The Brightside: Roaming Riley

SELBYVILLE, Del. – A cat on an adventure through Ocean City and other Delmarva hot spots, sounds fun, right? That’s what you can read about in a book published right in Delaware.

“Roaming Riley got in my head years ago,” Allison Wiest, a local author said.

If you’re wandering around a local bookstore in Delaware you may see Roaming Riley sitting on the shelves. It’s the first book written by Allison, an animal lover and local author who had been working on how to combine her love for writing and her pets for years.

“Way back at that point, I jotted notes down in my phone, just of this idea about this cat that goes on this trip,” she said.

She said she’s always wanted to write a book about a cat roaming around a city, adventuring around and meeting other animals. She was going to name the cat Jack, but when her beloved four-legged friend Riley passed away, she knew exactly how to honor him: by calling her book Roaming Riley, and sending him on the adventure of a lifetime through the pages.

“Riley starts out by getting in a suitcase, getting down to Ocean City, and while he’s there, his owner finds him, and as you can imagine is surprised, and is like, ‘okay this is fine, you can stay in the hotel room,’ which he of course doesn’t do,” Allison said.

And without giving too much of the story away, we will tell you that Riley’s adventures don’t stop in that hotel room.

“He starts on the boardwalk in Ocean City, he has adventures down at Trimper’s on the rides, he meets a lot of animal friends along the way,” Allison said.

With the book finished and published and Riley’s memory living on the pages, Allison found yet another way to make the book even more personal and sentimental. That was by letting¬†her 12-year-old daughter Madelyn help illustrate the book.

“When I first started writing, she said, ‘well I want to illustrate the whole thing,’ and I said, ‘well you’ve never done anything like that before, so that might be a big undertaking,'” Allison said.

With an illustrator already working on the book, Allison and Madelyn decided Madelyn would do the chapter illustrations, small pictures next to the title of each chapter.

“I really love doing things that are big, so I thought being in it would sort of, I don’t know, it was just sort of a fun experience,” Madelyn said.

Besides being able to honor the real-life Riley and have a mom-daughter project to work on, Allison says the overall feedback since the book was published in July of 2020 has been heartwarming.

“One of my best friends was reading the book with her daughter, and it’s not a sad book, it’s funny, there are funny things all through it, it’s an adventure, and her daughter cried at the end because she was sad that it was over,” she said.

And if you’re wondering if Riley will be roaming around some more, Allison says he’s not finished yet.

“At the end of the first book, it’s really left wide open, he can go anywhere, that’s what I wanted him to do, so book number two is written, it is in the hands of the illustrator, she is working her magic, and I can tell you that Riley is going to Baltimore, it’s going to be a Baltimore adventure,” she said.

If you want to get your hands on a copy Roaming Riley, you can find it in some local bookshops around the Delaware beaches or even on Amazon.

Categories: Brightside