Military mom chronicles 'Treasured Summer' overseas
Kim Kattawar Mahfouz, who goes by the pen name Kim Katt, is a mom who had such an amazing time with her family while stationed on Okinawa that she decided to write a book about it. She is the wife of retired Marine Master Sgt. Chris Mahfouz, who served for 24 years, and mother of two sons, Preston, 17, and Brandon, 10. The family, which currently resides in Southaven, Miss., adventured throughout Okinawa while strengthening their bonds. She embellishes those memories in her book, “A Treasured Summer.” She has also written series of sports stats books that kids can use to keep up with their stats from the various sports they play and store photos and team autographs for keepsakes. She eold us about her latest book, which can be found at: amazon.com/author/kimkatt.
Q: How did you come up with idea of writing “A Treasured Summer”?
A: I came up with the idea of writing the book while my family was stationed on Okinawa. Honestly, I never intended on publishing it, I actually wrote it for my kids to remember their time on Okinawa. I had so many friends and family read it and encouraged me to publish. I am so glad I did because so many kids have told me how much they love the book! We were stationed on Okinawa for six years but the kids were pretty young while we were there. Preston was 3 when we arrived and 9 when we left. Brandon was born at the Naval Hospital on Okinawa and was 2 when we came back to the United States.
Q: When exactly were you in Okinawa?
A: We arrived on Okinawa September 1, 2001. (10 days before the 9-11 attack on the Twin Towers). We stayed at the Kuwae lodge for the first 50 days. We settled down on Camp Kinser and loved every minute we were there!
Q: What did you enjoy the most about writing this Book?
A: I enjoyed writing about the different places we visited on Okinawa. While, there are some embellishments in the book about some of the places we visited, all of the places are real. The adventure was also fun to write. It’s about an actual treasure that went missing from Shuri castle many years ago. Though we never really went in search of the treasure, I thought it would be a great adventure for the book if the kids were to look for that missing treasure. This allowed me to write about the beautiful places on Okinawa for my kids to remember.
Q: What was the biggest challenge?
A: I think the biggest challenge was writing the book during our last year on Okinawa. By then Preston was in school, scouts and played every sport that MWR offered. At the same time, Brandon went from crawling to running - he was a very active kid! I didn’t have a lot of time to write but I knew I wanted my kids to have a great memory of Okinawa, so I wrote when I could find the time.
Q: What do you hope people get from your book?
A: That’s a hard one! In a time where so much bad stuff is in the news, I think people in general need something more fun and entertaining to offset that. For military families that are about to make the move to that duty station, I want them to have some stress relief knowing a little about the island they are about to live on. I hope that the kids that are about to make that move, read it and get excited about visiting the places in the book. I want them to look forward to their time there instead of being scared of the unknown. For the military kids that have been there in the past, I hope they read the book and remember the fun times they had on Okinawa! As for the general public, I hope what they get out of the book is to learn a little about life in the military. Although, I hope everyone enjoys the story, I am a firm believer in keeping our kids reading! They are our future!
Q: What do you and your family miss most about Okinawa?
A: I think what we miss most about Okinawa is how different the culture is. Even though at times there is a language barrier, the locals are extremely friendly and willing to help out. They take great pride in their culture and have an unbelievable work ethic. We definitely miss the parks, too. They are everywhere. The roller slides were my kids’ favorite once they figured out how to slide correctly! I think my kids really miss Okuma. There is a lot to do there and relax at the same time!
Q: Any plans to write another book, if so on what topic?
A: I do have plans on writing a sequel to “A Treasured Summer.” It may take me a while to actually complete it because although Preston is set to graduate next year, Brandon is now playing sports and both are taking karate.