This week, instead of my usual Feature Friday film of cute kitties, I’m showing a video of the Cat Writers’ Association. Have you heard of this group? If you feature cats in your books, articles, poems, blogs, photographs, etc., this is the group for you. CWA will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in St. Louis, Missouri this month. My author is attending this conference and will be speaking on a panel with other cat authors including Mollie Hunt, Patricia Fry, and Sandra Murphy.
In addition to being on the panel of “Communicating, Capitalizing, and Connecting in a Fictional World,” Debbie will be selling and autographing some of our books at a book signing at the Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch on Saturday, May 17. This event will also feature a fundraiser by the Humane Society of Missouri and is open to everyone.
Here is a video compilation of past CWA conferences from founding member and past president, Amy Shojai. Isn’t it pawsome? Note that a younger Debbie appears in the 1999 conference slide taken in Kansas City.
Head butts and purrs to today’s guest, Rags, short for Ragsdale. He is also called Ragsie by his favorite person, Savannah, in his Klepto Cat Mystery adventures by Patricia Fry.
Great to have you with us, Rags. Can you please tell us about the books you’ve appeared in?
I appear in cozy mysteries in the Klepto Cat Mystery series. We just published the 19th book in the series, “The Amazing CATventure.”
Oh, my Bastet! That is so fursome. I have only been featured in one book so far, but my second one is coming out very soon. I’d love to hear more about your long-running series. I’m keeping my paws crossed that my Cobble Cove mysteries will continue for many more books, too.
The Klepto Cat Mysteries features me and some of my cat, dog, and horse friends with, of course, a backdrop of humans. Savannah and Michael Ivey are veterinarians, although Savannah spends her time at home these days taking care of their toddler, Lily. It seems like there’s always something exciting to do in the small town where we live in Northern California. Most recently, while helping friends move to a new house, Dolly-kitty and I found an open window and decided to explore the neighborhood. We didn’t know it, but one of the nice people we met that week was lost and Dolly and I were able to help him find his way home. Do you know how many people have cameras to keep a watch over their property these days? Dolly and I had our pictures taken a whole bunch of times that week, which is how everyone knew where we’d been and what we’d been doing. They even caught us trying to outsmart a rattle snake and some naughty kids with slingshots. It was great to be free, but it’s much nicer to be home with your family.
Other human friends include Aunt Margaret, a rather cantankerous gal who loves an adventure and cats. Iris is Savannah and Margaret’s good friend and she married Detective Craig Sledge who often comes to me to consult on a difficult case. Really, although I don’t speak in the human language, I have helped the detective solve many a mystery.
Very Mice. There’s also quite a few human characters in my books as well as Fido, the dog. Occasionally, other animals make an appearance such as Muffin, another cat, who belongs to a young girl with leukemia in my upcoming book.
Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s?
My author’s cat, Lily loves to carry her small stuffed toys around in her mouth. She brings them to Patricia every morning while she’s writing about me and drops them at her feet. Sometimes she puts them in bed with her. I carry things in my mouth, too, but it’s usually something important, like a clue to a missing person or a murder or other mystery.
I look just like Patricia’s mother’s cat. Smokey is part ragdoll, but he looks more regal handsome (in my opinion). Patricia patterned me after him for his personality and confidence.
My author’s previous cat, Floppy, loved to play with lollipops. It was a favorite game he shared with Debbie, and she would find him carrying them around the house or swatting them under the refrigerator. She looked so silly using coat hangers to retrieve them. Humans can be quite funny. Now Debbie has Oliver, a 16-year old Siamese whom I am loosely based upon. I am much younger, of course.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? Please avoid those where you are cat napping, eating, or using the litter box.
This is from “The Gallery Cat Caper.” (Book 8)
“But this time,” Michael said, grinning at Peter, “would you keep the drama level down? Let’s have a nice, quiet weekend, shall we?”
“Uh-oh,” Peter said, pointing toward the edge of the deck, “you’d better issue the same warning to your cat.”
“Excuse me. Is this your cat?”
Michael and Savannah twisted toward the voice and were shocked to see a security guard standing there, holding Rags in his arms. “Yes,” Michael said, his brows creased. “Where…? How…?” he started.
The guard stepped up onto the deck as Michael walked toward him, reaching out for the cat. “Well, you see, sir, he wandered into Rudy’s Fish Place and was evidently bothering the diners. Someone there recognized the cat and sent me up here with him.”
“Oh my gosh, that’s a first,” Savannah said, feeling a sense of panic. “Where is this place?”
“Across town,” he pointed, “—say a mile or so. Someone saw him climb off a bus just outside the restaurant.”
Michael’s jaw dropped. “What?”
In the meantime, Peter and Rochelle sat stunned.
“He rode a bus?” Michael asked, disbelieving. “He’s never done that before. How did he…?”
Savannah walked up to Michael and put her hand on his arm. Looking sheepish, she said, quietly, “Well, yes, he has ridden a bus before.” She winced. “Haven’t I told you that story?”
Michael shook his head. “Honey…you’ve gotta be kidding me. The cat has a bus pass?”
“Yeah, I guess he does,” she said. “He rides for free.” She petted Rags as Michael held him, and then glanced up to see everyone looking at her, waiting to hear the story. “Well, when I lived in LA, I used to take him for walks. When I wanted to go over to Mom’s or one of us got tired of walking, we’d sometimes get on a bus. He loved riding the bus. So one day, we get on the bus and the driver tells me that he had taken Rags for a ride by himself a few times.”
“Oh my gosh,” Rochelle said. “Where did he go?”
“Well, one time, he just rode the bus through the route and when they came back to the stop close to our place, the driver booted him out. Oh yes,” she said, “he knows how to ride a bus.”
By then, Peter and Rochelle were bent over laughing. The security guard attempted to stifle his amusement.
Savannah continued, “So this evening, he may have hopped on a bus at the corner and ridden for a ways. When he smelled the aroma of fish frying, he decided to get out and investigate. Gosh,” she said, shaking her head. “I haven’t thought about that in a long time. I would never have guessed he’d…”
“But he’s not supposed to be getting out at all,” Michael said. “He has evidently found a way.” He addressed the cat, saying, “Sorry, buddy, but tonight, you’re sleeping in the big cage.” He walked into the house with Rags and disappeared.
The security guard took off his hat and rubbed one hand over his balding head. “Well, if that don’t beat all,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of experiences on this job, but never a bus-riding, escape-artist cat.” He turned to leave. “Well, thanks for the chuckle,” he said, as he stepped down off the deck.
“And thank you for bringing him back,” Savannah called.
Riding a bus? My, you are adventurous, Rags. The strangest thing I’ve done in one of my books is been a guest at a children’s story time in the Cobble Cove Library. I need to speak to Debbie about writing more exciting parts for me. In our upcoming mystery, Fido actually eats marijuana. Can you believe that? It’s by accident, of course, because the kidnapper feeds him some to keep him from barking; but, even so. I better have some fur-raising action scenes in the next book.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
The freedom I have to be me and to explore new ways to show my talents and purr-sonality. I’ve been featured in a documentary, I helped to free a young man who lived secretly in a mansion, I saved a kidnapped cat who was ill and needed her medicine, I was an eye-witness in a couple of murders, and I have helped the local sheriff’s department solve a whole bunch of crimes.
That is so pawsome. I am slightly green-eyed with envy, and that’s saying a lot because I have blue eyes.
Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
Do I talk? Only in cat language. I’m a cat, after all. Patricia doesn’t even share my point of view in our stories. Nope. Me and my animal friends are portrayed strictly as animals—some of us smarter and more clever than others, of course.
At least we have that in common.
What advice would you give other cat characters?
Let your creativity shine. Color outside the lines.
I like that.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
Book 19, “The Amazing CATventure” came out this month (September 2016). Here’s the description: Savannah and Michael Ivey happily agree that they’ll enjoy a rare quiet and relaxing summer. Little did they know, however, that their pact would soon be broken, as another mystery was unfolding at that very moment—one that would shock the entire community, cause a major disturbance in their quiet neighborhood, and, of course, involve their venturesome cat. Ever wonder what it would be like to put a GoPro on your cat? Follow along as Rags and Dolly launch out on the cat-venture of their lives with some startling consequences and amazing discoveries. And most of the action is caught on camera.
My whiskers are twitching to know what comes next. I love to read books featuring fellow cat characters, so I will have to check yours out soon.
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links. My author will probably be interested in following you as well as the readers of this blog.
Follow our Catscapades blog—http://www.matilijapress.com/catscapades. Also at facebook.com/KleptoCatMysteries
Purrfect. I hope to keep in touch with you, Rags. Thanks for the great interview and best whiskers to you and your author on your upcoming books.