R.F. Kristi Discusses Christmas Cats
Interview sponsored by R.F. Kristi
The Children’s Book Review | December 14, 2016
The Children’s Book Review: A detective agency run by cats is an ingenious idea—cats are so observant and intelligent they would seem to be particularly well-suited to this type of endeavor. How did you come up with the idea?
R.F Kristi: By observing my real-life cat – Inca. Her intelligence and inquisitiveness gave birth to the Inca Cat series. Inca has the knack of seeming to understand everything I say. Watching her interaction with humans, family and visiting friends and her sister Cara, the Siamese, gave me plenty of material to let the stories develop as soon as my fingers touched the key-board of my laptop.
Inca is an especially intriguing character. Is Inca based on a real cat? And if so, can you describe the similarities and differences between Inca the character and the real cat or cats on which Inca is based?
As explained above, both Inca the main character in the series and her sister Cara are real cats. Much of the characteristics of the cats and some of the story line is based on real life experiences.
There are several different types of animals in this story—cats, dogs, a hamster. How complicated is it to imagine the dialogue between the animals?
This is the first time I am writing fiction. The need to write the Inca Cat Series is based on my fondness of the real-life characters. To be honest, once I started writing about Inca and Cara, the ideas seem to flow and the different characters sprang from the need to keep the story moving. I guess the fact that I love animals, all types of animals and my interest in rescue efforts made the writing easier.
The animals in the story all seem to have very different personalities. How difficult was it to develop these specific characters?
Once again, my experience with cats was helpful in generating different characters for the characters in the book. Inca is very different in nature from Cara. Once I started writing, the different characters emerged from my experiences and reading books since childhood.
The comradery between all the characters is especially gratifying and the final scenes are a great example of this. Would you describe how you imagined this scene, particularly with regard to the music and dancing?
Growing up in Asia, the comradery between family and friends was greatly appreciated. Hence, I would say the friendships between the characters took me back on a journey to my childhood. In addition, I am married to a Latin American and have visited many Latin American countries. I am aware how the Latinos love salsa music and dancing. We frequently listen to such music at home and Inca always seems very interested.
The storyline surrounding Boss is interesting because of the difference between the perception of a particular dog breed and the character that is portrayed in your story. Boss is a Rottweiler, and the breed is often described as being menacing. In fact, in your story, Boss is normally a very menacing dog. However, he is actually much nicer than would be expected. Can you tell us how you came to develop Boss as a character?
With my interest in animal rescue efforts, I am aware that many dogs that look menacing, as for example, Pitbulls, who are trained to be menacing actually have nice natures. It all depends on how a dog is trained. So, writing about Boss, especially when he was in need, flowed out of my experience with dogs.
You introduce the concepts of inheritance and property deeds in your story, among other legal concepts, in a simple and straight forward manner. How did you come up with this story line?
The story line emerged as the characters were formed and the plot thickened. I am familiar with legal jargon having worked for the United Nations and processing countless legal documents. At the same time, I needed to simplify the language to be understood by children, so it was a matter of making my know-how more simplistic and understandable, for example what would be understood by my nephew who is nine years old.
The descriptions of the Himalayas and Kathmandu are intriguing. Have you ever been there?
I am originally from Asia though now living in France. In my work environment with the United Nations, I have many Nepalese friends. I am familiar with the region although not having visited the Himalayas or Kathmandu.
The original plan was to have six installments in the Inca Cat Series. The third, titled: Cats in Provence is currently underway and I hope to complete it sometime next month.
And if so, can you share a little about what the next adventure will be?
Cats in Provence will have the cats come back to France to assist with the clearing up of another mystery involving a stolen painting. Provence is a beautiful part of France, and I am looking forward to working with my illustrator to develop some breathtaking scenario of Provence.
Written by R.F. Kristi
Illustrated by Jorje Vanelle
Publisher’s Synopsis: Another adventure story from Inca the extraordinary Siberian kitty-cat. It is Christmas time, and Inca is ready to enjoy the holiday season with her Siamese sister Cara and brother Fromage – the cheese loving Tabby cat, not to forget their adopted hamster Charlotte. Life turns interesting when their neighborhood tough dog – Boss comes around asking for help to save the loss of his master and domicile. Another mystery to solve with the help of their neighbors Monk the Blue Russian cat and Polo the Pekinese doggy. An eventful time is around the corner for the newly formed detective team headed by Inca.
“Readers will surely admire Inca’s grace and wit as they follow the detective cat’s adventures in this unexpected tale of redemption.”—The Children’s Book Review
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Createspace | 2016 | ISBN-13: 9781539888482
For More Information:
Free Reading section: http://www.incabookseries.com/read-for-free-christmas-cats/
Reviews from readers: http://www.incabookseries.com/press-and-reviews/
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