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Prelutsky New Kids' Poet Laureate

Cat Correspondence

Recently I contacted the feline authors from Three Cats Write about their blog, where they are serializing a novel. They kindly  e-meowed me back with answers to the questions inquiring minds want to ask.

How did you meet the children's authors you live with? Did they give you the idea to write an on-line children's novel?

Asta: I come from a writing family and live with author, Mary Nethery. She says I was born to be a writer. She even has a picture of me when I was just a kit, cuddled up with a book—it was kismet.  Actually, if truth be told, I'm the one who did the inspiring.  I'm named after the terrier in the "Thin Man" series (slightly embarrassing to be named after a dog, but it gives me character).  I, in turn, inspired her to create a fictional cat named Asta who appears in her adventure novels. "Inspirational" is my middle name.

Jemima: I'm a popular romance writer so I never considered writing for children until my editor suggested it. The author I live with, Natasha Wing, is a children's book writer though. She probably influenced me a teensy bit. I mean, if you saw her lifestyle—she works mornings, hangs out with her friends, takes naps and doesn't have a boss—you'd see why I chose to be a writer.

Apollo: I met Barbara Kerley when she took my writing class, "On the Beat: The Writing of 50 Ways to Kill a Mockingbird."  She was looking for a cat, and I needed somewhere to crash when I wasn't in Hollywood.  So I moved in.  It's been very convenient.  We even use the same computer; she types by day and I type at night.

How did the collaboration work?

Asta: I tell you, we've downed a lot of brie and fish crackers together during all those meetings to plot out the story. We rotate meetings at each other's homes. BTW, my office is quite a mess right now—she's having it feng shui-ed.

Jemima: We each wrote the chapters that would be best told by our character's point of view. We then met a few times a week to edit them and make sure our writing styles blended.

Apollo: In meetings, on the phone, through emails, I even sent out a carrier pigeon or two.  WORK was the operative word.  The whole process from idea to completion only took five months.  We worked hard!

Why did you choose to publish the novel on a blog? Will your blog be published in book form?

Jemima: We wanted to use a current technology that delivered our work immediately to the public. We wanted it to be visually interesting, and hoped that the blogging community would pass the word around.  Buzz, buzz, buzz!

Apollo: But we are also going to shop the story around to traditional book publishers.  Too few books are written by cats—we want our story to reach the widest audience possible.

Asta: Intrigue . . . it's all about intrigue.  It was fascinating to consider how a blog might deliver a novel to readers, and what advantages it might have.  One unique advantage, of course, is that it allows readers to interact directly with the authors.  I love fan mail.


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Thank you for the fun interview with me and Apollo and Jemima! Such a pleasure talking with you, a writer and a true connoiseur of books and bookdom. BTW, having a taste for the haute cuisine myself, I'm pretty sure I'd love your chicken spaghetti casserole--hold the olives.

Asta, yes, very haute the chicken spaghetti. I can tell you have good taste. You're like my son with the olives. Now, the Big Orange Tabby, who permits us to live in his home, enjoys a good cup of tuna juice.

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