Hey, there. I’m back. I had a very nice catnap for the holidays, but I’m glad to get digging my paws again into this blog. Debbie is busy editing our third mystery, and I have a new guest to interview. It’s my pleasure to feature Alistair, Annabelle Ameila Blessingsound Brittan’s cat (phew that’s a mouseful). Their author is Delia James.
Hi, Alistair. Welcome to my library cat blog. What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
So far, two of my books have been released: A Familiar Tail and By Familiar Means.
Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.
We are. The Witch’s Cat Mysteries detail how I solve the trickiest, most difficult mysteries in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The ones that are quite beyond the talents of the local police Anna helps on occasion. She is useful for feline to human translation, although she still needs a great deal of coaching.
Don’t they all? I find human characters quite purrplexing, and I believe they feel the same about us cat characters.
Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
There is, I believe, in Michigan, a certain gray cat-of-size named Blueberry who is acquainted with Delia and may have stood in for myself on occasion. There is, I believe a photograph.
I would love to see that and so would our readers. Please have Delia send it to us, and I will include it on this post. I love featuring real cats as well as character cats. I’m based on Debbie’s Siamese, and Oliver has even interviewed me-ow truly on this blog.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
This is how I met my human, from A Familiar Tail:
The cat on my driver’s seat tucked all four of its paws underneath its belly. He (or she)
was a solid, smoky gray color, with a surprisingly delicate face and bright blue eyes. Somebody had given him a matching blue collar with a silver bell, but I couldn’t see any tags. I also couldn’t see any sign that she (he?) planned to get out of my car any time soon.
I looked at the cat. The cat looked at me. We both blinked. “Shoo?” I suggested.
The gray cat yawned, displaying a curling pink tongue and a whole lot of very white teeth.
I folded my arms. “All right. What do you want?”
The cat blinked his (her?) slanting blue eyes at me again. It looked uncomfortably like he/she was waiting for me to say something sensible.
“Okay. We’re gonna do this the hard way.”
I lunged forward as if to make a grab. With a rolling growl of feline contempt, the cat flowed away from my hands. Victory! Or so I thought, until I realized the cat was now pressed against the pavement, under the Jeep, and right beside my front tire.
I swore. The cat hugged asphalt and put his ears back.
“Hey. Everything okay out here?” called a man’s voice from behind me.
It was Sean the bartender. He was strolling out from the Pale Ale, wiping his hands on a side towel.
I sighed and sat back on my heels. “I seem to have a cat.”
“Yeah, you sure do.” Sean bent down to peer under the Jeep. He smelled of lime and a little of whiskey, which would have been nice if I was paying attention to such things. “Hey, you know what? That might be Alistair under there. Alistair?” He held out his hand and spoke in that gentle, coaxing tone used by people who were comfortable around animals. “Hello, big guy. You got half the town looking for you, you know that?”
Alistair, if that was the cat’s name, was not impressed. He just pressed his belly closer to the asphalt and glowered at the impertinent human.
“Oh, he’s a local legend.” Sean rested his elbows on his thighs. “Alistair the ghost cat of Portsmouth.”
“Seriously?” I thought about how he’d been inside my locked Jeep just a minute before, and felt a small shiver creep across my neck.
“Seriously,” answered Sean. “His owner died, maybe six months ago, and no
nobody’s been able to lay hands on him since. Whenever anybody gets close, he just..” Sean made a hocus pocus gesture. “Disappears!”
“Well, I’m seeing him now, and he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. How come nobody took him to a shelter or anything when he lost his owner?” I knew, of course, cats were famous for self-reliance. I also knew this was New England. It was only a matter of time before the weather turned too hot, or too cold, or too wet, for anybody’s comfort.
“Like I said you, it’s like he disappears.’s made himself scarce.” Sean straightened himself up, and it was a long way up. “But we can try. See if you can keep him here, I’ll go round up a box, and some towels.” Sean trotted back toward the inn, leaving me to stare at the cat.
“Okay.” I sighed and rubbed the back of my neck. Alistair gave another little growl and extended his claws like he meant to dig in. How was I supposed to keep him there if he decided to take off? Then, I remembered my bag of tacos. I pulled one out, tore it in half, and held it toward the recalcitrant feline.
“Here, kitty,” I inched forward. “Puss, puss, kitty, kitty, kitty?”
Alistair, twitched his ears and shrank backwards, clearly unimpressed. I reminded myself that this cat had lost home and owner. He’d been out in the cold for months. Of course he was nervous around strangers.
“Come on, Alistair.” I leaned forward, bracing myself with one hand against the fender. “You’re not going to turn down free food are you? I warn you, Martine won’t like it.” This time, Alistair stretched his neck out to sniff my offering. He sniffed again. He
took a tentative lick of taco. This was followed by a much more enthusiastic lick, and a nibble. I found myself smiling. I reached out and rubbed him between his ears.
Alistair nibbled and licked at the brisket taco, I noticed the smoke and silver color of his fur, the delicacy of his face and the way it contrasted with his rounded belly and hindquarters. If I’d had to guess, I would have said he weighed in at fifteen pounds of
surprisingly sleek feline, maybe more. What breed was he? And how was he keeping himself fed? He didn’t have any of that ragged, desperate air of an abandoned pet.
“So what’s the answer, big guy?” I held out my fingers so he could lick off the last of the taco sauce. “Huh, Alistair? What’s been keeping you out in the cold?”
Alistair lifted his face and gazed at me with those slanting baby blues.
And he vanished.
Wow, Meow! Great action and plot. You and your author did a pawsome job on that scene.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
Purrsonally, I do not care to be brought before the reading public. I think the books spend too much time on the chaotic affairs of the humans, and not enough on the orderly, sensible lives of the cats.
I agree, but humans like reading that stuff, so you have to satisfy your audience.
Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
My owner understands me, eventually.
ROTFC (Rolling on the Floor in Catnip). I feel the same way.
What advice would you give other cat characters?
Patience, always patience. Humans require a great deal of guidance and encouragement before they are properly trained.
That is so true, Alistair.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
The third book, Familiar Motives will be out in September, 2017.
Excellent. I will look for it. I am hoping the third Cobble Cove mystery will be out soon, too. It’s already written and just need to be polished. I’m helping Debbie with that, even if she doesn’t always take my editorial opinion.
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
My author has a website: www.deliajamesmysteries.com, she is also on Facebook as simply Delia James, and on Twitter, MysteryDelia. She looks forward to hearing from all my readers.
Purrfect. Best whiskers to both of you on your future books, and thanks for being on my blog.