October 04, 2011

Today's Guest, er, Cat...and Nancy Lynn Jarvis, author of The Widow's Walk League

Today I have a special guest... Nancy Lynn Jarvis, author of the mystery, THE WIDOW'S WALK LEAGUE, is stopping by with her cat, Fala. (Actually, the cat is doing most of the meowing.)

And as a treat, my German Shepherd, Gracie, is "talking," um, barking over at Nancy's blog so be sure to go there, too -- tomorrow. Huh, cats, you know how they are.... ;>) Gracie did manage to ask our guest some questions before she pranced off:

Q: Nice to meet you. What's your name?

I’m Fala. I was named by children who met me at Christmas and were overexcited by the season. They thought it would be fun to call me Falalala, la, la, la like the carol. It was more than seventeen years ago. I was just a kitten and didn’t know better than to accept my fate.

Q: We understand you live with a mystery writer. Is she the parent of the children who named you?

Heavens, no! I climbed into my peoples’ car repeatedly when they came to visit my original people. It took me three years of clawing furniture and leaving mice in their shoes before they understood how unhappy I was and allowed me to escape with my new people. Humans can be so obtuse, don’t you agree?

Q: What breed are you?

That’s such a doggish question! I’m black with green eyes and intelligent and opinionated. Whatever breed that makes me, I’m certain it is a superior one.

Q: I'm not in my writer's book- yet - but I will be. I know it. Does your writer use you in her books?

Unhappily, no. She does have two cats who figure more or less in her mystery series, but both are modeled on cats who were members of the household before I arrived. In her books, Harry was adopted by the protagonist Regan McHenry and her husband Tom after his person was murdered, and Regan and Tom’s other cat, Cinco, is modeled after my writer’s cat Sophie.

Q: Do you help your writer when she writes?

I try to, but she’s not terribly receptive to my suggestions. When I try to type on her keyboard she gets quite agitated and shoos me away. Granted I’m a terrible speller, but she doesn’t even try to understand what I’ve written. Some of my best work has been committed to the ether by her too-quick finger on the delete button.

I’ve tried sitting on her lap purring to calm her as she types, but even that doesn’t work. She’s forever flopping around and talking out loud to herself as she writes as if she were living what she’s putting down on paper. Why, she has on occasion even ducked down behind a chair and pretended to hide.

I feel sorry for her sometimes; she seems to be in such a state, especially if finding a body is happening in her writing.

I remember when she was writing her first book, THE DEATH CONTINGENCY, she actually wound up curled in a ball crying and shaking, she was so upset. I think it was because her characters start out as someone she knows --- Regan was my writer, I think, until she found that body --- but now she renames them right away and says it lets the characters be free to do things the real people she starts them as would never do.

An independence expert like me could have told her that if she asked, but she didn’t. My writer has written four books now and she’s gotten better at the acting out part, but I still have to be careful if she’s doing a tense scene lest she trip over me.

** BUY: Click covers for Amazon.com links:

Q: Writing sounds hard on her? Do you know why she does it?

She says she enjoys it. Humans. I’ve heard her tell people she began writing at the start of 2008 as a game because she got bored when she took time off from being a Realtor, but who really knows.

If she’s having fun like she says, why does she work so hard on the mystery part of writing? Some reviewer said her mysteries were, “smart, funny mysteries.” Another one said they were “well constructed mysteries filled with well hidden secrets like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series.”

I think she took those reviews too much to heart. When she’s writing, she doesn’t even want to take a break to play string chase with me. I just don’t think she can possibly enjoy what she’s doing when she doesn’t even want to take time out to watch me being cute. Is your writer as foolish?

(No comment.)

Q: What sort of cat-astrophes happen in your writer’s books?

Cat-astrophes. Aren’t you clever? There are always catastrophes; she writes murder mysteries. Someone is always getting killed. The murderer is always trying not to get caught. Her character Regan is always trying to figure out what really happened even when the police think they know.

Regan’s people reading approach to amateur sleuthing is forever making her very logical husband Tom a little crazy and driving her long-suffering semi-retired policeman friend Dave right up the walls even though he doesn’t have claws. Sometimes Tom and Dave have reason to worry about Regan. I fear she’s not always as clever as she thinks she is because, even if she does figure things out in the end, many times she gets herself in real messes before she does.

Q: You said your writer has four books out. Which do you think my owner would enjoy the most?

Well, cats Harry and Cinco are prominent in THE DEATH CONTINGENCY, so I like that book. You might like BUYING MURDER because it has more action than the other books, you know, tail-chasing and things like that.

I haven’t had a chance to read THE WIDOW'S WALK LEAGUE yet because it’s new and we’ve had a gopher problem that has been requiring my full attention, but my writer laughed often when she was writing it and was talking about Halloween night, an old cars show, and a séance…wait, what am I thinking? Of course, you would like BACKYARD BONES the best. Duh!

You could always go to my writer’s website, and read the opening chapters of each of her books and decide for yourself, or if you have a Kindle, download a sample. Whatever.

Q: In closing, I'd like to remind you dogs rule. Do you have an opinion on that?

Have you ever heard of cat obedience school? Need I say more?

** Well! Nancy it was a pleasure. Gracie is reserving comment on Fala. Thanks, for stopping by!


  1. Hi, Nancy and Chris,

    I enjoyed this creative interview.
    Animals are great in mystery novels. I've enjoyed Rita Mae Brown's mysteries for that reason and also the late Lillian Jackson Braun. I've used my daughter-in-law's cat in several of my short stories but never a novel.


    Jacqueline Seewald

  2. Hi Chris and Gracie,
    Fala was a busy cat last night so she is napping now. She had some questions for Gracie and wants to be sure they get incorporated in our talk so it will be late today or tomorrow before you are posted. You know cats, though, their sense of time is awful.
    Nancy Lynn Jarvis

  3. Good probing questions from the dog, I assume the cat is on a catnip break now?

  4. Your keeper uses writing as a catharsis. Better than drugs!

  5. I just love it when pets help with blogs. My cat, Acey always has tips for Rum Tum Tugger, the cat in Heather Haven's Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries. He enjoys helping me write those reviews, and I just don't think I can review one of Heather's books without him anymore. But what a great idea having one pet interview another. ;-) Obedeience School. That'll keep me chuckling all day.

  6. I see we aren't the only ones with pictures of cats in our birdbath! Great shot. Fala is gorgeous. Love the interview.



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