Sneaky here with another pawsome interview of a pet. Today, it’s my pleasure to be cat chatting with a real life cat who is the namesake of a human character. Double the fun.
What is your name and your author’s name?
My name is Spurius Brutus Felix. It’s a bit grandiose, so everyone just calls me Felix. Assaph Mehr (my owner) says it’s a fine old name.
Mice to meet you Felix. What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
I didn’t appear in any books per se, but Assaph has named the protagonist of his novels after me. The reason is that the very first time he sat down to write his very first novel, this happened:
However, he did name his protagonist ‘Spurius Vulpius Felix’, known as Felix the Fox. I can forgive the name change (everyone calls us both ‘Felix’ anyway), but I don’t like that fox bit. Cats are so much cooler.
Cats are definitely cooler than foxes. They’re cooler than all animals IMHCO (In my humble cat opinion).
[Assaph’s note: ‘Spurius Brutus Felix’ is Pig-Latin for ‘lucky stupid bastard’. I didn’t tell Felix (the cat) because don’t want to break his heart. The protag’s name is inline with ancient Roman naming conventions, which in (historically inaccurate) pig-Latin would mean ‘Lucky Foxy Bastard’. This describes the protagonist far better than he’s willing to admit.]
I will keep that between us, Asssaph. Thank you for the clarification, I think.
So, Felix, are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.
Oh yes! Assaph has just released In Numina – the second Story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic. In it Felix (not me, the other one, the book character) solves strange cases no one else wants to touch. He’s a sort of paranormal investigator for a Roman-inspired world. Think Lindsey Davis’ Falco dealing with the occult, or Harry Dresden in a Toga (that last one is better – he has a cat).
That is so pawsome. Can you share an excerpt from one of your author’s books that features your counterpart in an important scene? If so, please include it.
I’ll share a scene with my namesake, from his most recent adventure. He just broke his leg, so was in a foul mood. I fully approve of his way of dealing with it.
As if to reinforce my resolve to protect Aemilia, in a grim reminder of my past, the next morning I found Araxus knocking on my door. He was bedraggled, stooped, unwashed, unshaven, but his green right eye was looking at me openly and the mad black one seemingly under his control.
“Do you have a pig?” he asked before I could say anything.
“Never mind, you will. It’s about the tabulae defixiones that we disposed of the other day. Do you still have them?”
“Yes,” I replied. “Why?”
“I wanted to check something.”
My hackles rose. “Do you think they are not inert? I thought we disposed of their magia safely.”
“We did, we did. They are nothing but plumber’s supplies now. Could I see them, please?”
“Did you think of some new aspect?” I asked, motioning for him to follow me to my study. I dug out the curse tablets and handed them over.
He unfolded one carefully and examined the engraved signs. As he read, his green right eye clouded, darkened, became as black as his mad left eye. Clouds drifted past my window and the room acquired a chill.
“Well?” I asked. “What is it?”
He turned both black eyes on me, his gaze boring into my soul. Shivers ran up my spine and my broken ankle began to ache and throb.
“It’s as I feared,” he said, voice rasping. “There is more baaa to this than a baaa curse. It’s not a mere supplication to the major baaa gods, it’s almost a love sonnet baaa to invite them to procreate. Do you realise what this baaa means?”
“It means you are insane.”
“No! It means that the black sheep has three bags of wool! Baaa!” And with this he broke into a mad little jig, reciting a silly children’s ditty about lambs. After a while I gave up trying to restore his reason, and — somewhat fearful that in his mad state he might reactivate the curse tablets — escorted him out of my house.
After Araxus left, I needed some time away from everyone and decided I would not be getting it at home.
Given my impaired mobility, I could not take on another case. I was in no condition to walk far, but I limped down to the docks between the grain and fish markets, found a good corner, and left a honey-cake in the shrine of the nearest crossroad lar. I chalked ‘FORTUNES TOLD, CURSES IDENTIFIED’ on the wall, sat down on a folding stool under it, put on airs, and busied myself with a scroll by Thrasyllus on star-gazing which looked impressive with all its strange and foreign symbols.
It also kept my mind away from Aemilia and what I needed to do with her.
On the way home, I could feel my ankle getting stronger. Whatever charms Petreius had weaved into the cast were working their magic. Still, limping on a plastered leg, a crutch in one hand and my folding stool and scrolls in the other, was hard enough without impairing my balance further. So despite a strong desire to forget Aemilia, my better judgement prevailed and I only had one drink on the way home. I sat in a tavern, ordered some fried and stuffed bread, and sipped a half-decent vintage that required just a pinch of cloves and sugar of lead to make it palatable.
I was about to leave for home when Araxus walked in and, with a heavy sigh, sat at my table. Without looking at me or any acknowledgement, he took my cup and poured the dregs of wine from the jug into it. There was barely a quarter-cup left. He dipped his finger in the little saucer of sugar, then swirled the wine with it. As he did, the wine rose, filling the cup. I was still in shocked silence when he lifted it up to his lips and drank deeply. While that spoke volumes about his table manners, it gave me little clue about his mental state.
“And hello to you, too,” I finally said. “What brings you into the town?”
“I need to find my friend Felix,” he said. “He needs my help.”
“Oh? Do tell. What trouble has ‘Felix’ gotten himself into this time?”
“He needs a priest.”
“You are no priest,” I said.
“And neither is he. You see,” he leaned close to me, his reek overwhelming, “we could never worship the Magna Mater — we love our testicles too much!” At this he erupted into inane giggles which turned into hiccoughs.
Still, he could be prophetic at times. Not for nothing is the power of prophecy linked to curses and madness. “Why does he need a priest?”
“How should I know?” he said.
“So how do you know he needs one?” I asked through gritted teeth.
“Felix! You said he needs a priest!”
“Felix, what are you talking about? Who needs a priest?”
I took a deep breath. “You just walked in here, said you were looking for me because I need a priest.”
“Did I? No one in your family left to die, so perhaps you’re getting married soon?”
I had enough of him, and stood up to leave, dropping a few coins on the table. Araxus’ hand shot out and grabbed my wrist. His green eye was still looking at the wine cup, but his black one looked straight at me, through me.
“I will be there when you need me,” he said in a hoarse whisper. “I still have much of my debt to repay you.”
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
I am the inspiration to my author’s writing, of course. I’m a muse of the arts, as is right and proper for a cat.
If you ask about the other Felix, he’s the protagonist. In a classical hard-boiled detective style, the stories are told in first-person point of view. He’s a not quite fully trained wizard, an investigator of both the mundane and the occult, and makes his living by making problems (such as dead relatives) go away.
Love it! Are you a talking cat or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
I like to remind my author when he’s being lazy. I am quite capable of admonishing him in the morning when the food bowl isn’t properly filled up to the top. Other than that, I am a sneaky ninja. It’s my sister who’s the more editorial type:
She is not afraid to voice her opinion. Then again, perhaps that is why I am the muse, and she’s not in the books.
You may be right. What advice would you give other cats?
Learn from my sister and me. Be the muse, not the critic.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
Assaph has just release In Numina. Here’s the blurb:
This is the second story of Togas, daggers, and Magic – for lovers of Ancient Rome, Hardboiled detectives, and Urban Fantasy.
A rich landlord finds tenants are abandoning his apartment buildings, spouting tales of horrific events and whispering that the old gods – the numina – came alive and cursed the buildings.
Enter Felix, a professional fox. Dressed in a toga and armed with a dagger, Felix is neither a traditional detective nor a traditional magician – but something in between. Whenever there is a foul business of bad magic, Felix is hired to sniff out the truth. Now he must separate fact from superstition – a hard task in a world where the old gods still roam the earth.
In Numina is set in a fantasy world. The city of Egretia borrows elements from a thousand years of ancient Roman culture, from the founding of Rome to the late empire, mixed with a judicious amount of magic. This is a story of a cynical, hardboiled detective dealing with anything from daily life to the old forces roaming the world.
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
Yes we are! While I don’t have accounts of my own, I routinely feature on Assaph’s Instagram feed. My images get the most likes, even more than Felix’s quotes and (shudder) pictures of Australian backyard wildlife.
Mailing list for free novella: https://subscribepage.com/egretia
Google Plus: http://plus.google.com/+AssaphMehr
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Assaph-Mehr/e/B015U1F3NC
In Numina on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2AWU46z
Murder In Absentia (book 1 of the series) on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XbfKN1
Purrfect. Thanks so much for the cat chat, Felix. I will definitely look up you and your author. Best whiskers to you all on your new release and future books.