Handsome Joe and his human, Amylynn Bright, write Regency romances like the Secrets Series (Lady Belling’s Secret, Miss Goldsleigh’s Secret, The Duke of Morewether’s Secret). While we might suggest these be retitled as Lady Don’tBellTheCat’s Secret, Miss Goldshedding’s Secret, and The Duke of Meowether’s Secret, since they are not just romances but comedies, my own human was intrigued and encouraged me to do this interview, since she likes funny stuff.
1) For Joe: So, your human writes books. Does this mean he or she is home all day and easy to access? Elaborate if necessary.
Nah, she still goes to her day job which is actually a blessing otherwise she’d be driving ME crazy 24 hours a day with the constant belly kisses and nonsense like that. Her husband found me in their boat when I was about five weeks old. I was a wild little thing then, but she’s an excellent cuddler, and I was pretty smitten with her from the get go. She took me with her to her job every single day for a year before the building manager put the kibosh on that. I’ll say I do miss battling the copier and eating the office plants.
2) Joe, she sounds pretty well trained. Amylynn, with cat adoration like that, why did you decide to be a writer instead of a cat sanctuary owner?
Honestly, I don’t know. There’s probably just as much money in sanctuaries as there is in publishing.
3) Speaking of $$, Joe, how large a proportion of Amylynn’s income do you have her devote to your gourmet tuna, cat beds, toys and other basic necessities?
WHOA WHOA WHOA. Are you telling me there’s gourmet tuna? What the hell?
4) There is, Joe. There is. Let’s give her a chance to redeem herself. Amylynn, tell us why you think cats are better than dogs? (Since you call yourself a writer, I trust your answer will be eloquent.)
Please don’t shun me, but I love dogs. I have as many dogs as I do cats. Jojo Kitty is best friends with my Lab, Winnie. However, cats are very helpful. Mine redecorate my desk, keep my keyboard warm, and maintain a watchful eye on the weird, tiny people inside the television. Dogs just lay there and bark at the mailman.
5) Joe, tell us more about your helpfulness. For example, what are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments, just because it’s fun?
I love to shove my face into a glass of tea. I also enjoy a good cursor chase across the screen.
6) And how do you give her all her best new ideas?
I whisper them into ear at night while she’s sleeping. I’m a cat. I’m stealthy.
7) Sounds like a dubious method, Joe. How has it worked so far? Tell me about the felines in your human’s fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play?
In her most recent book, The Duke of Morewether’s Secret, the other cat in my house was featured only she changed his name to Ferdinand which I find absolutely hysterical. I’m not in much of her fiction–so far–but I appear in her blog all the time.
8) Amylynn, that doesn’t sound like NEARLY enough feline worship! What are your plans for making sure you rectify this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?
So far, cats haven’t played a huge role, but I do suspect that will change as my current work in progress is about a veterinarian who owns a Savannah and a Havana Brown. One thing I love about writing fiction is that I get to have all the animals I want vicariously through my characters. There is no way on this earth my husband is going to let me have a $20,000 cat. Our cat Jojo was found in our boat as a feral kitten. I did get my husband to agree that if I find a Savannah in our boat I can keep it. Now I just have to figure out how to get one in the darn boat.
9) Joe, maybe Amylynn needs more…direct inspiration. What works of fiction or cinema involving cats does your human enjoy sharing with you?
I’m not too proud to admit we watch a LOT of Youtube. Also we own Puss in Boots. Puss is very handsome and orange, just like me.
10) Amylynn, what about you?
I love Hemingway. Hemingway loved cats. Also, I have an affection for Bill the Cat from Bloom County. That may be showing my age.
11) Amylynn, perhaps you can show us some of your narrative abilities now. Do you have any amazing, or at least humorous, real life cat stories you’d like to share?
I think Jojo might be homicidal. He drowns all his cat toys. I’ll find his entire water bowl full of pipe cleaners and cat nip mice. He doesn’t just put them in the water and walk away. He actually holds them down with his foot until they stop floating up. It’s a bit disturbing.
12) Joe, if you could make one change to your human, what would it be?
More fingers for scratching and a bigger lap.
13) I have to admit, Joe, except for neglecting your gourmet tuna and letting DOGS into your house, this writer of yours doesn’t sound half bad. Amylynn, what do you think? How goes the discussion about discipline in your house?
Blahahahahahahahaha. Discipline. Blahahahahahahaha. I do whatever the cat tells me to do.
14) Amylynn, here’s a bonus question: can you type with a cat stretched out across your wrists? If not, why not? Otherwise, how’s the carpal tunnel?
I absolutely can. I am firmly in the camp that says you may never, ever, under any circumstance, disturb a sleeping cat.
15) Prove it, Miss A! Here’s a multiple choice question. 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.
I’m choosing C but because I will take any excuse whatsoever to procrastinate. If the cat wants to procrastinate with me, he’s welcome to it. I love company.
16) And last but not least, Joe, did your human name a character for you? Are you pleased? If not, why? And did your human name you for a fictional character? Hate it or love it?
So far no, but I suspect that’s because she gave me such an original name–Joseph “Jojo” T. Kittywiggles, Esq. That’s quite a mouthful, don’t you think? Mom just calls me Sweet Baby Joe.
Thanks to Joe and Amylynn for being our guests today!