Catch Up With Author Gwen Cooper

Learn more about the inspiration behind her book, "Homer?s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat."

1. What was your inspiration behind the book?
It really was my husband who first had the idea — he was always fascinated by Homer. He would hear me tell these amazing stories about him, and he would ask me why I wasn’t writing them down. Eventually I began scribbling random notes here and there, and finally it all coalesced in my mind into book form.

2. What was the most difficult part of writing the book?
Writing the 9/11 chapters was incredibly difficult. It was hard both in terms of figuring out how to write them — this idea that I was writing about something that had already been written about by so many others — and in terms of the emotional toll that simply writing about it took on me. I thought that since it was eight years later, I would be able to write about it with a certain amount of emotional distance, but I was pretty much a wreck for weeks after writing those chapters.

3. What was the most rewarding part of writing the book?
There were certain passages or moments in the book where I felt as if I really had nailed it — that I had described Homer and his antics in precisely the way that would make him as vivid in a reader’s mind as he is in mine. That was always a great feeling!

4. What type of feedback have you received so far?
The feedback has been overwhelming positive. I have received thousands of e-mails from readers saying that they’ve fallen in love with Homer. He even receives care packages with “blankies,” catnip toys and treats from readers all over the country — he and my other two cats have become very spoiled lately!

5. What is your writing process?
I usually start with a detailed outline, which is the part that takes the longest. Once the outline is in place, then the process really is about having the discipline to get up early every morning and write. I usually start writing at about 6 a.m. and go until I reach a natural stopping point.

6. Do you have any other books?
I have a novel called “Diary of a South Beach Party Girl,” which was published in summer 2007. It’s very different than “Homer’s Odyssey!”

7. Do you own any other pets besides Homer?
Aside from Homer, I have two cats, Scarlett and Vashti. They’re definitely “big” personalities in their own right (as all cats are!), and they’re probably the two key supporting “characters” in the book.

8. Do your pets influence your writing?
It is great to write about your cats while they are still alive (as all three of mine are — “Homer’s Odyssey” has a very happy ending!), so that they are there for constant inspiration. The greatest thing about writing this book was that I never once felt like I was running out of ideas. Even when I’m not writing about my cats, they’re always there to sit on my lap or crawl all over the keyboard while I’m working, and generally do what they can to support the effort!

Stacy N. Hackett shares her Southern California home with two adorable Cornish Rex cats, Carson and Evita, and a playful tabby named Jackson.


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Cats · Lifestyle