We haven’t posted an interview in a while, so here is one with Rocco the Magnificent, who’s going to give us the low-down on what it’s like to manage writer-human Toni LoTempio. Rocco also has his own blog at Cats, Books, and…More Cats!
1) So, your human writes books. Does this mean he or she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.
– Ah, The HUMAN writes books but unfortunately she isn’t a heavy hitter like Stephen King or Nora Roberts, so must slave at a regular job from 9-5 (actually 6-3). This is good because she is away all day and leaves me lots of time to play with my brother, Maxx, torture my sisters Princess and Trixie (the old ladies – one is 12 and the other is 17), and generally get into catnip. When she comes home, she’s putty in my hands. All I have to do is look at her and “merow” and she’s right on me. Literally. Right. On. Me. (She’s a hugger)
2) As her inspiration (obviously), how large a proportion of her income do you have her devote to your gourmet tuna, cat beds, toys and other basic necessities?
– Not as much as I’d like. I make sure the HUMAN spends a good portion of her income on food for us (particularly moi) and on catnip mice and my favorite toy in the whole wide world, BALLIES. I LOVES MY BALLIES!!!!!!!!!! I’m also in the market for a jungle gym, but the HUMAN keeps coming up with excuses…she has to pay bills. What’s up with that??????
3) What are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it’s fun?
– Ah, my favorite past-time is torturing the HUMAN when she’s trying to write. I love to play “fetch” with my BALLIE and I will pad into the den whilst she is writing, drop the BALLIE at her feet and then dig my claws into her pants (she just LOVES that). Usually good for at least 15 minutes of “fetch”.
Then when I get tired of that, I sneak underneath the desk and start chewing on the cable wire, which more often than not results in my getting an unwelcome “bath” from the spray bottle, lifted up and put out in the living room. She tries to shut the door but HAH – of course Maxx and I have mastered the art of opening it. Evenutally we take pity on her and go for a cat-nap on the bed.
4) What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human’s writing career?
– It certainly cuts into playtime, I’ll tell you that! Before the HUMAN got this book contract, she’d spend time on a Sunday playing with me. Now she’s got her rear glued into the chair and her eyes glued to the screen. Of course, since MOI is the inspiration for her new series, I allow it. About damn time someone wrote a book about a primo detective cat!
5) Tell me about the felines in your human’s fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play? Are the Nick/Nora stories the first appearance of cats?
– Sadly, Nick and Nora is the first time the human has focused on felines, and that was at the urging of her former boss who told her, and I quote, “write about the damn cat” (Moi) which she did. It’s no secret that the Nick in Nick and Nora refers to a sassy, debonair tuxedo cat modeled after moi. And a better role model she could not find, if I do say so myself. (And I do, constantly)
6) For cats whose writer humans have yet to obey this prime feline directive, what advice do you have to encourage humans to incorporate cats into a story with proper attention paid to their importance?
– Humans are such a sorry lot, I’m not sure such a thing is possible. I would tell other cats, hey, meow as much as you can. Knock over your foodbowls. Go in whilst your humans are writing and distract them. Charm them with your wit and intelligence. IF they can focus!
7) What works of fiction or cinema involving cats does your human enjoy sharing with you?
– I hate to say this, but the HUMAN used to sit us all down on a Saturday morning and FORCE us to watch the Dog Show on Animal Planet! Did you ever? She’s pretty good about buying books that feature cats, though. That I will say. She’s fond of Miranda James and the Magical Cats series by Sofie Kelly. And she positively LOVES the Midnight Louie series by Carole Nelson Douglas (hey, a cat who talks like Bogart – what’s not to love?????) Actually, in the original manuscript of Nick and Nora, Nick talked – yep, talked a blue streak. Sadly, he talks no longer, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
[[MEANKITTY’S NOTE: mmmmmmmmm, fish.]]
8) If you could make one change to your human, what would it be?
– Can the baby talk. I understand the King’s English. Calling me an “uggy-wuggy little dumpling” just makes me want to cough up a hairball or two.
User submitted questions (answer only if desired):
Did your human name a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why?
– Yes, the character of Nick in NICK and NORA is modeled after me. Of course, had she named him ROCCO the Magnificent I would have liked it far better, but NICK suits just fine.
And did your human name you for a fictional character? Hate it or love it?
– I’d like to say yes, but actually ROCCO is the name I was given at the shelter where she adopted me when I was just 8 weeks old. Because I like to sit on my haunches and box (particularly my sisters – although I have wrestled Maxx to the ground), she has told me I must be named after Rocky (Sylvester Stallone). I guess it could be worse. I could be named Sylvester (although there is a very charming cartoon cat with that name!) Nickname SLY – hmmmmmmm.