I’m delighted today to welcome author Janet Cantrell (who you may recognize later) to Thoughts in Progress to talk about FAT CAT AT LARGE, the first installment in her brand new Fat Cat Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.
Janet joins us today to talk about where Quincy, the tubby tabby featured in the series, came from. But first, here’s a brief description of the book.
When she’s not dreaming up irresistible dessert bars for her Minneapolis treatery, Bar None, Charity “Chase” Oliver is running after her cat, Quincy—a tubby tabby with a gift for sniffing out edibles. But what happens when this cat burglar leads Chase to the scene of a real crime?
The jig is up for Chase’s adorable plus-size cat, Quincy. His new vet says “diet”—that means no more cherry cheesecake bars. From now on he gets low-calorie kibble only. But one taste of the stuff is all it takes to drive him in search of better things. Quincy’s escape is the last thing Chase needs after the nasty run-in she has with underhanded business rival Gabe Naughtly.
Chase tracks Quincy down in a neighbor’s kitchen, where he’s devouring a meatloaf, unaware of the much more serious crime he’s stumbled upon. Gabe’s corpse is lying on the kitchen floor, and when Chase is discovered at the murder scene, she becomes suspect number one. Now, with a little help from her friends—both human and feline—she’ll have to catch the real killer or wind up behind bars that aren’t so sweet.
This delightful new book includes recipes for people, as well as cats.
A Fat Cat Mystery #1
Berkley (Prime Crime), September 2014
304 pages Paperback
Now please join me in giving a warm welcome to Janet as she tells us about Quincy. Welcome, Janet!
Where Did Quincy Come From?
Other than the animal rescue shelter in Chicago where Chase Oliver picked him up, you mean? I was lucky enough to be the caretaker and servant to two rescued feral cats not long ago. One of them was Quincy’s prototype. They came to me pre-named by the woman who was fostering them, and the names were perfect.
The slim, handsome fellow, a Russian Blue with thick, dense fur, did have a name change before we got him. He was first named Lady Jane Grey (look for this name in the second Fat Cat book, FAT CAT SPREADS OUT). However, by the time it became evident that he needed a new name, he answered to Jane. His name was changed to James because he would answer to that one, too. I sometimes called him Sir James because of his regal composure.
His litter mate was named Agamemnon and that name stuck. He was a mighty little warrior, just like the ancient Greek, and he was so smart it was almost creepy. Agamemnon had to be my model for Quincy. It was a natural fit.
That guy was hard to entertain. If you dragged a feather toy, he leapt a couple of times, then followed the string with his eyes up to the stick, then to my hand. “Ho hum,” I could hear him thinking as he quit playing and washed his face. “This is just her. Not a bird at all. No wonder it doesn’t smell right.”
He was quite young back in the days when Elf Bowling was popular. The first time he heard me finish the game and make Santa pop up saying “Ho ho ho,” he was instantly in my lap, staring at the bobbing Santa and swiping at it with his paw. The next time I played, he was in my lap to begin with, intensely interested in the whole thing. How could I not let him play? The player bowled the ball at the taunting elves by hitting the space bar. If you hit it at the right time, you got a strike. I would hold Agamemnon’s paw over the space bar and “help” him by pushing it down the best I could to get him strikes and spares. He would, no lie, play an entire ten frame game waiting for the Santa finish.
More than once, when I would be in the bedroom with the door closed, he would jump onto the cedar chest beside the door and try to open it. He would curve his paw over the doorknob and attempt to turn it. He knew exactly how to open the door! Physically, he couldn’t do it, but he sure knew how.
That first scene in FAT CAT AT LARGE where Quincy unzips his soft-sided carrier from the inside? Yep, Agamemnon is where that came from. He was hard to crate to begin with, but when I finally got both of them crated and was gathering my purse and phone and car keys to take them to the vet for shots, it was dismaying to find Agamemnon’s crate empty and gaping open.
Also, like Quincy, Agamemnon stayed on the pudgy side. He loved to eat. His brother, James, was always slim and trim, but Agamemnon, a sleek all-black beauty with shiny fur (James’s looked like matte next to his glossy finish), was hard to take and keep the pounds off. He never got too heavy to leap to the top of any piece of furniture in the house, though.
He also loved to attack the paper as it came out of the printer. Quincy hasn’t done that yet, but, come to think of it, he should.
It’s been fun to resurrect my memories of the smartest cat I ever knew and let him live again through Quincy. I love being a writer!
Janet, thanks for joining us and sharing this look at where Quincy came from. It’s amazing what cats learn or just seem to know how to do. I have a cat now (Traveler) that goes for my hand instead of the feather on the end of the string. :-)
Now let me properly introduce you to Janet.
Janet Cantrell is a pen name for Kaye George, Agatha nominated novelist and short story writer. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, Guppies, and Austin Mystery Writers.
Her cozy Fat Cat Mystery series debuted this month with FAT CAT AT LARGE, featuring Quincy, a pudgy, adorable cat who is an accomplished escape artist. Especially when he’s on a diet and hungry. Leave it to Quincy to lead his human, Chase, co-owner of a Minneapolis dessert bar shop, into trouble.
Janet lives in Knoxville TN, with her husband. Her recently departed feline, Agamemnon, is a source for some of Quincy’s antics.
For more on Janet and her writing, visit her website and her blog.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you have or have you ever had a cat that acts almost human at times? What is the funniest thing your cat (or a cat you know) has done?
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