Monday, 4 February 2013

Clawless - The Novel - Excerpt

Here's a little taster of the REAL Clawless Novel!

Get your claws sharpened and ready for the drama, cat fights, hissy fits and all things cat'a'licious!


Lights! Camera! Action!
            It was raining cats and dogs - but mainly cats - outside the MacTartan Manor, family home of the fabulously wealthy late Wee Jock MacTartan. Hed been known in the business world simply as Canny Jock, cat slumlord and designer of breakaway collars and other practical feline fashions before, with the urging of his family, opening the fashion HOUSE OF LE CLAW for cat couture.
            Seated behind the late Jock´s carved zebrawood desk was a black cat of thin fur and sly gold eyes, who appraised the gathering while rustling the papers from his briefcase. Once he locked eyes with the gorgeous widow of Wee Jock, Solange (formerly) du Chat. They exchanged a look.
            High up on top of the bookcase sat Jock´s younger son and right-paw cat, Arfur, mending what looked like a cape. 
            A pile of fabric piled in a chair held the plush and fluffy form of the elder son Clawde, who was doodling designs on a sketch pad.  He was, like his brother, jet black but unlike him had a dash of white down his front.
            Close by hunkered Clawde´s mate, the gorgeous tabby and white Clawdette, who indignantly observed the byplay between Furry Faceon and Solange.
            "We are gathered here for the reading of the will," Lawyer Faceon began. "Here´s the deal. Arfur, nothing changes about your position--you will go on being the cat who is the cats- body while everyone else takes the glory. Clawde, you get the House of Le Claw to share with your brother." And Lawyer Faceon started packing up the papers.
            "What about this house - the other assets and all the money?" Clawdette cried. What about all the money! She realised she was shrieking now and jumped down from the mantelpiece  where she had been sitting to observe all around her.
            "Oh, you can stay here. Other money?" Lawyer Faceon asked. "There´s nothing here about other money .
            Solange fluttered her long lashes at Faceon and asked "What about me? Surely my beloved Wee Jock has left something for me?"
            A lone tear ran down her furry cheek and she dabbed the tear with her purrfectly manicured paw.
            Clawdette stared murderously at Solange. How dare that cheap alley-cat show up today. She had only been married to Wee Jock for what seemed like minutes ... possibly because it was minutes! She had married him on his death-basket.  Surely that couldn´t be legal? Her very beautiful green eyes narrowed as she made a note to herself to check with Lawyer Faceon exactly what the legal position would be. Surely she wouldn´t be entitled to a share of the will? She also decided to have a word with the Clawless Costume Designer as Solange´s gown looked more expensive than hers.
            A clap of thunder crashed overhead.  It echoed the tension in the room. Solange gave a short cry and Clawdette took the chance to say something..
            ´Solange, I recognise that dress. I had one just like it until I gave it to the charity shop!´ She giggled whilst Solange, owner of Le Chat Models - scowled at her.
            Clawdettes tail curled around her and she purred remembering her early morning session with purrsonal trainer, Handsome. Clawde didn´t love her and never had but she had found what she needed in the paws of the gorgeous black and white tom who attended to her every day.
            Purrdita, their handsome Burmese kitten was nearby, licking at a saucer of cream and uncertain as yet what to say.
            Clawdette watched Clawde as he dived into a plate of Fancy Feast, tuna flavour - ´He loves food more than me´ she told herself and shuddered.
            Clawde looked up to see his mate´s reproachful look. "What?" he asked silently. "Of course I love food more than her. She loves food more than me too. What´s the big deal?"  Once every male cat has been on that trip to the vet - they all preferred food to queens.
            Furry Faceon played his cards close to his chest. If Solange played HER cards right there may be a portion of the fortune for her - the part that he already embezzled to help fund his catnip habit!
            Arfur looked down at his beloved wife, Furnella, and squeezed his eyes together. She returned the eye squeeze and leapt nimbly to the top of the bookcase to be with him. Love would keep them together, come what may.
            Clawdette banged her little paw down on the table where she sat en route to her basket.
            ´But wait Furry Faceon ... Cut to the quick. What did the old geezer, er ... our beloved father in law ... leave for his um, widow ...´ She glared at Solange and crossed her paws in the hope he will say ´Nothing´. She gestured to her cheek to Clawde by way of telling him that he had food all over his face. She wondered if he had left any for her.
            Furry Faceon looked blank. "Oh, the widow. Something I imagine--her jewels, that kind of thing. There´s a lot of fine print. I suggest the lady in question visits me at the office and we´ll go into the details of any possible additional bequests." He waggled his upper whiskers suggestively.
            Clawde scratched behind his ear. "Vague kind of will for pops to leave behind. He was usually such a pain about being thorough."
            "Mr Faceon, that sounds like a purrfect idea" Solange purred to Furry Faceon, ignoring Clawde. She turned to Clawdette, flashed a broad smile and elegantly left the room.
As she turned to close the door behind her she surveyed the scene behind her, thinking
            "Ahh enjoy your peace my furry step kittens, it won´t last long"
            Catching Furry´s eye, she winked and blew a quick kiss and closed the door before anyone else could see her.
            Clawdette scowled at Clawde. ´How dare he imply that the alley cat may have been given anything more than a few collars?´
            She made a note to redecorate the house from top to bottom and to have Purrdita wormed.  She sneaked a glance at Furry Faceon and wondered if it was worth  flirting with him? From under her basket she pulled out a hastily scribbled piece of paper and held it high above her head. It said ´Last will and testyment of Wee Jock ...´ Look I have a will. She read ...
            ´I leave NOTHING to that shabby, moth eaten old moggie that I mistakenly married having had one too many grogs!!´
            LOOK! she said hoping that no one will look too closely at what she has in her paw! (or that it is written in her paw writing).
But wait .. what is that mad laughing noise that filled the room as if from over the Rainbow Bridge? 

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 So, our wunderpurr readers, that brings us to the end of todays little nom nom taster!

We hope most utterly sincerely that you've enjoyed it and will spread the word to help save the lives of many kitties that the profits of this novel go to support.

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You can purchase the book from any of the following:
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Thanks from all the Clawless Crew

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Author Interview - Christine Wilson!

Welcome to the first of our Author Interviews!

Our first author under the spotlight is

Christine Wilson

Author Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am someone who has always wanted to write from early childhood. I had imaginary friends from a very young age and started writing little stories as soon as I would put words on paper.  I trained as a journalist but stumbled into TV and then stumbled out again to try to make it as a writer. After over 20 years living away in London and then Bath I moved home to County Antrim, near Belfast in Northern Ireland and am enjoying the craic once more.

If you had to do it all again, would you change anything about your latest work?

Yes!  We had originally had 9 authors on this and I worked very hard, first to get the story into some sort of half decent shape as we had originally written it online. I found us a suitable publisher, then liaised with all the authors to get their agreement, did several more drafts of editing and proofing and kept everyone up to date with developments. At the 11th hour when we were ‘home and dry’ (almost) we had a fall out which was too severe to fix. I regret that I didn’t manage to keep the whole team together right till the end.

What was the very first book idea you had, did you write it and did it get published?

No easy answer. The first book idea I had was for Meeting Damian Lewis - a romantic comedy about a woman (Ruby) whose life had hit a bad patch. She wanted to meet the actor Damian Lewis because she believed that somehow her fate was to meet him. She goes off, learns to write and writes a book in order to attract his attention.   Does she meet him? That would be telling and does she find love --- you’d have to find out for yourself.! But it funny, sweet and sad and I loved my main character of Ruby Reed.  I also like that Damian Lewis loves the story.

I did get an agent on my 2027th attempt (felt like!) and she tried to get a bidding war going on the story but fate played a few bad cards and I got impatient and tried to self publish. I used the wrong publisher and despite my best efforts the book went out not at all as I wanted, typos and mistakes. It broke my heart to have to finally have the book deleted in its current form. The time has now past and the story is dated. I am no longer the writer I was and it has been trapped in time so it was and is the one that got away. The best seller that never happened.

How long does it take you to typically write a novel?

Possibly too quick! I would say that when I am fired up I write with massive discipline and due to my years of writing under pressure to deadlines in journalism and in television I can write very fast indeed. Meeting Damian Lewis, first draft was written in about eight weeks which is embarrassingly fast but I believe that first drafts should just flow out of you and that is what it did.  I redrafted it many many times although the story and structure never changed, just tidying up and acting on feedback from readers and agents.  I am a very fast writer and I think that is both good and bad.

What is the most challenging aspect of writing for you, if any?

I think now that I know that it is hard for writers to sell novels it does inhibit me a lot. If I had known how hard the writing process is AFTER finishing the novel - finding an agent and a publisher and dealing with all the disappointment around that - I would probably not have done it. Writing Meeting Damian Lewis when I was so driven was the most happy experience of my life but all that followed was the most disappointing. You have to deal with heartbreak as an author and a great deal of knocks. You have to love your own work because chances are that you may be the only one who loves the way you write and your story. That is why writers love praise and feedback so much!

If asked to review a novel and you didn’t like it at all , would you?

Yes, I would and I do all the time. I always review what I have read on Amazon and I often don’t like the books as much as I might have done. Being an author myself I usually find a way to say something positive because there very often is even if you hated the story - with a very few exceptions. I’d would hate to upset an author with a bad review. If I really couldn’t find anything nice to say I would have to decline but normally there is something.  I am used to working in television where we rarely get to work on television programmes we like so normally you work to the strengths and weaknesses of what is there.

Do I have any advice for the newbie author starting out?

Yes! Write every day. I often hear people saying ‘I would write but I don‘t have the time‘.  They make it sound as if authors only write because they have time on their hands. If you want to write - you will but like any skill the more you do it the better you will get. So write something every day and try to set yourself a target of 1,000 words. Or whatever you think you could stick to and just get on with it.  Thinking about writing a novel is very different to actually writing it.  Don’t be put off by the size of the task and prepare to work hard once the story is complete. Also read a lot and see whose styles you like. Oh and don’t read any of those ‘How to write a book,’ books 

Also don’t discuss your idea with anyone. Not because they may steal it but because once you tell the story to another person, it is sort of told and you will find it less easy to put the ideas to paper as it will feel a bit ‘done’. Don’t discuss what is in your head - keep it for the paper. A good example is the anecdote you have told a dozen times. I bet it doesn’t sound as fresh as it did the first time you told it? Well that is what discussing the novel will be like when you go to write it. Also you run the risk of your friends not reacting as you would like to what you are writing s and that can be very off putting as it might just make you abandon or change a good idea.

Tell us the worst book you have read in the last few months and why didn’t you enjoy it?

As I say I can usually find something positive in a book even if it is not my cup of tea but I really hated The Slap so much. I disliked the imagery of the first chapter and the characters and I hated the way that all the characters seem exactly the same. I hated their values, the dialogue and found it depressing and rather pointless. After about half the book I took great pleasure in throwing it in the bin where it belongs. I also hate 50 Shades of Grey.  It annoys me that a badly written book has become such a big seller.

What was the best book you read in the last few months and why did you love it?

I loved Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It is a very clever book and really takes you into the period of Tudor England. Her style is totally unique and is the only time I felt as if I had been taken in a time machine back to the period.  She has devised a new way of writing, I believe.

Are you a pre planning plotter or a go with flow writer?

I am not sure! I did have a plan when I wrote Meeting Damian Lewis. I knew that I was going from point A to point Z and I had a fair idea how it would work out but my synopsis is about 1,000 words and the novel is about 70,000 so I think we can safely say I went with the flow a bit and grabbed opportunities as they arose.

With Clawless a group of us wrote it so I wanted to go with the flow but it would be impossible with so many writers so we did a bit of both.

Are you working on anything right now? If so can you share the details with us?

Yes! I am trying to get ‘Divine’ together. A soap opurra starring our cats set on Rainbow Bridge and featuring many of our cats who are no longer with us. I like the challenge of writing when literally anything can happen. We could make our own rules and the imagination knows no boundaries.  We are slightly stalled right now but watch this space as we will get going again soon!

I also have another idea to write about my long fought for driving licence so I can pass on advice over the whole experience. I found very few helpful books on the subject and what is around tends to be either patronising or for teenagers.

I also have a third Kimmy book written and just needing editing.

I would also like to put some TV ideas together and I want to dust off Meeting Damian Lewis again.

 How do you come up with titles for your novels, do you get the idea for the story first or does that come to you after the title?

Again having worked in television I am .used to the titles of the programmes more or less telling you the content and I think books should do the same. I think that if you get a good idea the title goes hand in hand and then a good title helps you write the book as you get a strong idea of what it is you are writing. It gives it identity even before you have managed that.  But it is also no big deal to change the title if somehow the emphasis shifts and it becomes something else. I wouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I might by its title. I think titles are important.

Have any authors influenced your writing style or your chosen genre?

No.  That is the simple answer but if you read Meeting Damian Lewis closely you may spot that I was watching a lot of ‘Friends’ at the time and there are a few bits that stray into that territory …! I was also lucky to do an Arvon writing course where I had both Jimmy McGovern (TV playwright extraordinaire) He said he ‘loved the way I wrote and wished he had written ‘as well’ as me when he first started. I think Jimmy’s writing style is as far away from mine as it comes for content but what we do share is a real love for it and we both love writing and admit it which isn’t being big headed - it is appreciating our own hard work!   (and likewise I can also despair of my own work when it is not coming together).

What’s the worst job you ever had?

There is no such thing as a bad job! They are all fodder for writing and there is generally something good about the job even if you have to dig deep to find it! But I have had some television jobs that I haven‘t enjoyed. I will not reveal here what they were! I might if you ask me again.

If you could choose any author to mentor you, who would it be and why?

I think it would be Jimmy McGovern because although his style and his settings are very different to mine and he writes gritty Northern dramas  that have a real punch and I tend to write lighter stuff - I really admire his way of twisting a story and how he shapes his central characters so even if they are ‘baddies’ you can still relate to them in some way. His passion for writing is his greatest asset and I think that he would inspire me on a daily basis to be the very best I can be.

I also love Charles Dickens as the man is a genius. Can’t imagine him mentoring me though!  I have too many favourite authors to mention. I love so many different genres including, detective/crime/thriller, historical fiction and non fiction and contemporary fiction.

 Thanks Christine!!!

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Here's a little more information about Christine and Clawless

Christine Wilson’s Blog

Book Cover 

Book blurb   Cats in fashion written by cats, for cats!-
ISBN  978-07552-0657-5

Youll never be able to take fashion seriously again.

The story begins on a dark and stormy night as the last will and testament of Wee Jock MacTartan is read aloud to his grieving family.  His two sons, Clawde and Arfur and their respective wives, the feisty (and slightly over acting), Clawdette and the tiny, kitten-less Furnella. Clawde and Clawdette have one daughter an unlikely Burmese called Purrdita. 

Their main rival is Solange the wicked stepmother who married Wee Jock just days before his final demise to Rainbow Bridge and she has plans to take as much as she can and leave the House of Le Claw destitute.  Her attempts are aided and at times, hilariously hampered by a lawyer with a serious catnip habit, Furry Faceon who has embezzled a large amount of the Le Claw cash and is keen to hide the fact from all of them.

Also, if they havent got enough to worry about, up pops the evil and sinister Monsieur Le Fluffy. His dastardly intentions are to strike the company while it is vulnerable, with the sole purpose of taking it over completely leaving the Le Claws out in the cold.

Clawdette visits Solange to confront her about her evil conniving ways but instead steals the designs which Monsieur Le Fluffy has sent to Solange in advance of the next seasons fashion shows, but is this a double bluff or indeed a triple bluff and will Clawdette be able to remember who knows what by the end of it all?

Furnella hides a dark secret which she has managed to keep well hidden until a tiny little ginger kitten appears at the front door - seemingly abandoned - and she nearly reveals what it is that troubles her so deeply. Clawdette calls in the pest control but they take her to the pound instead of the kitten and she gets into some very bad company before finally being rescued.

Then, much to Clawdettes despair, she manages to get catnapped and is embarrassed to find that she was held in just another part of the mansion something the police dont seem very sympathetic about.

Meanwhile, Clawde and Arfur discover they have a secret brother who is in fact a catpire who lives in a castle in Catsylvania.  The entire family suddenly decamp over hill and dale, across ocean and stream, river and rill, and deep into Catsylvania, over the forest, over the torch lit village, above the howling of the wolves and the neighing of the horses where the story takes on a slightly surreal quality as the Le Claws battle to stay ahead of the game and just why do the villagers always carry torches and garlic when they come near the castle? Also what happens when Clawdette takes Clyde to Transylvanias IKEA and why do they the end up being featured on Furry Springer as I accidentally married my own brother!

Featuring, Clawde, Clawdette, Tomcat Ford, Furnella, Arfur, Clyde,  Solange, Cat Moss, Furry Quant, Anna Winpurr and others


After wasting years fighting her way up through the television food chain and to the dizzy height of Producer, Christine decided it wasn’t worth it, jacked it in left London, moved to Northern Ireland via Bath and took up writing books. Her novels include The Circle, Meeting Damian Lewis, (using pen name) and she found success writing cat books - The Kimmy Diaries, Kimmy’s Irish Diary and Clawless, co-written. She is now a devoted ‘Mum’ to two cats, cares for an elderly mother and runs a busy house but is always working on the ‘next idea’.

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So there you have it, our first ever interview.  We do hope that you've enjoyed it and we'll be back soon with another author spotlight!

Until then... Keep Calm and Clawless!


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