Tag Archives: tales

Feline Book Feast

17 Dec

This month’s guest is Elizabeth Ann Scarbourgh. An author that I respect and a person I appreciate very much. It was on her recommendation that I sent my manuscript off to GSP and as a result became a published author. We share a love of cats and writing. I first ‘met’ Elizabeth on United Cats, a site that we both belong to. Our friendship was forged over our cat’s blogs and emailing back and forth. Earlier this year Elizabeth published a feline adventure as told by her past cat, Kittbits, ‘Spam vs the Vampire.’ A wonderful fun story about cats, forest animals and vampires. We are also highlighting ‘9 Tales of Cats’ the most recent of her books that has just come out. A series of short stories making it a wonderful feline feast!

Thank you Elizabeth for joining us for this post.
Having just readโ€“ and loved โ€“ Spam vs the Vampire, it intrigues me as to what inspired this story?

EAS: Well, we live in the town Port Deception (the town in the story) was modeled on. This is just about 75 miles or so from Forks, where the sparkly vampires of Twilight are supposed to live. We had about a solid 2 weeks of high winds earlier in the winter when I started SPAM, and for a period of time, were cut off from the rest of the world with both transportation and communication compromised (at least intermittently). As I mention below, this started out to be a straight cat mystery but the motivation worked out better if the culprit was a vampire.

Why did you choose to have your cat ‘write’ it?

EAS: It’s in first person from the viewpoint of Spam, the feline protagonist, and his appearance and backstory (about the philandering feral father) are all borrowed from Kittibits (K.B. Dundee) anyway, so I decided to make him my co-author. HIS story is that I can type and am alive and he can’t and isn’t so he made me HIS co-author.

I believe it was set in your town. Were any of the human characters based on people that live there?
Only the crew at Sea-J’s fish and chips cafe, where Spam enjoys fine dining with his new best friend Maddog. I don’t think I used any other real people, though many of the places were real. In the next one, THE TOUR BUS OF DOOM, a couple of my friends on the staff at Elevated Ice Cream make cameo appearances.

When you created the character of Spam did you have a particular cat in mind or is he a general feline? ๐Ÿ™‚

EAS: Is there any such thing as a general feline? In my experience, they are all most individual and particular felines. As I said in the second question, Spam’s appearance is based on my rainbow cat Kittibits. His personality, however, is much bolder than Kittibits’ and is much more like that of Cisco, who supervises me now along with his brother Pancho. Both of them are black, however.

Stories which includes vampires usually conjure up dark images of old castles and werewolves but Spam vs the Vampire is light and fun. Did you plan it this way?

EAS: There have been some funny vampire books. Most of the recent ones have been romantic and I guess part of me was saying “ooooh, noooo, girlfriends. Didn’t you read Dracula? Vampires may be theoretically sexy in some books but would you really want to marry one? The underlying theme is actually not so funny–you never know who someone is even in real life, much less some guy you meet on the internet who comes from far far away and has delusions (or maybe not) of vampirism. Not all ladies will have a noble feline on hand to investigate if they disappear suddenly.
In fact, there was a real crime behind this story, although it didn’t involve vampires. A local woman I used to sometimes meet at the bakery in this story disappeared suddenly while out on a walk. Her elderly mother waited for her to come home, and she never did. There was a little search I guess but then everybody seems to have given up. I thought, what if it hadn’t been a mother at home but a cat or cats, sitting in the house waiting for her to come home but she never did? Nobody would know or care. So that part is quite serious too. I originally was going to write it as a straight mystery instead of a paranormal, and thought probably the woman would have been killed. But then in real life, the killings are almost always sex and torture related and I didn’t want to write one of those and also wanted my cat hero to succeed so I used a vampire instead, since they have their reasons for keeping victims alive.

An even more recent book of yours has just been released, 9 Tales of Cats. I love the title ;). As I believe these stories were previous ones you put together?
EAS: These stories are among the short stories I’ve written for various published anthologies over the years. Many of them are from Andre Norton’s CAT FANTASTIC anthology series. Their original publication dates are listed inside the book, for those who are curious. Oddly enough, I seem to have
written exactly 9 short stories about cats so the title fit.

Did you write these stories over a period of time or was the book completed in its entirety?
EAS: They were written over the last 30 years or so, while I was also writing my novels.

You also wrote two previous feline stories along with the late Science Fiction writer, Anne McCaffrey, the Barque Cats books. How did you and Miss McCaffrey set about working out putting the story together?
EAS: Anne and I had worked on fourteen other books together already and we both thought it would be fun to write about cats in space. She was also a great lover of cats (as well as horses, dogs and dragons). She had introduced Barque Cats in her Tower and Hive books and wanted to do a series about their own stories, as ships’ cats. She wrote the beginning and off we went…BTW, did you know that the original ships’ cats were Maine Coons and their close relatives Norwegian Forest Cats? The thick water resistant coat is helpful to them during cold wet sea voyages.

And as to future novels, after the success of Spam vs the Vampire, can we expect to see a sequel to this wonderful book?

EAS: Yes, I am working on THE TOUR BUS OF DOOM (with zombies), also a Spam story, right now, and have a couple of other ideas for further purranormals in the future.
Elizabeth thank you so much for being my guest today. I wish you Merry Christmas and may 2012 bring you even great literary success.
For the link to the above and other Scarbourgh novels: