Tag Archives: felines

and enter Kimmy..

2 Mar

Last week Christine shared with us the story behind Clawless. This week I am highighting yet another project of the lovely Irish author. To tell it in her words over to Christine :).

“When I left London in 200 7 after nearly 20 years, to move to Bath – I knew no one. Not one single person. I had given up a very busy job in television with a manic social life and what seemed like dozens of friends to go and live in a city where I would be working from home as a writer and hopefully making friends. But of course, it didn’t quite work like that and although I would never ever admit it, I felt a little lonely. I had always said that when I had the right sort of lifestyle I would get a cat and now I had the time to care for a cat and a house with safe courtyard so when Mum came to stay with me and expressed an interest in Bath Cats and Dogs Home it felt ‘right’ to go up there. Of course I fell for Kimmy, a tabby and white 10 year old who had recently been made Pet of the Week to try and rustle up interest in her as a long stay inmate.

I had never had a cat all of my own. We’d had family cats and dogs but I had never had one all to myself whose care was entirely my responsibility and I made all sorts of ‘rules’ with myself. I would not be her ‘Mum’ , I would not let her rule my life, I would go away whenever I wanted and find someone to care for her and I wouldn’t become one of those silly women who witter on about their cats all the time. Of course I broke all the rules within about a week – all except the going away ‘whenever’. The first time I left Kimmy – in the care of a pet minder, I was a nervous wreck all weekend.

Kimmy opened a world to me that I had never imagined – of love, trust and having another living creature to care for. She quite simply made me a better person and made my life just so much richer and I adored her. After regaling my Mum with yet another story on the phone she urged me to write some of them down. I had of course been doing just that in my diary but I began to wonder if anyone would be interested in reading about our lives together? I would write her diary with all royalties going to charity in my constant and eternal gratitude to Bath Cats and Dogs Home where she came from and where I was now working as a volunteer and making lots of other friends.

What followed was the Kimmy Diaries by Kimmy with narrative by both Kimmy and myself of our lives

together from when I first saw her in her ‘pod’ to our first Christmas.

Anyway, the manuscript did not take that long to write, a month or so and then was submitted to various agents – in order to find a publisher. That took time and was so frustratingly slow that I decided to fall back on the popularity Kimmy had on United Cats and in Bath itself and hope that they would buy a self published copy of her book. I was right to think this – because Bath was very good to me. The bookshops stocked it, Bath Cats and Dogs Home organised book signings and the local paper The Bath Chronicle did a feature on Kimmy and me. It was a Bath bestseller over the Christmas period and I felt ridiculously happy with it and was able to give Bath Cats and Dogs Home sizeable royalty cheques each quarter.

I was lucky enough to approach my favourite Media vet Pete Wedderburn to ask if he would write a foreword and he agreed. It gave the book such a good plug and some real validation. I was thrilled.

After nearly two blissful years I had to return home to Northern Ireland as my Mother had had an accident it spelled out that she could no longer live independently – as much as she wanted to. I would live nearby and be able to keep an eye on her. Of course Kimmy was coming too and I booked a taxi to take us door to door for Kimmy’s comfort. And of course this spawned the follow up to The Kimmy Diaries – Kimmy’s Irish Diary – 6 months from us moving from Bath to her first Christmas in N. Ireland. This book had many changes in Kimmy’s life from her having garden access, her making friends and meeting Mum’s cat Jamie for the first time. It was a very happy book full of stories about Kimmy and her new lifestyle and our life together. Again self published using Authors Online but sadly this time the sales took a back seat as Kimmy was diagnosed with cancer very soon after the book was published so I did little or no marketing to take care of her in what would be her final months.

A third Kimmy Diary will be available at some later date as we wrote about her last 6 months which I hope will please her many fans and bring comfort to those experiencing something similar. Her last months were shocking, sad and very distressing but they were also very ,very happy and led me to live my life in the present for the first time ever just taking one day at a time and being grateful for it.

If you want to self publish you do need to put a lot of work in. You have to market the book yourself. Design the cover – the publisher will help and you will have to take it round bookshops to see if they will stock it. You will also have to do your own publicity and if you want great sales you will have to put in a lot of hard work. But … if you choose a good publisher whose work looks professional on any shelf and if your own work is good, spell checked and proof read – you stand a good chance of selling as many – if not more than if you had a ‘traditional publishing’ deal. I was able to give £1.60 per book sold to Bath Cats and Dogs Home – for each book. And I am very proud of both.”