Everyone who knows me personally knows I am absolutely loco about cats. If I was two degrees more of an introvert I'd have multiple cats and fewer human friends, and had I not met all of the wonderful people I've met over the last decade or so, I might have been perfectly fine living in that scenario. If I ever come over to your house and you happen to own a cat, you can bet you'll find my lipstick marks on your pet's fur before I leave. So, I am excited to present the author of the Zvonek 08 series, Anne H. Petzer, as my guest in The Visionary Lounge today.
Hi Anne. Thank you so much for cyberpathing all the way here from Prague, one of the world's most haunted cities where muses are never in short supply. I think I know the answer to this one already but for the benefit of our readers who inspired you to write the book?
Zvonek arrived in Prague in February, he was 9 months old and I fell in love immediately. For him
it took a few days :). Up until June he was an inside cat only. By then, he was meowing and pawing at the window to go outside. As my flat was a ground floor one and our garden was adjacent to another much larger garden, I relented. Until September it worked well, he came and went at will. One Friday night. I had friends round to dinner, and Zvonek didn't come home. Usually he would put in an appearance every two hours or so. I figured as a tom he would roam and come back in morning. For a week he didn't return. I was devastated, expecting the worst. By Friday I was really frantic and my friend help me put up posters and an internet notice. Success! By Friday night we had a response from a shelter saying they had, had a cat of his description brought the Saturday before after being hit by a car!
I went to collect him. I was asked to bring some ID of myself and a photo of him. When they
brought him into the reception area and I called his name, he started pawing the bag to get me. I
held him in my arms and cried. The staff of the shelter also were in tears at our reunion and didn't even check my ID. He was in an awful state and it took about three months for him to recover. It was then I put a cat net up on my window. The Zvonek 08 (08 because of one life lost in the car accident), series started that Christmas. The accident in the story is true however, embellished by my imagination. The first story was written during that Christmas with Zvonek spending a lot of time curled against me. :). He now is happy to go on walks with on a lead. Much safer when living in a city.
Your journey to publication:
When did it start and why?
It was my high school dream to live in Europe, have two cats and write books. After the first story, Cat on Thin Ice I wrote a follow up, Cat Among the Pigeons. I then started thinking about writing a whole series of short stories with the same characters. After about three years I re-vamped it and sent it off to a publishing company in Canada, but alas I didn't even hear back from them. Living in the Czech Republic and writing in English is almost impossible to get a publishing house to look at your work, especially being a first time writer.
A friend of my mine from a website that I belong to suggested Gypsy Shadow. I sent off my
manuscript trying not to get my hopes up. Well in less than at month they got back to me with an
offer of a contract for the entire series!
What is the core message of your novel and your intention?
I thought about this answer for awhile. My first reaction was that it's just basically a fun story about cat in Prague 10. But then I thought about the way I wrote the story. I guess it is basically good versus evil. I also wanted to bring in Czech traditions: the cats have a local pub, Whiskers, which most Czech men have, and meet there to discuss life. The Miracle of the Carp is centered around the Czech traditional Christmas dinner. In future novels there will be more themes such as these. I would also hope to promote good care of pets. An example in Return of the Rats.
How can fans local to your area connect with you?
Details of how to get my books are available on my website: www.annehpetzer.cz
It has links to the PDF and E-book formats. For information about Zvonek and albums of the places in Prague described in my book please go Zvonek's FB page, link also on Website.
Beautiful story of Zvonek and it will no doubt make an amazing series of books. Thank you so much, Anne, for being my guest.