We are so yappy you are here! Welcome to

Olly and Lucille's


in Carmel-by-the-Sea

About The Book…


Why write a story book about Carmel-by-the-Sea?

Our village brings families and pets so much comfort, joy and inspiration. Although this is a wonderful place for adults to enjoy, I wanted to highlight the village through a child’s imagination. As we stroll along the serene stretch of beach and up through town and visit the small businesses, we are always grateful for the outpouring of love given to our dogs. From treats and full water bowls, to hugs and pets from everyone. There are also so many places that hold special memories for me, both as a child growing up here and raising my own twins here, that I would like to introduce to others.

Why make actual pets the characters of the story?

When I began writing this book, I planned to create my own characters. I had a million ideas but then it dawned on me that the inspiration for this story was my own dogs. I felt that if I was going to use my own pets as the main characters that it would be even more special to use other people’s as well. Getting to know the pets and their humans, seeing the love and adoration they have for each other, sent my imagination soaring. Once all of the characters were cast, the storyline and illustrations began to take on a life of their own. I can’t put into words how special this project has been to me. When I run into one of the characters in town or at the beach, it gives me so much joy. They feel like a part of my family now, and for that I will always be grateful.

How were the characters chosen?

Some of the pets are in our family…Ruby, Ryder and Penny are my grand dogs and Levi is my mother’s service dog. Some were chosen because I know and love them…Kaya and Addie live across the street from us and are just the sweetest gals you will ever meet, and Cargo is just a dreamboat and I fell in love with him instantly. Some were generously sponsored, which helped cover the printing costs, like Dido, Hamilton, Blue, Brick, Pippin, Daisy and Koko. A few are actually the pets that belong to the shop owners…Norman, Tristan, Benny and Bunny and Lilly all live nearby and are often seen at the shops with their humans. The only made-up character is Waffles the Hamster. I happened to think the name was adorable and felt Olly and Lucille should have a pet of their own.

Why include non-profits in the book?

Non-profits are the heart and soul of every community. They ease burdens, bring people together, and change lives for the better. They bring out the very best in human beings, and they shine a spotlight on how important it is to work together and help out where and when you can. Highlighting a few local non-profits and donating a portion of proceeds of the sales of this book to them, was something I would not compromise on.

Why include activity pages?

When my twins were young, we received a book that had an activity page with questions they filled out about themselves. I copied the pages, laminated them and I still have them. Over the years they have brought our family so much joy and lots of laughter. One question asked “Where is your least favorite place to visit?” and my daughter wrote, “the curtain store with Grandma!”. I wanted to give readers the opportunity to capture that same precious memory and snapshot in time. They are also a wonderful activity to work on together or share with others. There are three very different pages, because I had loads of ideas and there was simply no way there could be any less. These are also available to print or download on our website. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Who created the artwork throughout the book?

Carmel-by-the-Sea is an artist’s haven, so I knew I wanted it to be woven throughout the story. I have loved Delia Bradford’s work for years and I envisioned the book with her in mind. I was not sure what direction I would go if she declined to participate. Luckily for me she came on board and was so generous in contributing three of her images to the book. The inside covers are a collaboration we thought might be fun for a children’s book featuring dogs. We combined her painting of Carmel Beach with illustrated characters from the story and an endearing quote. If you look closely, you may even spot her rabbits in there. Once we added this to the book, it completely elevated the look and feel and captured the unique charm of dogs frolicking on Carmel Beach.

The story’s end page of the dog portraits in vibrant colors was created by Kiersten Hawbawker. We met through a mutual friend, and I liked the fact that was she expecting her first child, is a relatively new artist and super excited about the project. I asked her to create the pets in vivid colors and let her creativity guide her.

Paws and Prints joined in to photograph different pets and places and help me bring their images to life.

How were the locations chosen?

Once I created the plot as an adventure throughout the village, I began selecting my favorite places in town that would enhance the story line. Thinker Toys and Pilgrims Way were my first choices, since they are the only toy store and bookstore in town. Locally owned restaurants add so much to the Carmel experience, so I chose two that
are super dog friendly with friendly owners as well. We have both police and firefighters in our family, so incorporating them into the story was also a must. I also chose a few places I felt would visually enhance the story, like Hofsas House with their bright pink exterior and swimming pool. The shell mural and dog drinking fountain are special little extras that help to make our village unique. The houses featured in the story are actual homes of people I know, located close to the beach. I added layers of details to the illustrations, so you may spot something new every time you read it. Some details, such as the dog sitting in the doghouse in front of Bruno’s Market, have special significance to the owners and locals alike. When you look at the pages, you are transported to that exact spot. I wanted to have a happy and exciting ending, so a sold- out show with the whole town attending seemed like the perfect fit. Sunset Center was kind enough to come on as a sponsor and everything began to fall into place. The places the pets visited are all local cherished landmarks, so I felt I had a responsibility to portray them as beautifully and accurately as possible, but also with a sense of whimsy and joy.

We do have some famous people that have made this their home, so you may spot a few fun spins on their names in the book.

The best part is you can visit every one of these places and enjoy a meal, grab a book, play with toys, attend a show, pet a dog or watch a sunset.

We hope you enjoyed learning about our adventure.

Stay tuned for more surprises!

– Olly, Lucille and Kirsten

Sharing our love of pets, reading and Carmel-by-the-Sea with you.

Written by local author
Kirsten Tarman