The Inspiration For Harry the Wonder Cat

Monkeyface

When I decided to create the character for Harry the Wonder Cat, I had to look no further than my Monkeyface, the first cat I ever had.  Twenty years ago, Monkey and I met and it was love at first sight. The big Maine Coon was the gentlest creature I’ve ever known.  He was fiercely loyal to me and protected me from the people that he considered bad. (Cats are like that…they can smell trouble a mile off.) I, in turn, protected him from everything from the rustling of a paper bag (he hated paper bags) to the loud claps of thunder in the mountain sky.

Now, I know you’ll think that Harry doesn’t sound at all like Monkeyface, and you would be right when it comes down to fears.  After all, Harry isn’t afraid of anything. You must remember, however, Monkeyface didn’t have the powers that Harry has.

Other than being fiercely protective of their person, Maine Coons are among the largest domestic cat, (the biggest was a cat named Stewie,  who grew to be a whopping 48.5 inches. Harry’s 38 inches seem small next to him.)

While Harry grew to weigh over 30 pounds, Monkeyface weighed a mere 25 pounds. Maine Coons are known as the Gentle Giants of the cat world, but sometimes Harry uses his size to intimidate enemies.

I chose the Maine Coon breed for Harry the Wonder Cat in memory of my lovable Monkeyface who, in my mind, will always be my Wonder Cat.

What Makes Harry the Wonder Cat Tick?

We want you to know a bit about Harry the Wonder Cat and what makes him tick.  He is a Maine Coon, so we thought that we would give you a little background on the breed.

The Maine Coon cat,  otherwise known as “Gentle Giant”, is a special breed of cat…or so Harry says (and we all know how special he is).

Let’s start with the outer cat.  Maine Coons are extremely big for a house cat.  The average male Maine Coon typically weighs in at 15 to 25 pounds, but they have been known to be up to 35+ pounds.

They can get to be about 40” in length. (No, that ’s not a typo…40”!)  The world’s record is held by a beautiful Coon, Stewie, who measured 48.5”.  (Seems like a monster next to Harry’s puny 38”, huh?) Read more about Stewie.

Stewie – Longest Cat
Guinness World Records 2011
Photo Credit: Ryan Schude/Guinness World Records
Location: Reno, Nevada
Also Pictured: Stewie’s Owner Robin Hendrickson

There are some who claim that Maine Coons are the biggest or certainly one of the biggest domesticated cat breeds in the world.

Some other physical traits are:

1. Both their bodies and their heads are rectangular in build, unlike their smaller, sleeker counterparts.

2. A Maine Coon’s medium to long fur has three layers to it to protect them from the cold of Maine (hence the name).

3. Maine Coons have a luxurious mane that resembles a small lion.

4. The tail of a Maine Coon is long in length and covered in long, bushy fur.

5. As is true with Harry, a Maine Coon’s eyes have the wisdom of the ages, revealing natural intelligence.

6. Their ears are normally larger than their counterparts and have tufts of fur growing out of them.

7. Their paws are unusually large with tufts of fur between each “toe”.

8.  Maine Coons do not normally communicate like other cats.  When they talk to you, which is often, they do it by trilling and singing.

In this author’s opinion, male Maine Coons are certainly one of the sweetest breeds.  I know this from experience as my first cat was one. His name was Monkeyface, and Harry is based on him. Like Harry, he was ready to show off his comical antics at a moments notice. 

The Maine Coon has a mystery all their own based on many legends. We will share them with you in later posts.

Our thanks go out to:

Guinness World’s Records

boredpanda.com

mainecoon.org

Next week:

Harry interviews Little Bea from his new book, “Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the Pink Diamond”.  Please join us.

A Day in the Life of Harry the Wonder Cat

Here’s a peek inside of day in my life. It starts in a huge victorian house, where all three floors belong to me. The manor house is a huge yellow Victorian with white gingerbread. It has hardwood floors in some rooms that are so slippery that, if I run fast enough and then lean just right, I can slide right into the next room. I love this game because it makes my charge, Nikki, and our roommate, Heather, laugh.

The most important cupboard in the house is the “The Magic Cupboard”. This is where my food and treats are kept.  All I have to do is sit in front of it and stare at Nikki, and she will feed me. Of course, if that doesn’t work I can always use my magical powers (as long as nobody’s around)!

In the afternoon, Heather gets my brush out and calls, “Brush, Harry, brush”.  I know then that she will brush my long, luxurious fur and I will trill and purr.  When she is done I head-butt her hand and rub my cheek against hers.

I can hardly wait until after dinner when I hear Nikki pick up a book, Agatha Christie is my favorite. She calls me to the living room where we share the purple chair that is soft and cuddly. The crackling of the fire in the fireplace is soothing as I listen intently to the sound of Nikki’s voice reading just for me.

Well, that’s an average day in my life at Harrot Reef Manor. I hope that you’ll come to visit us soon.

Next week:  Please join us for an interview with Sir Aslan, Harry’s grandfather.

Don’t forget to get your copies of  The Legend of the Pink Diamond and The Jamaican Mission at Amazon

Harry the Wonder Cat: The Jamaican Mission

Those of you who have heard about Harry’s new book know that it is set in Jamaica. In The Jamaican Mission, which is coming April 21st, Harry goes on vacation with his two roommates and solves a mysterious murder that happened a century ago.

Since he has to leave his gang behind at Harrot Reef, he finds a new gang that is led by a spunky little cat called Luna. Like the gang at home, this beach gang has several members in it, but when Harry calls for volunteers, only Luna and two brothers, Bobby and Sox, step forward.

Later Bobby brings in Savanna, the neighborhood dog. Now those of you who read Harry’s first book, The Legend of the Pink Diamond, know he has no use for dogs. However, Savanna proved herself invaluable and Harry had to rethink his opinion.

Will Harry and the Beach Gang solve the murder that happened so long ago? You’ll have to read the book to see.

Harry was based on my first cat, Monkeyface, but his physical attributes were from my imagination. The other cats and the dog are real and chosen from my Facebook community page, Kitty Tales.

While writing this book, I found myself laughing in some parts and crying in others. I visited Jamaica years ago, and I reminisced as I researched the beautiful island. I hope you enjoy reading The Jamaican Mission as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The Afterglow: What Happens After the Editing Process Is Finished?

Last time I talked about my experiences up to and including the editing of my first book. My best advise is:

1) Don’t be too quick to send your first draft in to your editor. I did and drove my editor nuts.  It ends up being more frustrating and a lot more work than if you went over the first couple of drafts yourself then send it in.

2) Get an editor that you can work with.  It makes for an easier process.

Now, after the editing process…

Woo hoo! You have your edited manuscript in your hands (well maybe not in your hands, but on your computer). What’s the next step? You need a launch team.  A launch team is a team of individuals who read the Advance Readers Copy, or the ARC and give feedback on the story. After that, it’s all the publisher’s baby.  He gets his team to work on the layout, etc.

At the same time, you gear up on marketing.  I went online and asked  blogs to review Harry on their blogs…first, the cat blogs that I already knew from doing a cat blog for years.  Then I hit the fiction and mystery blogs.  We mustn’t forget the podcasts (although I haven’t had much luck with those). You notice that I use the present tense because it is a never ending process.

Sometime during this process, you will get the hardcopies in your hot little hands.  Congratulations!

Then the cold calls come.  I am starting to call bookstores, etc. to do book signings.  Now I’m finding that not all stores are open to them, especially the small, local ones.

Yesterday I put 10 signed copies of Harry up for a giveaway on Goodreads.  In 18 hours I had almost 500 entrants.

Finally, I am booked to go to Washington DC for my first conference. Hopefully, it will be the first of many.

So, now you are up to speed with all that I’ve been through.  It has been a nail-biting, rollercoaster ride that, at times has made me ecstatic and at times has made me want to pull my hair out.  It’s never dull and I love it!

BTW, I’m working on the next book in Harry the Wonder Cat Series. In this one, Harry goes to Jamaica and falls in love with a beautiful beach cat named Luna. Follow along Harry’s trip with Nikki, Heather and the gang.

If you missed the first book, Harry the Wonder Cat: The Legend of the Pink Diamond, you can still get it here.