can both sit in and on as well as bite.
"He's beautiful with us," said Colleen Kelly Angstadt. "He's very loving, very affectionate."
Magoo Who?'s Facebook page leads to a Zazzle store where fans can buy themed goods, and the proceeds benefit various causes that support what Angstadt called "specially abled" animals; she doesn't like the term "special needs."
Magoo needed but one thing — a writer to guide him through a four-book series of fictional adventures in which he has a kitty wife, deaf and psychic kitty sister-in-law, triplet kittens who excel at trouble making and danger seeking, and infernally evil enemies who can be subdued in about 100 pages of paperback wrangling.
This is where Carmichael saw her niche.
She produced her first book, Magoo Who? Life Through My Eyes, in late 2013. That was followed by May I Be Frank? and now Silent Vigil.
As the story goes, by the time of the events in Silent Vigil, Magoo's family has lost track of him and his brother, Frank. Sisters Olivia and Abigail are raising Magoo's three sons — Booker, Deuce and Finley.
A fourth book to conclude the series is scheduled for release on Nov. 28.
Carmichael, 63, started writing poems in 2000 for her grandchildren, in part detailing their antics, such as a granddaughter wrapping chewed gum around her head. She also wrote about her son, who started drumming as a child on her Tupperware and tin cans and is now a professional drummer.
A graduate of Henry Clay High School who attended the University of Kentucky, Carmichael worked at Lexmark before coming to Taylor Made nine years ago, when went through a divorce after 25 years of marriage that left her emotionally at sea, she said.
"I had gone from Mom and Daddy taking care of me to my husband taking care of me to — boom! — taking care of myself," Carmichael said.
Writing helped plug the gap, she said.
When the cat's handlers contracted with her to be Magoo's exclusive author, though, it sent Carmichael into a panic. She didn't know how Magoo had survived his initial time on the streets.
But she invented characters such as Magoo's great feline love, his brother Frank, the cat brawlers on the Philadelphia streets, and the Cat mafia with which Magoo's brother Frank becomes involved in New York. She even invented a birth story for Magoo involving a box behind the famed Italian Market in Philadelphia.
Carmichael herself has two cats and two dogs. One dog is an old English sheepdog who weighs 120 pounds and can when "standing" rest its paws on her shoulders at look down at her.
One of her cats is a rescue from the horse farm. While the farm makes a point of spaying and neutering all cats the veterinarians catch sight of, one slipped through the cracks and had a litter of kittens.
One of the kittens was both cute and reckless: "Every time I came back she was into something she shouldn't be." Once she saw the kitten was licking a gas can, another time getting into the stall of a yearling colt.
Carmichael took her home and kept her, naming her Ruthie Belle — Ruthie after Carmichael's mother, Belle after the filly Eight Belles, who finished second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, then collapsed and had to be euthanized.
"I look at the whole book thing as being God's way of saying, 'You're reaching retirement and you can write. I'm going to make it work for you.'"
Carmichael says the Magoo series has fans from 8 to 80 years old, and she plans to continue writing. First will be a novel based on her experience as an adoptee. Second, she has had two offers to write books similar to the Magoo series — this time, featuring dogs.