Meankitty Wants to Know: Vanessa Kelly

Last week, author Vanessa Kelly kindly let my human Typing Slave come blather at her blog about some dumb book that came out February 20 with canines in it. Hiss! So today we are going to interview Kelly, who writes Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra. She occasionally departs from the Regency world to write romantic suspense and contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes. You can find her on the web at  or

1) Why did you decide to be a writer instead of a cat sanctuary owner?

Sadly, cat hair makes me sneeze. Plus, I’ve been writing in some form or another since high school. I was an English major in university and grad school, and then a researcher for a trade union. Moving into fiction writing was pretty much a natural extension of what I’d been doing for years. And more fun, I might add.

2) Why do you think cats are better than dogs? (Since you call yourself a writer, I trust your answer will be eloquent.)

Um, I have to plead the Fifth. The various dogs in my extended family would be most unhappy, otherwise.

3) Why is your household currently deprived of a cat? It’s not because of the writing partner, is it? We find many catless authors blame their significant other for this sad state of affairs. Some crap about “allergies”.


4) Tell me about the felines in your fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play in your narratives?

*Scratches head* Let me get back to you on that one.


5) On the off-chance you have yet to incorporate cats into your fiction, when or how do you plan to rectify this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

Very soon. I’ll keep you posted.

[[Meankitty’s Note: We will be waiting.]]

6) Ok, fine, if you want, you can tell us about the dogs or other animals in your books too. Briefly.

I did have a dog in my last book. He was a spaniel puppy named Badger, and he made a brief appearance in the epilogue of MY FAVORITE COUNTESS. As a puppy, Badger engaged in various nefarious activities which are best left unmentioned. I also have a dog in my upcoming October release, HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE. He plays a bigger role since my heroine has to rescue him AND face down a band of criminal smugglers, all at the same time.

7) As a sometime-suspense writer, why do you think there are so many mystery series involving feline protagonists and not that many with dogs? It’s because cats are smarter, isn’t it?

I would refer you to the Stone Barrington mysteries by Stuart Woods for the answer to this one! See also Karen Robards, who has many dogs in her books. Oh, wait. Now that I think about it, most of the pooches in her novels are pretty dumb.

[[Meankitty’s Note: Yay for accuracy!]]

8) And what is UP with those Regency kittens? So much better than “Regency Puppies”, am I right?

I must confess that I’ve never met a Regency kitten.

9) What are your favorite works of fiction or cinema involving cats or favorite fictional cats?

Bell, Book and Candle was a good one.

10) Tell us a story or two about dogs embarrassing themselves. Since you’re a self-declared fan of dogs and a frequent dog babysitter, you probably have some good ones.

Well, there was the time one of my standard poodles pulled an entire raw chicken out of a shopping bag my mother accidentally left on the back porch, and ran around the backyard as he devoured it. That same dog also once ate a dead seagull carcass, and then regurgitated the remains at my feet. In every other respect, however, he was an awesome dog who just clearly had a thing for dead poultry.

11) How were dogs and cats regarded during the Regency period, during which many of your books are set? While cats probably weren’t worshipped like in the good ole days of Egypt, were cats considered as awesome in the 1800s as they are now?

I think life for most animals during the Regency period was probably pretty brutal. Unless the animal was a pet owned by the middle or upper classes, or were horses owned by noblemen, I doubt they were treated very well. Dogs probably had an advantage as useful working animals, and cats were likely welcome on farms and in kitchens as deterrents against vermin like rats and mice, but most people back then probably did not sentimentalize animals the way we do. It’s one of those elements of the time period that you don’t want to look at too closely.

12) Did you know it’s been clinicially proven (by me) that writers with cats make more money and are happier in general? As such, I believe there is a current ruling in the tax law for writers (the addendum I wrote) wherein you can declare all feline expenses as deductible.

Huh. You learn something new every day!


Stop by here on Thursday, February 23, when Vanessa Kelly’s book MY FAVORITE COUNTESS is getting properly cattified!

Meankitty & Jody W. *