Monday, October 18, 2010

Meankitty Wants to Know: Stephanie Osborn

Author Stephanie Osborn is owned by a cat named Elrond, whom we'll be hearing from tomorrow or the next day. But we're posting Stephanie first because humans tend to get their feelings hurt about these things. Also, Stephanie is hosting a contest on her website with a deadline of the end of the month, so we wanted to get this up sooner rather than later.

1) Why did you decide to be a writer instead of a cat sanctuary owner?

Oh, I rather think of myself as both. All of our cats have been rescues, and they tend to live to a ripe old kitty age, because we do our best to take good care of them. Our last kitty, Anna, lived to be 19 and was diabetic, arthritic and blind in one eye. We gave her insulin shots, food on a timetable, and the best care we could. She died in my lap.

Our current cat, Elrond, seems healthy and happy as can be but we still make sure he's well cared for. Our veterinarian told us Elrond was lucky to have us for his parents, and that meant a lot to me.

I'd have more cats but my husband refuses. He says Elrond rules the house already and thinks we'd have cat fights at night with any more.

2) Why do you think cats are better than dogs? (Since you call yourself a writer, I trust your answer will be eloquent.)

Cats are better than dogs because they are more independent and have more purrsonality. You can go off and leave a cat at home with toys, water, food, and a fresh litterbox for the weekend, while you promote books, and the house will be intact and the cat happy (albeit PO'ed at being left alone) when you return. I shudder to think what would happen if the same thing was attempted with a dog. At the very least the front door would be broken out and every room would be anointed in pee and poop.

3) Tell me about the felines in your fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play in your narratives?

Whenever possible I put cats in my stories. And they always have developed purrsonalities. One book series, halfway complete, is with my literary agent now, and it contains a cat based on my previous cat, Anna. One set of fanfictions I wrote to exercise certain writing skills and practice developing scene types had an alien cat as one of the regular characters. Another set of stories I wrote, attempting to start a franchise, also contained alien cats.

4) On the off-chance you have yet to incorporate cats into your fiction, when do you plan to rectify this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?

Find more ways to incorporate cats. :)

5) What are your favorite works of fiction involving cats or favorite fictional cats?

The Cheshire Cat is always one of my favorites. So is the Pussycat who went to sea with the Owl. (Does Professor McGonagle's animagus form in Harry Potter count?) In my opinion, though, there are too few cats in the genres I prefer to read - SF and mystery.

6) Do you have any amazing, or at least humorous, real life cat stories you'd like to share?

Most of the funniest ones can't be shared in public, I think. But there's something about cats and plastic bags that I just don't quite "get." Elrond loves to lick them for reasons I don't understand, and we can't break him of it. I worry, because I'm afraid he'll end up with something nasty in his system from the hydrocarbons, but there it is.

Anna, my previous cat (Tonkinese, but again, a rescue), was playing with a plastic grocery bag once (under supervision) and inadvertently tried to exit through the handle instead of the main opening. It caught around her neck, and she flicked her tail in irritation. Since everything but her head and feet were still inside the bag, this caused the bag to rattle and the sound spooked her. She quivered her tail frantically in agitation, and the bag monster effectively chomped on her behind. She panicked and took off at Warp 38, the plastic bag billowing out behind. I couldn't decide if she was wearing a cape or a drogue chute! The more it rattled, the faster she ran. She came screaming by me in hyperdrive (I was on the floor on the phone, talking to my mother), low to the floor and aerodynamic. I got a good look at her face, and directly into her bright blue eyes.

What I saw on her face was sheer terror. What I saw in her EYES was knowing amusement. That little mischief knew EXACTLY what was happening, and was having a blast!

Mom thought she was going to have to call 911 on me - until I got my breath from laughing enough to explain what had happened.

7) Multiple choice 1. What is your preference and why?
A) Long hair
B) Short hair
C) No hair
-- Note: I am not, of course, referring to the hirsute qualities of your most recent hero or heroine.


My actual preference is for a healthy, sleek cat, probably of the Oriental varieties, but I love cats in general.

8) Multiple choice 2. You have a writing deadline but the cat who rules you wants some attention. Desperately. Do you:

A) Lock the cat in another room and keep working?
B) Pet the cat for a couple minutes and then toss her cruelly aside?
C) Pet the cat as long as she wants because you know it will inspire and refresh you? -- Note: If you answered anything besides C, we suggest you consider the fact you could have written a much better book if you had been inspired and refreshed instead of mean to the cat.

How about D) Let the cat lie in my lap next to my laptop and write? He is such a snugglebuns, I just love it! Warm and soft and soothing. He relaxes me, and the words just flow.

User submitted:

How goes the discussion about discipline in your house?

Discussion? What discussion? If Elrond wants something, either my husband or myself gets up and gets it, regardless of time of day (or night). He's taught us well, I must admit. My husband in particular is well trained, being the principal nighttime giver of treats.

Do you think pets and humans come to resemble each other over time?

No, I don't. I've never noticed any of my cats looking like me, and I haven't the slinky grace of a feline, unfortunately. I surely wouldn't mind it, though. Elrond might object, I suppose, if he started looking like me.

What one thing would you change about your pet?
I can't think of anything much. He HAS ruined the upholstery of my favorite recliner, but I suppose that just breaks it in better.

Can you type with a cat stretched out across your wrists? If not, why not? Otherwise, how's the carpal tunnel?

Actually he seems to prefer either my hip, leaning against the laptop with his chin on its corner, or the arm of the chair. When he wants my attention, he simply reaches out and grabs the wrist of my mouse hand and pulls it to his chest. I scratch him under his chin until he's happy, then go back to writing.

When you're in the zone with your writing, what does your cat have to do to get your attention?

All Elrond has to do is crawl up in my lap. He is a delightful snuggler. It's very nice in the wintertime especially, because he's warm and furry and I can be cold-natured.



Meankitty & Typing Slave *


Monica McCabe said...

Love the name Elrond. Very Elvish and dignified for a kitty. Sounds like you're an excellent feline companion too. That's good karma!

Fakharuddin40 said...

Very nice post. Elrond is the name of you cat. Congratulations on this. You have chosen very nice name. One of friend has gifted me a cat. Would you want to gift your cat to somebody.

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