Welcome to another purrfect interview. Today, my guest is Ebenezer from The Cat of Christmas Past and The Great Catsby by Kathi Daley.
Have a seat on the cat tree and make yourself comfortable, Ebenezer. Tell me more about your books. Are they a series?
Both of the books I’ve starred in are part of the Whales and Tails Cozy Island Mystery Series. Each of the books feature a cat but I’m the only one who has starred in two books. The series is set on Madrona Island, a fictional island within the San Juan Islands. As a fourth generation islander Caitlin Hart is struggling to make her way as the economy and culture of the island evolves toward a tourism based industry. Cait lives in a cabin on her aunt’s oceanfront estate where she helps her aunt run Harthaven Cat Sanctuary. When she isn’t working with the cats, she helps best friend Tara, operate the coffee bar/bookstore/cat lounge they own, named Coffee Cat Books.
Very mice. I also live in a fictional place, Cobble Cove, New York. It’s a small, upstate town, but your location sounds quite appealing. I also like the name of the bookstore. It’s quite cat-chy.
Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
No, alas, I am not based on a real cat. I would however be awesome if I was real.
Don’t feel bad. There’s nothing wrong with being a cat character. You have much more flexibility, and you know we cats are quite flexible.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? By my previous interviews, you should know I’m not looking for one where you’re eating, napping, or using the litter box.
The set up for this is that it is a few weeks before Christmas and a grouchy old landlord plans to evict an entire apartment building full of tenants so he can sell to a developer. Cait is worried that her friends will have nowhere to go so she decides to go and see the old man and try to talk him into changing his mind. Meanwhile Ebenezer turns up on her doorstep He turns out to belong to the old man. This is the scene where Cait first goes out to the private island the man owns.
I’d been pretty sure Ebenezer had been sent by Tansy due to the perfect timing of his arrival at the church, but when I’d gotten back to my cabin last night, she’d called to make certain he’d arrived safely, confirming my suspicion. I tried to pry additional information out of the taciturn woman, but all she would say was to trust Ebenezer and he would show me the way.
My relationship with Tansy’s cats began less than a year ago, when she sent me a large gray cat named Romeo to help out with the investigation of the murder of an island council member. I guess Tansy had decided the cat and I had worked well together because after Romeo left other cats began showing up. Ebenezer was the sixth one I’d worked with in this same capacity, although I worked with other cats every day because I, along with my Aunt Maggie, operate a cat sanctuary that’s dedicated to sheltering and rehabilitating the island’s feral cat population.
“Ebenezer, are you still there?” I called. “Can you hear me?”
I stopped walking and watched as my feline companion squeezed through a small break in the wall. The break wasn’t large enough for most adults to squeeze through, but since I’m petite I realized I’d be able to make it without a problem.
The view on the other side of the wall was much like the one on the outside: thick foliage covered with a layer of snow. I couldn’t see the house, but I suspected it was in the center of the island, where it would be the most protected from both the elements and intruders.
I could hear waves crashing in the background. I was supposed to call Trevor when I was ready for a ride home, although based on the increase in wind velocity, I wasn’t sure he’d be able to make the return trip to pick me up if we didn’t hurry.
I followed Ebenezer back to the dirt path that led to the house and then up to the front porch. I could feel my heart pounding as I worked up the courage to knock. I wasn’t sure what it was I was afraid of. The man was ancient; surely he wouldn’t, or more importantly couldn’t, hurt me.
“Last chance to back out,” I said as I stood on the cement porch, looking at the thick hardwood door.
“He might not even be here.” The house was a large stone structure that looked dark from the outside. Of course most of the windows were covered in thick drapes that would block out the light from inside the house, should there be any.
Ebenezer just looked at me. I could see he was becoming impatient with my stalling.
“Okay,” I breathed. “Here goes nothing.”
I took a deep breath and knocked on the door. The iron knocker made a deep, hollow sound that seemed to echo through the area. After less than a minute an old man, stooped with age, opened the door.
“Ebenezer.” The man looked at the cat. “Wherever had you gotten off to?”
The cat meowed and trotted inside.
“This is your cat?” I asked the emaciated old man.
“It is. Who are you? And what are you doing on my property?”
“My name is Caitlin Hart. I live on Madrona Island. I found Ebenezer last night at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and he led me here today.”
The old man, who I assumed to be Balthazar Pottage, turned and looked at the cat, who had jumped onto a table just off to the side and begun to purr.
“Damn cat,” the man grumbled, but I noticed there was warmth in his eyes as he picked him up and started down the hall. “Close the door behind you,” he instructed.
Was the man inviting me in? He’d told me to close the door behind me, but had he meant come in and then close the door, or simply close the door on my way out? Because he hadn’t specified, I decided to take my chances and come in. I closed the door and then followed the man down the hall.
The dark hardwood doors on either side of the hall were all closed. Eventually the man turned into an open room that was cozy in a shabby sort of way. There was a nice fire in the large stone fireplace that seemed to be the only heat supplied to the room. Or the whole house, for that matter. It was almost as cold in the house as it had been outside.
The white-haired man sat down in one of the chairs placed in front of the fireplace. The cat looked quite content as he curled up in his lap. I looked around the room, trying to decide what to do. There was an old sofa, but the distance from the fire was twice that from the chairs, so I decided to sit down across from my host in the other chair.
“Nice house,” I said, trying for polite conversation. I noticed a half-eaten bowl of broth on a table next to the chair.
“I take you’re Balthazar Pottage?”
“Who wants to know?”
“I told you. My name is Caitlin Hart.”
“Why are you here?”
“To return your cat. At least I guess I’m supposed to return him. He showed up at the church last night and then led me here this afternoon.”
I noticed the man didn’t seem at all surprised that his cat had been found miles away on another island or that Ebenezer had managed to communicate with me his intent to pay a visit to the house today.
In spite of the fact that I was sitting across from the man he didn’t say another word. He just stared hypnotically into the fire, as if I weren’t even in the room. How in the heck was I supposed to find a smooth segue into a discussion concerning the Bayview Apartments if he wasn’t inclined to speak to me?
“I suppose I should be going, now that Ebenezer is safely home,” I began.
The man didn’t answer.
“I’m glad I finally had a chance to meet you. I’ve always wondered about your house. You can’t see it from the water with all the trees on the property. I hadn’t realized it was so large. From the outside it appears to have three full stories. Is there an attic at the top? It’s hard to tell for certain based on the roof line alone.”
The man closed his eyes. Was he going to sleep? I knew I was rambling, but I figured it was better to keep talking than to let the conversation die. Even if said conversation had, to this point, been one-sided at best.
“I imagine it gets lonely living here all alone in this big house. I guess it’s a good thing you have Ebenezer for company,” I continued to babble. “He seems like such an agreeable cat. I really enjoyed my time with him. Still, it’s odd he showed up all the way over on Madrona Island. I wonder how he got there.”
The man didn’t respond.
“I suppose he must have stowed away on one of the boats that brings you supplies. I’m sure you must get deliveries of one sort or another on somewhat of a regular schedule. Food, propane, that sort of thing. Do you travel to the other islands often? I’ve heard you prefer to remain on your island most of the time.”
The man still didn’t respond, but he did open his eyes. Maybe he was finally getting tired of my rambling and would be willing to engage in a two-way conversation. “You still here?” Pottage asked, as if to indicate he hadn’t heard a word I’d said. Not that I blamed him. Even I was getting tired of my endless chattering about nothing in particular.
Later in the story we learn that the old mans’ son was kidnapped as an infant. That was 25 years ago and he was never found. Balthazar makes a deal with Cait that he will spare the apartment building if she can find his son. Cait and Ebenezer join forces to track down clues and figure out what really happened twenty-five years prior.
Pawsome. That man sounded nasty, but if his kid was kidnapped, I can understand. I don’t have any kitties myself. Whoever owned me before the Cobble Cove library folks found me had a vet take care of that.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
I’m the smart one who really solves the mysteries even if I do get second billing.
Don’t you hate that? Even when I helped Alicia find an important clue in our first mystery, I didn’t even get a scratch under the chin or a belly rub. Human characters are so unappreciative.
Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
Silent. I meow, knock stuff off shelves, and lead people places.
Well, they do say “Actions speak louder than words.” When I peed on Mac’s jacket, that spoke volumes – MOL (Meow Out Loud)
What advice would you give other cat characters?
Keep an eye on your people. They may not know it but they really are lost without you.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
I am not in any books coming out in the near future but my cat buddy Clarence is going to be featured in The Cat of Christmas Present which is available now for preorder and publishes on November 11.
I will have to mark that on my calendar. My new book is coming out October 12. I don’t solve the mystery or find any clues in this one, but I’m in two big scenes; a story time at the library and a visit to the new vet in Cobble Cove. Although I don’t go to the cat café with John and Alicia, I thought that was a nice addition to the story.
Are you and/or your author on social media?
My author does a giveaway for books, swag, and gift cards every week in my newsletter, The Daley Weekly http://eepurl.com/NRPDf
Her other links include:
Kathi Daley Blog – publishes each Friday http://kathidaleyblog.com
Webpage – www.kathidaley.com
Facebook at Kathi Daley Books – www.facebook.com/kathidaleybooks
Kathi Daley Teen – www.facebook.com/kathidaleyteen
Kathi Daley Books Group Page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/569578823146850/
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter at Kathi Daley@kathidaley – https://twitter.com/kathidaley
Amazon Author Page –https://www.amazon.com/author/kathidaley
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/kathidaley/
Thanks. I will check them all out, and I hope my readers will, too. It’s been fun chattering with you today, Ebenezer. Best whiskers to you and your author on your upcoming books.