Hi Readers! My name is Coal Train and I own author Elena Hartwell. She’s been very busy lately, so I thought I’d highjack . . . I mean, fill in for her, on her blog this week. To do that, I picked the perfect accomplice . . . I mean, subject, for my interview.
Author James L’Etoile has the lucky distinction of being chosen by a cat. And not just any cat, but a cat who has become an internet sensation: The one and only #NotMyCat. I’m so excited to interview this amazing feline.
To read my interview with James about his writing, click the link here.
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#NotMyCat, I love to see your posts on Facebook and Twitter. How did you become so popular on social media?
Hi, CT. Can I call you CT? ‘Cause you seem like the kind of cat that would go by a cool nickname. Anyway, the social media thing started when I snuck onto the author’s computer. I saw he was telling everyone all that I’m “not his cat” garbage. Like he has a choice. So, I started to make sure he knew I wasn’t about to go anywhere. The lady who claims she’s my owner lives a few houses down. She’s nice enough, but she’s gone almost all day—and I have needs. When the author isn’t looking I sneak on and log into my own Twitter and Facebook pages.
Both our authors travel a lot, and no matter how much I try to sneak into her luggage, she always finds me. I’ve noticed your author is now traveling with a stunt double for you, have you made any plans to kill the stunt double and go in his place on future travels?
Yeah, he’s been gone a lot from Toronto, to Reno, New York, San Francisco, and Florida. The stunt double was actually my idea. Do you have any idea how much work it would be for a Diva like to me pack all the toys, catnip, and my cat “unmentionables?” Not to mention the crate they think I would have to ride in while he jets around. That just ain’t happening. No one puts this cat in a cage without getting a scratch or two. Besides, he can be out doing whatever it is that he does, and I can lounge around the house and fully claim it for my own.
Finding the right person is tricky, how did you choose your author?
CT, you are so right! I thought I found a family with two little boys that would pay attention to me. After my background check of sneaking in their house, getting a lay of the place, and figuring where I could sleep inside, I decided they weren’t the right fit. They were way too manic and busy to support my need for tranquility. I found the author sitting in the backyard writing. So, while he was occupied, I snuck inside through the dog door. The Corgi who lives there is a little intimidated by my lustrous black fur and let me pass. I felt a little like the Goldilocks character, moving from bed to bed until I found just the right one.
The author found me there and took my photo. He likes to capture my likeness in all my feline glory.
With the author around, I always have someone to scratch my chin as it should be scratched. I have needs. Have I mentioned that yet?
I find the best way to interrupt my author’s writing time is to climb up on the desk and run around between her computer screen and the window, what are some of your favorite ways to derail your author’s writing process?
It depends on how the author happens to be writing. If he’s writing out something longhand, I find sitting on his notepad and grabbing the pen with my teeth will get my message across. That message is pet me—only me. If he happens to be using the keyboard, I will sit my furry little butt right on the keys. It makes a strange clinking sound when I do that—now that I think of it, the author makes a sound when I do that. It doesn’t sound nice.
Even though I often create chaos and confusion for my author, I am an important part of her rewriting process. I know my interruptions force her to take a break, curse, and walk away from the computer. What do you bring to the table to help your author as he rewrites?
I supervise the entire creative process. I think as myself as the creative force behind everything he’s working on. If I don’t approve of a word, or a plot direction, I will do what I need to do to get my artistic vision across. That may range from knocking the pen off his desk, laying on the copy so he can’t see his notes, climbing in his lap so he has no choice but to slow down and type one handed (because he’s petting me with the other), or, in desperate circumstances, I will grab him around the neck to shake him out of his ways. Claws may be used when I really need him to stop and listen.
Since we are both left behind so often, what are some of your favorite ways to pass the time when your author is gone?
I fancy myself as a bit of an explorer. I’ll wander about the neighborhood and receive their adoration. Then I’ll eat tuna at the home of the woman who thinks she owns me. I’ll return to the author’s house and sleep on the grass. It’s too much work to go chase down the birds that make it impossible to sleep with their incessant chirping, so I’ll go in through the dog door and find a new quiet place to nap. I’ve been using the dog’s bed lately and it’s very comfy.
Hi #NotMyCat, I’m Coal Train’s little sister, Cocoa. Coal Train has been a lot happier since I arrived in the house. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
I’m the only cat in this house and that’s one of the reasons I chose it. I have no feline competition for attention or napping space. In fact part of my daily duties include chasing any other stray mangy cats away from the author’s house. I found it and it’s all mine. Well, I do have to share it with Emma the Corgi. She’s nice enough and doesn’t chase me like other dogs. She and I have an agreement, I won’t go in certain rooms that the Dog claims are hers, and she lets me camp out in the guest rooms—and anywhere else I please. Sometimes we go on walks together.
Emma does her part to make the world a little better – she works as a therapy dog and participates in events, such as Read to the Dogs, at her local library. She loves to work with kids!
Sorry about the interruption, #NotMyCat, Cocoa is always butting into things when I’m working. I have to admit though, I have trained her well. She has learned the art of climbing into my author’s lap and looking so cute, my author has to stop working and pet her instead.
Looking cute is part of being an author’s cat. I can sit in a box like nobody’s business. I own that box. The author is kind of needy, so I find I have to go out of my way to let him know I care. I’ll meet him for coffee in the morning before the sun comes up. Before. The. Sun. Comes. Up. If that doesn’t say I care, Don’t know what does. Then after he gets his first cup, I can slink off and take a nap—until I need to check his work.
One last question before I go and drag papers off my author’s desk and then take a nap in the sun. What is your author working on now? Can you tell us something no one else knows about him?
He should be working on a cat book. I mean come on, I’ve giving him all the hints here. Actually, the author has been a busy one. He has three standalone novel manuscripts done and working with his agent to place them with the right publisher. He will have two short stories released in upcoming anthologies in the next few months, and he’s writing a new novel in which he’s promised me that it will have a black cat wander through the pages. As far as something about him—hmmm—everybody knows he worked in prisons for years—It’s kinda like a animal shelter, but for bad people—but not too many people know he plays an awful guitar. The guitars are fine, but the noise he makes with them make me want to go chew on the strings.
Thanks for hanging out with us #NotMyCat! Cocoa and I look forward to following your future adventures!