When my editor told me he wanted the protagonist in my Booktown Mysteries to have a store cat, it seemed like a no brainer. I’d just model the cat after one of my own. After all, I’d been proudly owned by cats since the age of six. Surely one of my current- or ex-feline friends would fit the bill.
And it didn’t take long for me to figure out which of my brood would be the ideal cat for my protagonists co-worker at the Haven’t Got a Clue mystery bookstore: Cori, my delicate, long-haired gray cat was placid, yet always interested in her surroundings. She was playful, but loved nothing more than to nap on a windowsill or a patch of sunlight. And because of her gray fur, the name of Tricia Miles’s cat came almost immediately: Miss Marple. (You can find not only Cori’s story, but that of all my cats on my Lorraine Bartlett website. Miss Marple has been stealing scenes since the very beginning. I’ve had readers write and tell me that they love the way her character has grown since the first book. (Although I’m not really sure what they meant by that.) Stationed on her perch behind the cash desk, she takes an interest in the running of Tricia’s bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue, will keep customers company as they browse the shelves, and likes to nap in the front display window or on one of the chairs in the reader’s nook. She always has an opinion, but doesn’t always get her way.
I wish I could say that about my real cats, who seem to have both my husband and me wrapped around their little paws. Two of the cats like to help me work. By that I mean, they like to sit on my lap and prevent me from working. Chester likes to rest his head on my right hand, and while he’s nice and warm (and my office does get cold), it’s not so easy to type or use the mouse. When he’s not sitting on me, he’ll plunk down on the other chair in my office–just to keep me company. Betsy likes to jump up on my lap (gouging me with her back claws first) and then turn around six or seven times until she’s comfy, and stay there until some part of my anatomy is deprived of blood flow. The other two cats usually have other things to do during the day, which is good because then I have at least an hour or two where I can actually get some work done.
That said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My cats are members of my family. They’re always there, and they rarely complain. (Okay, Bonnie does sometimes walk off in a huff if dinner is not to her liking.) When I’m sad, they comfort me. And when I’m happy, they want to sit on me and purr, just to show their support.
Yup, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett writes the Booktown Mysteries. Bookplate Special, her third in the series, is now available. For more information on Lorna and her books, please visit her web site: http://www.lornabarrett.com/, or catch her on her blog, Dazed and Confused: http://www.lornabarrett.blogspot.com/
To read my review of Bookplate Special, click here.