Tag Archives: Ireland

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.”


Clawless on Centre Stage

24 Feb

This month we are fortunate to have yet another wonderful guest, hailing this time from Northern Ireland. I am very excited to have Christine with us today as her project which you are about to read supports a cause close to my heart. I consider animals, especially pets, to be one of the most vulnerable parts of our society. They often end up in a less than pleasant situation and Christine’s project aids the relief for some of them. Let’s hear about Clawless the first, I believe, feline soap opera :).

“When Clawless came out – it’s release week, our publishers sent out a press release to all the magazines and newspapers that subscribe and I sent out my own press releases to local newspapers and was thrilled to get a call almost immediately. My local paper ‘The Newtownabbey Times’ wanted to send someone round to interview me and take a photo. Of course, I felt nervous but also pleased as it is great to talk about your own achievement but strangely difficult. How easy is it to say ‘My book is very funny and wonderful’? Well, easier than you think because I didn’t write it! As a co author it is so much easier to be able to say ‘Oh it’s so funny. The other authors are a scream and write so well.’  Plus ‘Oh one when person wrote something really funny you sort of felt you had to write something as good so we all helped each other to keep up the standard’.  And when asked which was my favourite bit – it was fun to be able to praise one of the other writers’ work.
I had a few calls and emails from the Authors online press release including a few children’s comics ‘Animals and Me’ being one. They loved the book but maybe it was a little ‘old’ for their 6 – 10 year old readers. But any publicity is good publicity.
Choosing the charities had been hard.  We wanted to give the royalties to a cat charity and one that wasn’t too big so they would appreciate our donation and preferably and international one but we couldn’t find one. International animal agencies are there but mainly for wildlife or endangered species and I was keen to use Bath Cats and Dogs Home again as they do such amazing work – I had got Kimmy from there and truly they are the best animal rescue of its type bar none, in the UK.   (they have a vet on site to care for the animals and a behaviourist to work with dogs who are ‘difficult’ so they can be rehomed and they rehome cats of all ages but always have a waiting list of cats to come in. The animals are very well cared for too.)  On a par with Battersea Cats and Dogs Home which is also excellent but no better and with a different type of stray problem being in London.
As we had 2 UK writers,  4 US, 1 Canadian, 1 Australian and 1 S. African – it should probably have meant that they royalties went to one US charity if we couldn’t find an international one but the publisher was in the UK and it seemed … well unfortunate not to capitalise on Kimmy’s fan base in the Bath area plus the fact that Bath Cats and Dogs Home had been remarkably good at helping me sell books before via their newsletters and shop.  So we decided to give to two charities  – Bath Cats and Dogs Home and Ann Scarborough’s local shelter, The Humane Society of Jefferson County (another small but hard working centre where animals are not routinely euthanised unless very old or sick)  and both charities were so grateful.  As yet we have not made a fortune for them and the sales have been slower than I would like but we are still hopeful that the world will catch on to Clawless and that sales will rocket.
Had we done a second book we would have used two other charities probably in Australia next time and maybe in the US as well.
For more info on Clawless:


It may purchased at: Authorsonline.co.uk

thank you Christine for being part of my blog. I wish you loads of sales.