Be still, my heart. What a wonderful way to start the week. My tail twitches in greeting as a new lovely kitty arrives for an interview on my blog this Monday morning. May I ask your name, and please also tell me about your author?
Hi, Sneaky. My name is Tinkerbelle and my author’s name is Mollie Hunt. Mom’s name is Lynley Cannon and people call her the Crazy Cat Lady, but she’s not quite crazy yet.
What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
My loveliness is featured in 2 of the 3 Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries, Copy Cats and Cat’s Paw. I plan to be in many more.
Those book titles are pawsome. Tell me more about your series, Miss Tinkerbelle. I am intrigued and, I must admit, a bit smitten with you. Wow, Meow. That sounded quite poetic.
The Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series follows the adventures of cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon and her ever-growing clowder of cats. Lynley’s retired from her day job, so you’d think she would stay home with us, but not our Lynley. She finds more trouble than a cat in a catnip patch.
You are funny as well as beautiful. Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
I am certainly a real cat and I live with my author, Mollie, who adopted me when I was lost and stray. She and I studied to be Pet Partners, and for 4 years, I was a registered Pet Partners therapy cat. I retired this year at the age of 15 to hang in and write posts on my Facebook page.
You look much younger than years, but I do enjoy the company of older women. In my Cobble Cove series, I am only 3 or 4, but the cat on whom I am based is my author’s 16 year-old Siamese, Oliver. He is quite spry for his age, too, and even interviewed me on this blog once.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
It’s sort of long, but that’s because I’m such an important kitty. Here I am visiting a hospice patient with Mom in her cozy mystery, Copy Cats:
‘Tinkerbelle was a round, fluffy pixie of a cat. She only weighed eight pounds, but added to the bulk of the carrier, it was a good, shoulder-wrenching load. Thankful she wasn’t Big Red at seventeen pounds, or worse, Violet, at twenty two, I went into the building and down the brightly lit hallway to Lenore’s room. Her door was ajar so after a token knock, I let myself in, closing it softly behind me.
Lenore was sitting up in her hospital bed reading. Per protocol, I gave her a once-over to see how she was doing. With a sigh of relief, I noted she seemed no worse than the last time I was there.
The eighty-seven-year-old was rail-thin with the yellowish complexion that accompanies liver difficulties, but her brown eyes sparkled every time she saw me. She always wore a colorful silk turban—I didn’t know whether she was bald underneath or if it was a fashion statement. She had the largest collection of silk bed jackets and robes of anyone I’d ever known, and since I had run with an antiques crowd in my younger day, that was saying a lot.
Today she sported a voluminous paisley print in rust and mocha that complimented her eyes. She looked a little like a butterfly—tiny body and huge, beautiful, showy wings.
“Good morning, Lenore,” I said, putting Tinkerbelle’s carrier on the floor. I try not to ask the banal, How are you, of hospice patients; as long as they were alive, that was all that mattered.
Lenore marked her place with a satin bookmark and put the book aside. “Hello, Lynley. How’s my kitten?”
“She’s good.” I opened the carrier to let Tinkerbelle out. First a cautious black nose, then a paw appeared. She stood poised for a moment, then deciding she was in friendly climes, strode from the box like the queen of all she surveyed. I clipped the leash onto her harness, scooped her up, and placed her on the bed beside Lenore. She sniffed the old woman’s proffered hand then smoothed her sideburn against it, claiming it for her own.
Tinkerbelle circled and found just the right spot to lie down. I had learned long ago that when it came to pet visits, I was merely the chauffeur, so I sat by the bed and let Tink do her thing.
Usually, for the first few minutes Lenore was so wrapped up in the cat that she basically ignored me, but this time after only a cursory stroke or two, she said in her soft cultured tones, “I have some news, Lynley, that I think you will appreciate.”
“Oh? What’s that?”
“My nephew has bought another cat,” she said with obvious satisfaction.
“Well, congratulations.” I smiled, trying not to let my preference for shelter animals over the purchased kind affect my reaction.
“Yes, it is very good. The boy is nearly sixty and had never had a cat until this year. Now he has two. Can you believe it?”
“That’s amazing. Was he a dog person?”
“Not really. He traveled a lot. He was an airline pilot, you see. He figured he didn’t have time for a pet. But when he retired, I made it my business to convince him to consider a cat.” She beamed conspiratorially. “And being a smart boy who listens to his wise old auntie, he did just that.”
“Good for you.”
“Well, you know I adopted all my cats from sanctuaries—either that or they adopted me.” She snickered as the visions of cats-gone-by danced in her rheumy eyes. “But Bill had his heart set on a certain breed. I told him to wait until one showed up at your Friends for Felines—they always do eventually.”
“People don’t realize how many purebred cats end up in shelters,” I agreed.
“And there are breed rescue groups too. But once Bill decided he wanted a cat, he had to have it right now. No patience, that boy. Still, I can empathize with his enthusiasm. Why wait when you never know what tomorrow may bring? And once he had the one, he concluded he needed another as a companion. He still spends a lot of time away from home and was concerned that Bonnie might get lonely.”
“So he got a second kitty?”
“Yes, a male. He picked him up last week. Very expensive, I take it. Even more expensive than the first which he bought at a cat show.” She harrumphed. “But he has all his papers and apparently comes from a long, important line.”
“Have you met him yet?”
“Not yet. Bill is still acclimatizing him to his new home. He doesn’t want to do anything out of the ordinary at this time. And though I can tell you I am a little disappointed, I do agree with him.”
“It’s a good idea to let them settle. A week isn’t very long for a new cat to get used to such a big change. I’m sure he’ll bring him soon.”
“I’m sure he will.” She stroked Tinkerbelle’s silken fur and gazed out the window. I knew she was wondering if she would still be around by then.
“What did he get?”
Lenore turned wide eyes to me. “Pardon?”
“You said he was a breed cat. What breed?”
“Oh yes.” She waved a bantam hand. “There are photographs. Look on top the chest of drawers.”
I rose and crossed to the antique waterfall dresser, keeping hold of Tinkerbelle’s leash per Pet Partners protocol, though by the looks of her, all curled up in the crook of Lenore’s arm, she wasn’t going anywhere. Spread out on a Battenburg lace runner was a handful of color glossies. Smiling, I gazed at professional quality pictures.
My smile faded. With a prickle of alarm, I stared at them dumbly.
“Pick them up, dear, and bring them over.”
Robotically I did as I was told. My hand trembled as I handed them to Lenore.
“Siamese!” she exclaimed. “I don’t know why perfectly common words escape me sometimes. Siamese, obviously, silly me. He has a long, fancy show cat name, but Bill calls him something for short—oh, I should remember this. Yes, I know, it’s…”
“Meow?” I finished for her.
Her keen eyes flicked from the photos to me. “Meow? No, that’s not it at all. Let me think. Ah, yes! Bill calls him Zoom. You know, the cat in the sweet children’s series.”
I took back one of the pictures and held it up close. I studied every satin hair, every sable whisker, the familiar blue-on-blue eyes gazing at me through the celluloid. I paid special attention to what I could see of his ears and tail; they were fully furred and perfectly tinted as a seal point Siamese should be. The last time I’d seen Meow, those parts had been shaved, the noxious colorant removed and cleansed by the FOF doctors, but that was two months previous and the fur would have grown back by now. The crooks could easily have re-applied the dye.
I looked again. Yes, if the smiling Siamese wasn’t Meow, it could have been his twin brother.
“Where did your nephew get this cat?” I asked a little too abruptly.
Lenore stared at me quizzically. Not much gets by her. “Why, Lynley, is something wrong?”
I pushed myself to relax and glanced once more at the image. Was I so absolutely sure this was my Meow? “No, it’s nothing.” I forced a smile. “He looks like a perfectly wonderful cat. Maybe I can meet him sometime when he visits.”
“Do you think Tinkerbelle would appreciate that? Does she like other kitties?” Lenore petted the wide black back, and Tink purred in ecstasy.
I had to laugh. “It depends on her mood. She’ll either play prima donna or give him a bath.”
“Well, we will see.” She handed me the pictures. “Please put them back on the dresser for me, dear.”
I flipped through the images once more and pulled out a full body shot with a good close-up of the face and head. “Do you think I could get a copy of this one, Lenore?”
She hesitated, then gave a little wave. “Take it. Bill will bring me more. Lots more!”
I stuffed the photo in my bag, took a deep breath, and turned back to Lenore.
“And what’s been happening since I saw you last?”’
I’m clapping my paws. Very well written and acted, I must say. I especially liked that it included a Siamese. What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
I like that I’m never required to work too hard. Most of the time I spend napping, then at the purrfect moment, I jump in to save the day.
Same with me. I am usually in the cat room off the staff lounge upstairs in the library where the kind staff has made me my own “digs” excuse the pun, in our second book.
Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
Well, Sneaky, as with all cats, I can communicate telepathically with humans if I want to. It’s how we manipulate – uh, guide – them, right? But, no, I don’t speak words out loud or anything like that.
Me, too. What advice would you give other cat characters?
Make sure to get into as many scenes as possible. Keep reminding your author that, in a cat mystery, it’s all about you.
Unfortunately, although I’ve played some interesting roles that have led some of my human co-characters to discover some things such as a clue in our first mystery, I have not felt that I have been the center of attraction in either of my two books having had to share the limelight with a dog co-star. However, I’ve asked Debbie to spice up my scenes in the third book she is writing.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
We just came out with a brand new book titled Cat’s Paw. Here’s the blurb: “When cat volunteer Lynley Cannon attends an elite creative retreat at the Cloverleaf Animal Sanctuary, she gets more than a lesson in art. Accused of a shocking double homicide, she runs home to Portland, but murder follows in her wake. It all comes down to cats in this 3rd Crazy Cat Lady mystery.”
Mollie is working hard on books 4 (Cat Call) and 5 (Cat Café) now – I’m helping.
Rats! You two seem so busy, I’m sure you wouldn’t have any time to spend with me-ow truly, but I would love to stay in touch with you. Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
I have my own Facebook page: Tinkerbelle, registered Pet Partner therapy cat, Retired at https://www.facebook.com/TinkerbelleTheTherapyCat/
My author’s Facebook page is Mollie Hunt, Writer at https://www.facebook.com/MollieHuntCatWriter/
We would love it if you came over to check out all the fun things going on.
Wild dogs couldn’t keep me away, Tink.
Mollie also has a blog called Mollie Hunt: Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and more, (https://lecatts.wordpress.com) and was recently named a Top 50 Cat Blogger by Thoroughly Reviewed. (https://thoroughlyreviewed.com/special-interests/top-50-cat-bloggers/)
Thanks again, Sneaky, for the interview. Here’s a photo of the 4 of us: (From left to right) Me, Dirty Harry, Little, and Big Red, all featured in Mollie’s books. Oh, yeah, she’s the big one at the back.
My pleasure, Miss Tinkerbell. My best whiskers to you and Mollie on your upcoming books. And, don’t forget, if you ever have any spare time, I’d love a moonlit stroll with you. Maybe we could hang out at a bookstore or I could show you around the Cobble Cove library.
That sounds, Pawsome, Sneaky. I will keep that in mind.