Cat in the Book and the Birth of a Novel

If your cats are as much family to you as my cats are to me, and you’re writing a book, even a fiction novel, you can put your cats into your book as characters. Anne Rice put her dog Mojo in several of her vampire books as her character Lestat’s companion. George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) even wrote his turtles into one of his books. It’s not strange, nor is it corny. So, if you’re thinking about adding your favorite feline into a novel, go right ahead. I actually placed several of my cats, a dog who passed on and my horse into my latest novel, Beyond Every Mirror.

When I wrote the story (which began as a short story) in 1980 (yes, 1980)… I was a young teen in school. I sat in the back of the class and wrote many short stories. This one in particular, however, remained within my heart and was very special. It never left me, so 16 years later, I turned it into a novel. In the novel version, I wrote in my cat Sammy, my favorite cat at the time. I love all my cats, but sometimes one cat in particular holds a bit of a special place just above the others. For me this was my Sammy.

Sammy

Sammy was the first of my own cats to put into a novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also placed my Doberman at the time, Dillinger. I loved horses, so I added a horse, though back then I did not own a horse yet, so I made one up. I took one of my favorite breeds, an Andalusian (black rather than the typical white), and named him Camelot.

Unfortunately, the first few drafts of my novel went nowhere and the book ended up in a drawer (so to speak). I had pitched the novel at conferences I attended in the 1990’s and early 2000’s but the cross-genre (fantasy-romance) did not yet exist, and no one was willing to put their money on a newbie author in a genre that was not there.

Finally, after quite a few years, not only did the genre finally come into the marketplace, but it was growing by leaps and bounds. It was time to “dust off” Beyond Every Mirror and do a re-write, then try again. I attended a writer’s conference and spoke with an agent and an editor, who both showed quite a bit of interest in the book. But I wanted to re-work it first. It was so old and outdated and I needed to bring up to the times.

Enter Phase Three of this book’s life. I pretty much rewrote the entire book! My writing skills had grown massively during this time and I knew what I wanted to do to change the book around. By this time, both Sammy and Dillinger had long passed on, and I wanted to put my present kitties into the book, the last Doberman I had (who was extraordinarily unique) and of course, my horse!

I placed many cats, not just one, into the book. Sammy was still there, of course, but my kitten Lucy and several of my other precious felines made their way into the pages of this novel. Though I still kept Camelot in the book, I knew by this time that keeping one horse is almost an impossibility (and to a herd animal, cruel in some ways), so I gave Camelot an elder horse friend… My elder Paint, Kobeejo!

Kobeejo

My registered Paint horse, Kobeejo, was added to the book, as a companion to an imaginary horse that made it into the first drafts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book is finally complete, all animals accounted for, and I am doing a once-more read-over, then printing a B&W draft to send to friends, media and others in order to get blurbs and opinions before I send the manuscript off to the agent and editor who had asked for it originally. You can sometimes find adventures of the animals within the main character’s blog, Dane’s Dark Myst.

So, don’t be afraid to “write what you know” and add your pets to your books. It may help keep them immortalized.

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