Interview with Houdini the Flamepoint Siamese


My tail and whiskers are twitching in excitement at my first interview with a fellow Siamese named Houdini who appears in his namesake book written by his talented author/biographer, T.J. Banks.
Debbie has carefully transcribed my notes of this interview that appear below.
Welcome, Houdini, and have a seat on my cat tree. It’s as sweet as catnip having you as my guest today. So tell me, are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give “fur” ther details.
Yes, I’m based on the Flamepoint Siamese that my author had as a child. Like me, he was a stray, and she and her father smuggled him aboard an airplane.  That’s in the novel, too.
How interesting. I’m a seal point myself, and Debbie based me on her cat, Oliver who also has brown points. Cool that you’ve flown on a plane. I’ve never had that experience. I’m sure it’s quite exhilirating as we cats like high places.
So, tell me more about your book.
The book I appear in is called Houdini, named after me.  It’s technically a young adult novel, but younger children who are strong readers – or adults who really love cats – will enjoy it. It’s not a series, but I do make an appearance in the novel that my author is currently working on.  It’s set a number of years after Houdini, and it involves a lot of the same characters.
Mice. I mean nice. My author has already put me in her next book, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, which is the second of her Cobble Cove mysteries. It is actually coming out this month. I can’t wait.
I think my readers would like an excerpt from your book. Can you share one that  features you in an important scene, and I don’t mean one where you are taking a catnap, grooming yourself, or using the litter box.

    He sprang. His paws hit the tray of the feeder, and the birds flew off to the cover of the trees again. Houdini fell back, landing smack in the patch of soggy picked-over seed. He quickly sat up and began to wash his shoulder to cover his embarrassment, just in case someone had seen him flub this one up. True, there didn’t seem to be any other animals or humans outside; still, it was a matter of feline pride. A little extra washing never hurt, anyway.

     But someone had seen him. Even as he scrubbed his left front paw, his cat sense told him that there were eyes fixed on him. Slowly, cautiously, Houdini swiveled around until he was facing the front picture window. There, her wide face pushed against the glass, was a long-haired black cat, her plumy tail lashing against the glass.

     Houdini sat there, one front paw raised hesitantly. He edged a little closer to the house, and the unknown cat’s tail beat against the window-pane even harder. He knew that she couldn’t get at him through the glass, but he decided to retreat all the same. Besides, his stomach told him that it was about time for his morning snack down at the corner store. He turned and hurried down toward the road.

        He’d just gotten to the edge of the long unpaved driveway when a large dog materialized from around the corner and made a bolt for him. Houdini panicked and dashed across the road, not seeing or hearing the car bearing down on them both. But he heard the screech of the brakes and felt the tire bear down on his front left paw, crushing it….

Meow Wow! How exciting. If I had the book in front of me, I’d be eager to paw the next page to see what happens.

What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?

Despite all my misadventures, I keep trying to make my way back to my human girl and all my cat friends.  I like that.  A lot. I’m very loyal.  You know, I don’t think that people realize how loyal and loving we cats are unless they really make an effort getting to know us.

I sure can relate to that. In my Cobble Cove mysteries, I have a special soft spot for Alicia, but I’m really getting to like Laura, the new Children’s librarian in the upcoming book. I would go out on a limb for them, although I’ve never climbed a tree in any of the books yet.

Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

No, I don’t talk.  I do miaow a lot — but, then, I’m a Siamese.

Oh, Brother. Tell me about it. I’m very vocal, too, which is a real drawback for a library cat, but you should hear my author’s Siamese, Oliver. He must’ve been an opera singer in his last life – MOL (Meow Out Loud).

What advice would you give other cat characters?

I would tell them to make sure that their authors really study other cats so that they’re better able to convey what we’re all about.  While my story is based on my author’s childhood pet, she drew upon another Flamepoint, Topaz deGaulle, for my character.  The book is dedicated in his memory.

Aww. That is so touching. My author wrote dedicated her first book, Cloudy Rainbow, to her cat Floppy after he went to Rainbow Bridge.

Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.

My author is working on another book, as I’ve said.  She hasn’t told me much about it yet, but I do know that Merlin (one of my buddies from the first book) and I will be doing a scene together in it.

Don’t you hate it when authors pussyfoot around their writing especially when they are working on one of your scenes? I try to spy Debbie’s computer screen when she’s typing on her computer, but my food bowl is in the same room which makes it extremely difficult to concentrate.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.

This is my author’s FB page —

— Her blog is called “Sketch People,” but you’d be surprised how often we cats find our way in there –

— LinkedIn —

–Amazon — (Note: There are updated/newer editions of both Houdini and Catsong that came out in 2014, courtesy of  Those are the ones you want to order, as the earlier publisher, PublishingWorks, is now out of business.)

My author also published her first book through, although she published my debut, A STONE’S THROW, with Limitless Publishing; and BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE will be published by Solstice Publishing. It seems we have a lot in common besides being Siamese, Houdini.

Yes, Sneaky, and thank you so much for having me as your first guest, but I can’t take all the kitty credit because my author’s cats, Fey the Somali and Violet the Calico, also helped; and, of course, my author transcribed everything.  I also have a purr-sonal favor to  ask. My author wanted to include some additional photos. One is of another book she wrote, DERV & CO: A LIFE AMONG FELINES. It is only available from her. The other pic is of T.J.’s late great Topaz deGaulle.  Can you please post them?

Of Claus. Thanks so much for chattering with me today, Houdini, and thank your author, too. I’m sure my readers will want to get their paws on her books.

dervandco_cover1  topaz-the-dragon-master













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