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Sophie and Tammy Pounds are sharing and signing their book throughout Ridgecrest this Saturday. / Laura Austin Photo

Local RC author Tammy Pounds pens children’s book

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer 

Ridgecrest native Tammy Pounds can now add Author to her list of many interests, many of which benefit her Ridgecrest community. Sophie, the Super Host, is her first self-published children’s book written about being an Airbnb host from the point of view of her real-life nine-year-old Queensland Heeler-mix dog.

There will be many opportunities to meet Pounds and Sophie. Saturday, August 26, is National Dog Day and a perfect opportunity to host book signings about a canine-centered book. They will be at the Maturango Museum from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. They head to the Animal Shelter from 2 pm until 4 pm. Books will be available for purchase, and both the author and her protagonist will sign the books. Well, Sophie will supervise the rubber stamping of her paw print.

Pound’s artist bio reads in part, “The concept for the book came from her love of connecting with the amazing people who stay with her and her passion for hospitality. Tammy credits her grandfather as her inspiration and example as a writer. She is working on a series of children’s books and a book about her grandmother getting lost in the desert.”

Pounds says proudly, “I am a fourth generation in Ridgecrest.” She is from the Blackwell family, who came to Ridgecrest in the early 1940s. Pounds says of Ridgecrest, “Ridgecrest is such a great community. It’s the community that raised me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the community looking out for me.”

In return, not that we are keeping score, she serves on the Board of the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, she is a longtime member of WACOM, she is part of the Ridge Writers group, she teaches yoga, is a hairdresser, and has performed in Ridgecrest Chamber Follies for many years. In addition, she is a beekeeper and hiker who loves to bake and cook.

She had never stayed in one when she opened her Airbnb in 2019. However, she always wanted to open a Bed and Breakfast. She says, “I just sort of jumped in with both feet, and this is what we’re doing.” She credits her grandfather for her courage. “His support allowed me to experiment with new things without fear of failure.”

As Sophie shares in the book, hosting an Airbnb has been a lot of fun with interesting people worldwide who make a pit stop in Ridgecrest on their way to the many national parks in California. With her talent in the kitchen, her guests are treated to a yummy breakfast. Frequently, the sounds of foreign languages float through the five-bedroom, four-bath house. ‘I like to think communication in different languages is like playing charades,” says Pounds. However, most visitors have at least one person in the group who speaks passable English, and they use their electronic translating device if there is a challenging word.

“I’ve written off and on since I was young,” says Pounds. “People have always told me that I should be a writer. You know how sometimes people say, ‘Oh, I would love to write a book,’ and then they never do. I decided I was going to. People would come and stay with us and then write the nicest things about Sophie (and me).” A lot of people mentioned Sophie. “I wanted to write a book about her; it would be so easy just to write about her and what we do here.”

Part of what motivated her was a book she read.,’”It was called Put your ass, where your heart wants to be (by Steven Pressfield). He says, basically if you want to be a writer, you have to sit your butt down and write. If you want to be a master pianist, you have to play the piano and practice. So it’s really whatever you want to do. You have to make time to do it. So that was writing for me: just sitting down, taking the time to do and making it a priority.”

The book’s illustrator is also local. “Her name is Feather Branson. You probably know her as Feather Opal Studios.” The illustrations are very colorful and realistic in a cartoon kind of way.

It is interesting to note that Sophie was a dog that Pounds didn’t want. Her son talked her into letting him get a puppy, and now Sophie is Pounds’ dog. As Pounds continues her series, she and Sophie will visit and share many locations throughout the desert with her readers. This will give their guests ideas about places to stay in our backyard.

After our conversation, Pounds sent the following. “I hope the article will focus on the book and the love of the community. While it’s also about my Airbnb, there are many mixed feelings about it.  Mine is a way to make a living after losing my husband. I was left without life insurance.”