Before finding her forever home, Indy wandered the streets, exploring town and making friends along the way. Now that she's settled in with her new family, she's ready for another adventure.
"Indy, Oh Indy: Pismo or Bust!" finds the titular pooch heading to the coast with her friends. The follow-up to local author Teresa Adamo's "Indy, Oh Indy: Wanderin' the Streets of Bakersfield," comes out with a special launch event on Saturday.
Inspired by Adamo's rescue terrier mix, the first book explores what Indy's life before adoption might have been like. Though that one only came out in October, it wasn't long before readers wanted to know about Indy's next adventure. So Adamo teamed up with illustrator Jennifer Williams-Cordova again to work on a sequel.
"People started asking pretty soon after, so we started asking ourselves, 'Where would she go?'" Adamo said, calling Pismo a "natural progression."
Like many Bakersfield residents, Indy's thoughts turn toward the beach when the hot weather sets in, teaming up with her buddies Ben (based on the illustrator's dog) and Tele (the author's other pet, a tortoise). Along the way they meet two new friends: an orange cat named Wills and a roadrunner named Joaquin. Each has something they want to do along the Central Coast, but they will need a little help from their friends first.
"My goal was to make this book more inclusive," said Adamo, who works as a communication manager for Adventist Health Bakersfield. "Something all these communities could identify with."
Adamo started writing over Christmas break of 2018, with a goal of getting "Pismo or Bust!" out in time for summer. Having started writing the first book in May of last year, Adamo has now created and published two books in about a year's time.
"I felt I could be more daring or creative," Adamo said of working on the second book. "I'm more confident about it."
Like the first book, the sequel is full of Easter eggs. Some references readers will get, while others might go unnoticed. Either way, it's just part of the fun for the writer and artist.
"We have backstories for days that nobody else ever knows about," Adamo said.
"Even if no one else notices, we have fun," Williams-Cordova added.
One reference comes on the book's map page, where Central California is identified city by city, with Indy in Bakersfield and other identifiable markers, like a windmill in Solvang.
But what about those bunny ears poking up from a burrowed hole in the ground, with a sign toward Albuquerque? It's Bugs Bunny, who in a classic cartoon is trying to get to Pismo Beach but gets lost, saying he should have gone left at the New Mexico city.
As Indy and her pals load up the van to head west, readers can take a closer look at the things they are packing. Not only does Indy bring the toys found at the end of the first book, but she also packs something else dear to her.
"Drawing this, now I know Indy," said Williams-Cordova, who is a graphic designer at Willis & Williams Design Studios. "There's real Indy, there's cartoon Indy and there's Indy spirit. Of course, she would pack her toys and a picture of her family."
Throughout the story is a chant: "Pismo or bust! Last stop is the pier!" The pair can already see that being a hit at school readings, events the two have done a lot of for the first book. At those events, they always emphasize the importance of adopting from a shelter.
"We're trying to use the spotlight of this book for things like this," Adamo said.
To that end, Saturday's launch event will also be a chance for people to donate towels, sheets and small blankets to Kern County Animal Services. A portion of the books' proceeds will also go to local shelters and rescue groups.
Since the first book's release in October, Adamo and Williams-Cordova have been touched by the response Indy's story has received.
"Jennifer and I were — I wouldn't say shocked," Adamo said, "but the hometown support has been more than we expected."
"It's not that I didn't think people would like it," Williams-Cordova added. "But I didn't know people were going to love it."
The second book might not be out yet, but creative minds never turn off. The duo didn't give many details about the future of the Indy series but said Pismo wouldn't be the last readers see of the dog.
"We have the workings of a third book and ideas for two more," Adamo said. "The third one is going to be a little different. The first book gave us the freedom to think bigger."