Mollie Hunt and I are cat writers. No, we don’t have whiskers or fur, but we are members of an international (yes!) organization, the Cat Writers Association, which includes science writers who cover the latest veterinary and genomic news and fiction writers, like myself and Mollie. She’ll be presenting this year at our 25th annual conference, to be held in May. I’m not making it this year, but I’m pleased as punch to introduce you to Mollie and her work here.

How does a book start for you?

A title, a dream, a snippet that inspires. Stories are everywhere; sitting down for a year to put them into book form is the trick.

Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why?

Characters often surprise me when they suddenly run off doing their own thing. In my third Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery, Cat’s Paw,my hero Lynley was suddenly found to have an anxiety disorder.  And in the second book, Copy Cats, it was revealed that Lynley’s eighty-four-year-old mom carried a gun, and know how to use it! In my recently published Cat Café, I was definitely surprised when the killer turned out to be… Oh, but that would be telling.

When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?

The Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series is set in Portland Oregon, my home town. I am a Portland native myself and enjoy giving glimpses of the city that has grown up around me. Portland is a bit of an enigma. People are moving here thinking it’s an artistic, easy-going community of nonconformists. Often they find it’s nothing like that at all.

What are you working on now?

I’ve got three more Crazy Cat Lady mysteries in various stages of existence. (Six, if you count the thumbnail ideas I have yet to write.) Cosmic Cat, the 6thin the series, and Cat Noel, a Christmas novella, will publish later this year. Cat Summer, the first of a cat sci-fi fantasy tetralogy,  also will be out this year through Fire Star Press, and I’m hoping to continue with the other three soon after.

Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?

Why cats?

Cats are a huge part of my life both on and off the page. I love that I can use my knowledge of cats in my stories and pass on a few tips about the feline species. But why cats? What other species is gorgeous yet comical; soft yet sharp; enigmatic yet simple; spiritual yet pagan? Cats complete me, a feeling that cat people will understand.

Thanks, Clea, for giving me a chance to answer your #fivequestions. I must sign off now; my cat just drooled on the keyboard.

About Mollie Hunt:Native Oregonian Mollie Hunt has always had an affinity for cats, so it was a short step for her to become a cat writer. Mollie is the author of THE CRAZY CAT LADY COZY MYSTERY SERIES, featuring Portland native Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. The 3rdin the series, CAT’S PAW, was a finalist for the 2016 Mystery & Mayhem Book Award. Mollie also published a non-cat mystery, PLACID RIVER RUNS DEEP, which delves into murder, obsession, and the challenge of chronic illness in bucolic southwest Washington. Two of her short cat stories have been published in anthologies, one of which, THE DREAM SPINNER, won the prestigious CWA Muse Medallion. She published a little book of her Cat Poemsat the end of last year.

Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, Willamette Writers, the Cat Writers’ Association, and NIWA. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a varying number of cats. Like Lynley, she is a grateful shelter volunteer.Y