Kendall began writing the first of the "Reigning" books earlier this year and plans to write a finale after the election is over on Nov. 4.
"I just had a feeling that this election was going to be a lot of fun and I thought, 'I want to do a book and bring dogs and cats into it, like Dilbert where he has Catbert and Dogbert," Kendall said. "I thought, 'What if America was run by cats and dogs?'"
Laughter ensues. Kendall has clever character names that are eerily similar to some prominent candidates, like "Jowls McCanine," and "Barkat Y. O'Mama." He also takes on Bill and Hillary Clinton, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. The newest books were written before the vice presidential candidates were named, so look for them to be character-ized in the finale. Kendall said he's already thinking of making Sarah Palin an arctic cat.
It doesn't matter which side of the aisle you lean because Kendall is an equal opportunity offender. Of course, it's all for the sake of humor. In the "Reigning" books, the political figures are separated by party as cats and dogs who want to rule the country and the book takes the reader along on the campaign trail.
"America takes its elections pretty seriously and it's fun to poke fun at them, bring them down to size a little bit," Kendall said.
The married father of three said he's been interested in humor ever since he was little. First it was MAD magazine and later National Lampoon movies.
"I think I get it from my mother," he said. "She's got a pretty good sense of humor."
Putting his comedy into writing began when he was a teenager.
"I remember as far back as middle school when I did homework assignments and I was pretty bored with school so I'd spice up my homework assignments by adding spoofs," he said. "The teachers didn't appreciate that but my classmates got a kick out of it."
In eighth grade, he wrote a play called "Star Trek Meets Santa Claus," combining humor with another of his favorite subjects, science fiction. In fact, some of the first few books he wrote were about the sciences. In high school, teachers encouraged him to take creative writing classes.
As an adult, he found time to write some of his books when he moved to Saudi Arabia for work. Born in Chicago, he lived in Canada before trekking to the Middle East.
"I couldn't bring my family over at first for a few months, so it gave me lots of time to write," he said.
It was there he wrote "Missionary Kids in Space," a sort of Christian version of Harry Potter where three children and their missionary father live in a world filled with aliens.
His next book after that is one that residents may take the most interest in. That's because it's a spoof on the city of Pleasanton. Called "Pleasantopia," the book chronicles three teenagers whose friend is kidnapped by terrorists who are developing a 'super weapon' at an atomic lab in the city's neighboring town of Sycamore. All the way, Kendall spoofs places in Pleasanton, including town innuendo, word plays and contemporary pokes at the local culture.
"I actually walked down Main Street and made a list of all of the businesses and then spoofed each one," he said.
There's Biker Plaza, Primary Street, Astro's Barbershop, Cartoonist's Restaurant, Moses' Bagels, Early Rising Loafers and even Stonehenge Mall. No one is safe.
Kendall said he chose the title "Pleasantopia" because Pleasanton is such a perfect place to live--a utopia of sorts.
"I was driving under the Pleasanton arch and was thinking about the Arch de Triumph in France so I started calling it the Arch de Affluenza. Pleasanton is the wealthiest (mid-sized) town in America right now, so that's pretty amazing."
Kendall jokes that he could only hope to find a vaccine for the "affluenza" that his 13, 18 and 20-year-old children have from living here.
Writing satire is an outlet for Kendall, who works in the very serious profession of software consulting.
"I'm in nerdland, cubicleland," he said.
He finds time to write while on the way to and from work.
"This year, I took the ACE train a lot and was working in the Silicon Valley and I had all this time on the train, so I grabbed a laptop, plugged in the memory stick and just wrote, wrote, wrote, wrote," he said. "It was fun. I'd be bursting out laughing and people on the train would be giving me funny looks."
His books are self-published, an easier route for casual authors who don't have the stamina to hunt down publishers, but it also requires the aid of friends' editing and his own publicizing. IUniverse was started by Barnes & Nobles bookstore and designed the cover art for his books. The Barnes & Noble and Border's Books in town carry Kendall's books, as well as downtown bookstore Towne Center Books and Amazon.com.
Douglas Kendall will sign copies of his "America's Reigning Cats and Dogs," books as well as his other books from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 8 at Border's Books, 4575 Rosewood Drive, Pleasanton.
To learn more about Kendall, visit www.dougken.com.
This story contains 994 words.
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