Hi Ellen. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to have an interview with you. You’ve written 10 books to date. Which one do you enjoy most writing? Why?
Hey this is fun! My first email blogger interview…. Oh boy that question is a tough one. Writing Tales is like keeping a diary or talking to my family because it’s all “everyday cat stuff” and I’m so chuffed at how many people like it that it is one of my faves. BUT, Logomania takes so much work that I am proud of the amount of effort it represents. And then again, I love Ollie the Orang Utan because he is fun. In fact, I’m going to try and refurbish Ollie. He didn’t really have a chance first time round; it’s time he got a break.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Writing is a compulsion; I get twitchy if I don’t write. Reading is the same for me. I usually have 3 or 4 books on the go at the same time.
What or who inspired Katz Tales?
My cats! I thought people might enjoy upbeat friendly stories about cats. It took years to sell the column, but Sharifah Intan from the Weekender Star took a chance on me – and it worked!
Out of curiosity. Why ‘Katz’ and not ‘Cats’?
I wanted to make sure it was easy to Google, and also easy to copyright.
After reading ‘Naming a Cat is a Serious Business’, it seemed to me so far that most of the feline friends in your stories got their names from the colours of their fur – Au’s because of his golden coat, Target’s too, because of the spot on his fur, same goes for Snow and Tam. I came across an article recently, which said that a pet’s name tells a lot about their owner. Do you think it’s true and that it applies to cats as well?
Definitely! It’s like people naming their kids. Some go for something pretty sounding, some hold to tradition, some choose odd names…. I know of cats who are called Duke and Princess, which I think says a lot about the way their human protectors feel about their pets.
You’re right about Au and Target. Scoop was named for being “scooped” out of the house; and also as a sly poke at the business of writing.
Usually I go for more people names. I once had a cat in Scotland called Oscar because he was so super clever (after Oscar Wilde, the playwright), and when my bro and I were little we had Hercules and Hermes, both black cats, who were named by my brother Ian who was going through a Greek phase. The cat we just rehoused I called Boris because he looks Russian, and my brother had a cat in Spain called Tanya, because she looked really sexy and he always thought Tanya was a sexy girl’s name. So Au and Target are a bit of an anomaly. Hmmmm, interesting!
I find it hard getting over Scoop’s death, missing him in the stories after his death. It must have been really hard for Tom, you and Au then. How long did it take you to get over it?
I still think of him every day, and I see him sitting on his box in front of the window in our bedroom when I walk by. Sometimes I hear his yargle-yargle-YOWEL!!! Which was his way of saying, “Hey, I’m back from my walk! Wake up and let me tell you all about it. It was GREAT!” in the middle of the night. So he’s still with me. But I do miss hearing his rusty purr.
Do you read your stories to Au and Target? If yes, how do they respond to it?
No, but I talk through ideas with them. And Target lies on my keyboard while I work. He is very good at pushing the F1 button if he thinks I’m stuck.
Let’s say there’s only one bowl of cats biscuits left, and there’s no way you could rush out and get more of it. Scoop, Bones, Au and Target are famished, whom would you give it to?
We never run short on biscuits! We run out of bread, of butter, of potatoes, and of rice, but we ALWAYS have a stack of cat biscuits and cat food in the cupboard. But if we ever ran short, we’d order chicken from the hawker centre. I think Au has them on speed dial anyway.
What are you working on at the moment?
A romance novel, the second Logomania book, a reworking of Ollie, and a story about dogs for Dog Talk.
All the best to you and your upcoming books, Ellen! :)