21 May 2015 ~ 0 Comments

The Witch’s Cat

Guest post: J.S. Watts

MWitchlight Smallery human, who writes as J.S.Watts (though I just call her Yiaow), is having a busy time writing posts for the blog tour to promote her new novel, “Witchlight”. Yesterday I tried to help by bringing her a delicately chewed mouse. For some reason, she didn’t seem to appreciate the gesture. Today, I’m going to try a different approach and write a blog post for her while she’s out buying carpet cleaner. She’s bound to be grateful.

Before we get much further in to this post, though, I’ve got to say that I don’t think much of the accuracy of its title. Cats have witches. Witches don’t, per se, have cats, in the same way that humans don’t have cats. Though, of course, according to Yiaow’s novel, witches are humans born with the “abracadabra gene”, so it’s all a bit complicated. Oh well, I guess it gives me the opportunity to tell you about the most important character in her new novel, Barny the cat (though I do feel she should have given him a properly respectful feline name).

First, however, and to put important things into context, I need to tell you about me.

I was only a kitten when I chose Yiaow for myself from amongst the supply of human helpers I was proffered at my temporary residence. Even as a youngster I could detect talent. I don’t mean she’s a good writer, I have no idea, but I knew she was right for me and, if she was going to waste time writing, at least she would be writing about appropriate things.

Yiaow proved her worth and my judgement almost immediately by incorporating me into several of her poems. When she picked the one I thought did me most justice, “Cats and Other Mythical Creatures”, to be the almost title poem of her poetry collection, “Cats and Other Myths”, I knew I was in the cat-as-muse stage of my career.

Next, she started on the artwork for the collection’s cover. She wanted a picture of a cat-dragon, but, even with the help of a human friend, she couldn’t capture the image exactly as she wanted it. I just sashayed up to her and pointed out that a photograph of me was what the image needed and everything was concluded most satisfactorily. This was the cover-model stage of my career.

Then she wrote me a walk-on part in her novel, “A Darker Moon”. Technically the role was for a female kitten, but in written fiction anything is possible and the little black and white Evie wrung hearts during her brief scene.

Yiaow, however, was to let me down badly. She wrote a small poetry book called “Songs of Steelyard Sue” and there wasn’t a single cat in it, let alone a part for a fine black and white feline like myself. She justified this most disappointing situation by saying it was a dystopic SF poetry sequence and that the scrap heap the World had become was no place for a cat. She managed to include some rough crows, however, so I was not placated.

When it came to “Witchlight” I put my paw down. I wanted the leading role and told her so. She claims it’s this woman called Holly who, approaching forty, suddenly discovers she’s a witch, but I know (and you will find out) that it’s really Barny, the black and white cat who condescends to live with Holly and who finds out late in his career that he’s a magical familiar.

Barny is a very fine cat, an expert, seasoned hunter and, it turns out, a talented familiar, instantly at home in the uncertain world of witchcraft and magic that Holly unexpectedly finds herself immersed in. Holly rightly adores Barny (well, anyone would) and there is a very satisfying relationship between the two of them. There is also good hunting, a succulent bacon sandwich moment and life and death drama when Barny is dangerously sucked into the magical tensions and dark hints of Old Magic that come to surround Holly. The story is like a huge game of cat and mouse. Superb!

Naturally, you cannot keep a real star down and you will note the black and white cat prominently positioned on the cover of “Witchlight”. Modelled on me, of course. I must remember to send the publisher’s Art Director a small mouse as a token of my appreciation.

In conclusion, being a cat with one’s own writer has its compensations. I expect the next novel to be more clearly titled to reflect my inevitable lead role within it. I shall have to speak to Yiaow about it.

Dickens the cat on behalf of J.S.Watts

About Witchlight: Holly has been mortal all her life. Now at thirty-eight, her fairy godfather arrives to tell her she’s a witch, and suddenly she’s having to come to terms with the uncertainties of an alarmingly magic-fuelled world. Magic is not like it is in the books and films, and Holly starts to doubt whether her fairy godfather, Partridge Mayflower, is the fey, avuncular charmer he appears.

When appearances are magically deceptive, Holly cannot afford to trust those closest to her, including herself. Accidents start to happen, people die, Old Magic is on the hunt, but in the age-old game of cat and mouse, just who is the feline and who is the rodent? 

J.S.Watts - croppedAbout The Author: J.S.Watts is a British writer who lives and writes in the flatlands of East Anglia in the UK. Her poetry, short stories and reviews appear in a diversity of publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States. Her poetry collection, “Cats and Other Myths”, and subsequent multi-award nominated poetry pamphlet, “Songs of Steelyard Sue”, are published by Lapwing Publications. Her dark fiction novel, “A Darker Moon”, is published in the UK and the US by Vagabondage Press. Her second novel, “Witchlight”, came out in paperback and e-book formats from Vagabondage this week. You can find her website at  www.jswatts.co.uk



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