This week we’re dipping into the brain of author Shelley Munro, whom I will forgive for writing so many books talking dogs, of all things, since her interview answers are so very respectful and she has also written about felines!
1) Why did you decide to be a writer instead of a cat sanctuary owner?
I thought about being a cat sanctuary owner, but my sister beat me to the job. I’d need both fingers and toes to count the number of cats she looks after. Since there was already a cat sanctuary owner in the family, I decided I’d go for writer because I could at least write about cats.
Cats have attitude and plenty of personality. Cats are independent and a little sassy, knowing exactly what they want from life. They’re not afraid to let their owner know what they want and to apply discipline, should their owner be slow in following directions. Claws, anyone? I think it’s very relaxing stroking a cat, although I have to say there is one particular dog that I think is pretty special.
3) Tell me about the felines in your fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play in your narratives?
I write a series called Middlemarch Mates. It’s about a feline shifter community who live in the small country town of Middlemarch, New Zealand. Most of the shifters are the leopard variety, but there are two lions and I’ve just written about some new tiger shifter arrivals. Each of the seven books to date is about a feline shifter and his/her romance with his prospective mate.
My series was inspired by a story in the New Zealand Herald about mystery alien cat sightings in Canterbury, New Zealand. I loved the idea so much that I started thinking “what if”. I moved the cats a bit farther south to Middlemarch and my series came to life. For more info, excerpts and some background photos visit my website http://www.shelleymunro.com/
4) On the off-chance you have yet to incorporate cats into your fiction, when do you plan to rectify this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?
I’m way ahead of you. I not only have my Middlemarch Mates series but I have a feline shifter historical story set in Egypt coming out in July from Ellora’s Cave. I also have a Quickie called Price of Love featuring feline shifters. That’s already available from Ellora’s Cave.
5) What are your favorite works of fiction involving cats or favorite fictional cats?
I enjoy Nalini Singh’s Psy series and Lora Leigh’s Breed series. In fact, if a paranormal romance features a cat, then I’ve probably read it.
6) Do you have any amazing, or at least humorous, real life cat stories you’d like to share?
I have a couple for you. One of my sister’s cats is named Joe. He’s a Maine Coon Cat with extra toes. He’s always been very inquisitive and keeps a close eye on any visitors to the farm. Servicemen have to be particularly careful because he steals their tools. They climb up ladders and when they come back down screwdrivers and wrenches are missing from their toolboxes. Joe also likes to take my sister gifts: mice, rats, live ducks and eels have all landed on her bed in the middle of the night. Nothing like a surprise present from a thoughtful cat!
When I was a kid, we had a ginger cat called Mickey. Mickey was great with my brother, sister and I and very patient with children. We used to dress him up in dolls’ clothes and push him around in a pram for hours. He was wonderful company and lived to a fine old age.
7) Multiple choice 1. What is your preference and why?
A) Long hair
B) Short hair
C) No hair
— Note: I am not, of course, referring to the hirsute qualities of your most recent hero or heroine.
Short hair. I’m all about easy care without getting cold.
8) Multiple choice 2. You have a writing deadline but the cat who rules you wants some attention. Desperately. Do you:
A) Lock the cat in another room and keep working?
B) Pet the cat for a couple minutes and then toss her cruelly aside?
C) Pet the cat as long as she wants because you know it will inspire and refresh you?
— Note: If you answered anything besides C, we suggest you consider the fact you could have written a much better book if you had been inspired and refreshed instead of mean to the cat.
Ooh, I pick C. I can follow instructions.
How goes the discussion about discipline in your house?
It’s an ongoing discussion. There are faults on both sides and we do the compromise thing well.
What one thing would you change about your pet?
I’d like them to learn the language so we could communicate better.
Do you believe pets and humans come to resemble each other over time?
Well, I match my dog quite nicely. The dog has spots and I have freckles. I haven’t checked my sister’s toes so I’m not sure…
Can you type with a cat stretched out across your wrists? If not, why not? Otherwise, how’s the carpal tunnel?
I can’t say I’ve tried this yet. I need to do a little more research before I can answer this question with confidence. Carpal tunnel – nope, no problems so far.
When you’re in the zone with your writing, what does your cat have to do to get your attention?
A simple meow should do the trick. One of my sister’s cats has only three legs after an accident. He jumps on me and uses his claws whenever he wants attention. The jump comes without any warning whatsoever. It’s not good to daydream while holding a hot cup of coffee. I know this from experience.
Thanks for inviting me to talk with you today, Meankitty! My website: http://www.shelleymunro.com/