Interview with Familiar, the Black Cat Detective

I am so excited that my whiskers are twitching. My guest today is a detective and one whose books my author Debbie has a collection of from long ago. Familiar is back and better than ever, but I will have him introduce himself and update you on his pawsome plans for his new adventures.

Hi, Familiar. It’s an honor to have you here. Can you fill my readers in on your background and tell them about your author?

Of claus, Sneaky. My name is Familiar, often followed by “the black cat detective.” I have my own agency, you know. When I’m not being hindered by the humanoids, I can get a lot of work done in the fight for justice. My scribe is Carolyn Haines, and she’s also written about me under the name Caroline Burnes.

You are quite the feline model, Familiar. I wish I had my own agency. Maybe I should open one up in the Cobble Cove Library. Something to think about.

What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.


My genre is romantic mystery. I understand the importance of romance and I can often see how two bipeds belong together whether they fail to see how perfect they are for each other. And since Bogey is the character I pattern myself after (and he was a helluva detective) I stay within the mystery genre.

I am part of the Fear Familiar series. My first adventure was published in March 1990 by Harlequin Intrigue. I am a popular and debonair black kitty!

There are 17 books in the series, but my scribe will be reissuing only 6 of them under her name. We are also publishing a line of brand new romantic mysteries about my son, Trouble, who is following in my footsteps as a black cat detective.  

Fear Familiar (April 10)

Too Familiar (May 8)

Thrice Familiar (June 10)

Familiar Trouble (a new book in the Trouble series) (July 12)

Trouble in Dixie (also new by Rebecca Barrett) Aug. 14

Trouble in Tallahassee (also new by Claire Maturro) September—with more to come each month!

Excellent. I’m a romance and mystery cat myself. Alicia and John have a nice blend of that going, as do some of the other Cobble Cove residents in my Cobble Cove mystery series that started with A Stone’s Throw  and also includes Between a Rock and a Hard place and now our upcoming, Written in Stone releasing April 5. 

I’m sure my author and other past readers of your books as well as new fans will be excited to hear about the new series starring your son. 

Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.

My prototype was one E.A. Poe, a black cat my missus owned for fifteen years. Poe had personality with a capital P. He was a stray that a college professor found and brought to Carolyn because he knew she loved cats. Poe had been injured, but he healed very nicely. Now Trouble, my son, is based on Carolyn’s cat Coal Shaft Haines. Sadly Coal Shaft passed away last year from diabetes. He was a loving and wonderful friend to my scribe. She misses him to this day.

Aw, my author had a cat named Floppy who had diabetes. She featured him in her very first book, Cloudy Rainbow, after he passed away at 15.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.

I open each book and I have a first person point of view in all the novels. So here is the opening of Fear Familiar.

Chapter One

The dame is a real looker. She came out of the library with a stack of books that looked heavier than she did. Tall, slender, dark-haired, with that special sort of independent walk, she’s just the one I’ve been watching for. Not a bad-looking woman, even if the horn-rimmed glasses do detract. Maybe a little too thin, from my perspective. You know the old adage: thin woman, empty pantry. But after all, it’s a university campus, and what can I expect from an industry of pointy-heads? It’s late, and she’s leaving sans an escort. The odds are better than fifty-fifty that she lives alone. That means no cranky kids or irritable spouse, the things I’ve avoided in my single life. I’ve done my homework. Besides, I have to make something happen.

I’ve been on the run since the night before last, and my leg is killing me. Somehow I have to get the catheter out of it. The dame looks as though she can handle it. She looks as though she could handle a lot without freaking. Anyway, my time is running out. I know they’re after me, and if I don’t find a safe place quick, they’ll have me.

Here goes! I limp toward her, partly because I’m in pain, and partly because I figure a sucker ploy like a limp won’t hurt my chances. Not for the first time in my life, I’m perfectly accurate in reading a person. She’s stopping, books ready to tumble and crush me. I hold her with my most appealing gaze, saying to myself the whole time, “Come on, baby, take a desperate fur ball home with you.”

Uh-oh, she’s starting to turn away. Time for the real dramatics.

I make a sort of strangled noise and limp right up to her leg. The rub across her shin is calculated, but not half as bad as it could be. She smells great, and those legs of hers go straight to the sky. I mean if you have to give up newly won independence, even temporarily, this dame isn’t a bad place to start. She’s classy. One look into her dark eyes, and I knew she had a heart as big as Texas, as the old saying goes.

Well, I’ll give her one more pitiful meow.

“You must be lost, ” she says.

Man, her voice is better than the sound of an electric can opener. I feel the old motor kick in my throat for the first time in months, and / purr.

She bends to touch me and carefully examines my leg. “What’s this?” she asks, poking at the plastic catheter that’s my Achilles heel. I have to get rid of that thing, and quick. There must be a million stray cats running around Washington, D.C., but none with plastic tubing hanging out of their limbs. It’s a dead giveaway to my past.

“Meow,” I answer, even more pitifully than before.

“Have you gotten away from a vet?” she asks. As she bends over me, a strand of her black hair brushes my whiskers. Before I can stop myself, I rub her chin with the back of my head. She is delicious. At this moment I realize how cruel fate has been. How did I wind up as a research animal when I could have been living with her?

For the first time in my short life I feel a pang of guilt. I’m a marked animal, and my life is in jeopardy. Now I’ve pushed my problems onto this dame, and there’s no way I’ll ever be able to make her understand, or even warn her.

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

I’m the star, of course, and a great representative for the intelligence and impeccable character of all black cats. Felines, in general, are superior to most other mammals, but those of us with the sleek black fur of the night are especially smart and savvy. Read my adventures and see for yourself.

Pawsome! You are quite the actor.

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

I have my own point of view, which the reader knows but the other characters don’t. But I can make my feelings known, believe me. I have ways to bring the bipeds to heel.

Lol. You also have a great sense of humor.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

Bipeds are not the smartest critters on the street. Be patient. Sometimes you have to hit them over the head, literally. But they can be very loving and brave. Just be alert and don’t give you heart to someone who doesn’t deserve it. And be bold. Victory goes to those who demand it.

What an attitude! You make me proud to be of the same species.

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

Pawsome! Thanks so much for the interview, and best whiskers to you, your son, and your author’s upcoming releases.

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