Children's book author Tami Butcher (left) sits with her Bonus mom Nancy Jefferies (center) and her real mom Candice Nagel in their family restaurant Rustler's Rooste. Butcher's book "My Bonus Mom" about stepmothers hit the stores August 11. Darryl Webb/AFN Aug 11, 2011

Darryl Webb/AFN

Tami Butcher found a perfect way to describe her step-mother. She called her a "bonus mom."

Butcher recently published her first children's book, called "My Bonus Mom! Taking the Step out of Stepmom," which talks about the positives that are present when a divorce happens. She draws from her own experiences after both of her parents got remarried.

"I had so much material to work with that it wasn't difficult to write," Butcher said. "And the book is very matter-of-fact in the beginning and about what happens when a couple gets divorced. In the beginning, the main character is sat down and told that dad is going to live somewhere else."

She then goes into the positives of having a bonus mom, like another person to talk to. And kids can relate to this: Extra parents means extra presents during holidays and birthdays.

Butcher, who is a manager for Rustler's Rooste in Ahwatukee Foothills, said she plans to turn it into a series due to the overwhelming response she has received thus far. She is planning a "My Bonus Dad!" version as well as a "My Bonus Daughter!"

"The whole premise is to put the book into a kid's hands and change the term (step-mother) and change the idea into something positive," she said.

Their family, which includes nine grandchildren, gets together for the occasional birthday or holiday celebration.

"We are all very close," said Candice Nagel, Butcher's mother. "(Butcher) has always been creative and this book was a great way to express her positivity while talking about a subject that can be hard to talk about for kids."

Nancy Jefferies, her "bonus mom," added: "This book is written in a way that can appeal to just about everyone. There are parts that resonate with the parents as well."

If and when she does decide to publish the rest of the series, her illustrator may not be available. The man who illustrated this book was from Syria and, for whatever reason, she has not spoke to him in the last six months.

"I'd love for him to illustrate the other books, but as of right now I can't get a hold of him and haven't in quite awhile," she said.

The forward was done by comedian Bill Engvall. Butcher had sent the book to him before distribution and he contacted her and let her know how much he loved the book.

"After that, I asked him if he would write the forward and he said, ‘Yes, of course,'" Butcher said.

The book was picked up by local publisher Five Star Publications, Inc. and is now available Valleywide at Barnes and Noble and Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. It will soon be available on Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com.

Butcher will be hosting her first booksigning from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Rustler's Rooste Restaurant at The Arizona Grand Resort, 8383 S. 48th St.

She will also be signing her book from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S. McClintock Drive in Tempe.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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