1. Why did you write the book?
I wrote the book for fun. It’s fun for me because I love to tell stories, and writing a book gave me a chance to tell dozens to people I don’t even know. I think it’s fun for the reader, too, because “Catnapped” never takes itself too seriously.
2. What was your inspiration?
I based the mystery elements on a case I heard about when I was just starting to practice law. A woman left her considerable fortune to her cat. The woman had family who didn’t appreciate her choice, but the truth was her cat was her closest companion for a very long time. If anything, that cat made her final years bearable. What seemed crazy at first proved to be the most sensible thing in the world.
3. What is your writing process?
When writing the first draft of a book, I write out of sequence depending on my mood. The “Animal Instinct Mystery” series is perfect for this because it has action scenes and romantic scenes and comic scenes. If I’m feeling funny, I try to crack myself up. If I’ve had a tough day at the office, well, it is a murder mystery.
4. Do you have any other books?
“Doggone,” the sequel to “Catnapped,” is due out in September 2008. I’ve also written numerous short stories, many of which can be read online at the Santa Fe Writers’ Project.
5. What has the feedback been on the book so far?
The feedback has been terrific. There is nothing more exciting than having someone send an e-mail and tell me how much they liked a particular character or how their cat is as smart as the one from the book. I’m running a contest on my website through the end of the year asking readers to send me their best pet stories. Those stories, hilarious to heart-wrenching, have been the best feedback so far. It’s like meeting a lot of new friends and knowing they are going to be around for a long time.
6. Are you a cat owner? How many do you have?
I don’t have a cat right now. I was sharing with my neighbor who moved to the country. Ralph decided to go with her for the wide-open spaces. Now it’s just my dog Koko and me.
7. Do cats influence your writing? How so?
Flash, the cat in “Catnapped,” is the only character based on a real “person.” She was my childhood (and adulthood, since she lived to the age of 22) cat. Flash had such an abundance of personality. She had a penalty box and used to tattle on my stepfather all the time. I miss her terribly.
8. Were certain parts of the book more difficult to write than others? Which ones?
The hardest part for me is the rewriting. It’s hard not to fall in love with some characters or scenes. I had a hilarious scene with Russ, the best friend, and Flash in early drafts of “Catnapped,” in which Russ tried to teach Flash to beg. Instead, Flash ended up teaching Russ to meow. I loved it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a place for it in the final draft, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Flash get the upper paw in an upcoming book.