Please tell us a little about yourself and the Silly Cat books.      

In the beginning, before the Silly Cat books, my cat Spicy became friends with a young girl named Lyla. As friends do, Spicy began sending Lyla emails, telling her stories about her everyday life. Lyla got a kick out of the emails, and her mother encouraged me to write books. My first four books were letters written by Spicy to a fictional human friend, explaining, complaining, and rhapsodizing about life with three other cats, plus her human mother and daddy. My current series also centers around a cat, but this time the cat is fictional, although he looks a lot like my boy cat, Junior. In addition to Silly, the star of the book, you’ll meet a dog, a frog, a few birds, a bat, a bug, and even a bear that might or might not be real.

What was your editing process like?

I joined a writers group that meets at my local library branch. By reading portions of our writings to each other, we offered not only encouragement but helpful suggestions. The group allowed me to understand how readers would hear and process my writing, and this prompted me to edit my work until I felt I had something easily readable.

Was your storyline something that you envisioned from the beginning, or did you build/change it as you wrote?

I started the Silly Cat books because I wanted to write a silly poem—the kind I loved as a child. Every time I began to write, my brain said: The silly cat climbed up a tree. And I thought, why did the cat climb the tree? Answer: To look across the deep blue sea. Okay, I felt that qualified as silly, being landlocked in Tennessee. As the poem developed, the last word in each line rhymed with tree and sea.

Later, I challenged myself to write other poems about Silly, also giving each line a matching rhyme. Soon I had enough poems for a book. Then more poems for a second book, and finally, a trilogy. My challenge with these poems was in the limitations of having enough words that rhyme with each other, but I found within each group of rhymes a hidden story, waiting to be brought forth and told.

What are you working on now?

My next book is a stand-alone, still in verse, but deviating from the same rhyme on every line. This book, based on feline lore, relates the history between cats and humans. Who tamed whom? So many untruths have been told (mostly by rats) that Spicy is putting pen to paper. But here’s what’s indisputable: that cats were walking on this earth in time to witness human birth. Spicy spins the truth as told to her by a wise old cat…come join us for a bit of poetry and fun.

Portions of this Q&A were edited for clarity.