1. Why did you write the book?
For years I’ve had both a skeptical fascination with the paranormal and a deep love for cats. It seemed like a natural subject.
2. How did you put together the book?
All the stories came from people who kindly shared their encounters with me. The people were as varied as their experiences. I heard from clergy, doctors, attorneys and cat rescuers, just to name a few — mostly people who never believed in ghosts before their special meeting. The stories range from humorous episodes, like the phantom litterbox at a California hotel and the ghost cat who constantly teased the family dogs, to the thought-provoking visit to a dying woman by a cat named Grungy before the cat’s fate had been discovered. Rather than being frightened, people felt blessed and happy by the cat’s return.
3. Do you have any other books?
In addition to “Ghost Cats: Human Encounters with Feline Spirits,” I’m the author of “Kittens For Dummies” from the popular “Dummies” series. My book “Cat Wrangling Made Easy: Maintaining Peace and Sanity in Your Multicat Home” will be out in mid-December. I also wrote “All the Marbles,” a humorous science fiction adventure (with a cat, of course). I coauthored a humorous fantasy called “The Four Redheads of the Apocalypse” with redheaded authors Linda Donahue, Rhonda Eudaly and Julia Mandala. Our sequel, “Apocalypse Now,” will be out in 2008.
4. What has the feedback been on the book so far?
Some readers tell me they’re pleasantly surprised when they discover that it’s not full of scary stories, although a few encounters may make your spine feel a little tingly. Readers have drawn great comfort from the stories. “Ghost Cats” has helped many grieving people deal with the loss of their pets. Since the focus is on hope and love rather than fear, parents have said the book has helped comfort their children after the death of a pet.
5. Are you a cat owner? How many do you have?
My husband and I have six cats with a revolving door of foster kittens. I’ve been heavily involved in cat and kitten rescue for 22 years. I work mainly with bottle babies and have unfortunately experienced the loss of those fragile lives on many occasions.
6. Do cats influence your writing? How so?
Every writer has her muse, and all my cats and foster kittens are mine. I used to be a newspaper reporter. More and more, my features revolved around cats, their plights and the people who rescued them. Now whether it’s cat care and behavior in books or magazine articles, science fiction, fantasy or humor, you’re sure to meet my cats in some form or other.
7. What was the best part about writing the book?
I got to know each and every cat in the book through the eyes of the people I interviewed, usually the owner. By the time I finished writing each chapter I felt like I knew each kitty personally. Even though I never met them, I was sorry I had to say “goodbye.”