Tamara Anne Fowler is Edit Kitten, a writer with 20-plus years of experience offering a softer, gentler approach to editing and coaching. Her personal editors —Armani, Max Factor and Spicey’D—are also her cats.
Her writing career began with articles in DOG FANCY and CAT FANCY. She has published poetry and was a stringer for LIFE Magazine 1989-1993. When she lived in Los Angeles, she was also an actor, appearing in commercials, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and in many, many independent films (not “those” kind). She penned a children’s book series which consists of 21 short books for 7-9 year olds, the only thing that kept her sanity when she worked for INDY MAC Bank 2005-the bank crash of 2007.
Currently she lives in the Portland area and is working on Western sci-fi and horror novels as well as a series of futuristic short stories. She “ holds writers accountable” with her weekly coaching sessions.
My Guest Today Is Tamara Anne Fowler, cat writer, editor and writing coach.
~What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in the cat world? And your greatest disappointment?
Tamara: Greatest accomplishment— Rescue rescue rescue! I used to volunteer for Kitten Rescue when I lived in LA. My cats were all KR rescues. I would volunteer for adoption events and soon I became adoption lead which was very stressful because I had the last word if someone could adopt or not.
I was responsible for a litter of found little kittens. I could not foster them at my apartment but the woman who found them offered to house them if I would come by every Saturday, pick them up and take them to adoption events. They were adopted out with ease (even though KR has very strict adoption needs).
One day, this frazzled and disheveled man came in. He said, “My sister wants to be one of these.” Our president said, “Your sister wants to be a cat?” The man ran out (seriously, ran). Weeks later I saw this man on a flier warning of cat abusers.
Greatest disappointment? I tried T&R and was no good at it. It really upset me. So I had to leave it to my KR friends Charlotte and Mi and they did an incredible job. My other disappointment was that I was unable to continue to volunteer for the Oregon Humane Society. I would have brought home too many cats. I have zero restraint.
~What would you most like to discuss in this interview?
Tamara: Cats! Cats! Cats! Nothing is off the table!
~Tell us the story of your “soul cat”?
Tamara: I adopted lil miss coco chanel on June 30, 2001. I knew she would be special because when I drove up to the pet store, Centinella Feed and Pet, I had trouble parking. I was shaking.
When I met her she was running around in her cage with her siblings. They took her out, put her in my arms. She immediately calmed down and started purring. I started to cry.
When I got her home she was so comfortable in her own skin I did not need to put her into a separate room and let her slowly get used to my apartment.
Every night she slept in between my breasts. Until she finally got “too big.” Ah, first separation of mother and child is so painful.
We were always so in-tuned. We always needed to know where each other was in the apartment. We had a deep connection.
This leads up to me losing her May 9, 2017 at 4:10 am. She was 5 days shy of her sweet 16th birthday.
To her vising me at 4:10 am this past year on the 9th and the 10th.
At least I didn’t try putting her on TV!!
~Losing a beloved kitty is so hard! I’m glad you still see her, even if she is a ghost cat now.
~Like me, you are a member of the Cat Writers’ Association, demonstrating your true dedication to cats. How many cats do you have? Do they help with your writing?
Tamara: Well, if I have to be honest, no. Max Factor likes to jump up on my laptop when I am trying to write or trying to edit. However, their little spirits and the beauty of their personalities is quite inspiring.
~Tell us your favorite real or fictional cat story.
“Puff’s Vegetable Garden,” a Tiny Tale book I got at a birthday party in the late 60’s. I love it so much it is the one item I would save in a fire (besides my cats, of course) so I always know where it is.
It is a quick little tale about Puff, a fluffy white kitten, trying to help his owner, Timmy, plant a vegetable garden. Timmy puts all the bags of seeds in a little pile on the ground and then goes off and gets some gardening supplies so he can dig up the dirt. While he is gone, Puff tries to help by scratching open all the packets. Now they are all mixed up!!! All the seeds are together and you cannot tell which is which . They end up calling it Timmy’s vegetable soup garden. Last page: “Poor little sad Puff could only say, “Mew!”
Outside of my living kitties it is my most precious possession.
~What five words would you use to describe yourself?
Tamara: nice, honest, fun, loyal, C-A-T
~What is the most useful writing tip you’ve ever been given?
Tamara: There is no such thing as writer’s block. If you feel stuck just sit down and write ANYTHING: “This sucks. This really sucks. I hate this” and soon you will be off and writing.
~Add something you would like to tell us just for fun.
Tamara: In 1991, my orange Maine Coon, Humbert Humbert, was on the Pat Sajak Show. I would never do this again. For all his glory it was a horrible experience.
Well (ugh) first of all I had to drug Humbert Humbert to drive him over to CBS studios “over the hill.” The windy windy street of Laurel Canyon Blvd.
THEN, once I had him happily set up in his dressing room — his litter box secured, food and water out, got to watch him carefully explore everything, with his belly close to the floor — the “actress” that had been hired to be in the scene with him arrived and freaked out. She yelled, “What is THAT doing in HERE???”
She claimed to be allergic but I think she just wanted a dressing room all to herself.
I put Humbert back into his carrier and into an old equipment room we went. I couldn’t let him out of his carrier because it was all cameras and wires and many places to get lost in. Plus — BONUS! — there was a high pitch squealing noise. Non-stop.
I got us moved to a conference room, with cold, uncomfortable table and chairs but at least I could let him out of his carrier.
Then, when it was time for him to be on stage, I had to take my place backstage to be ready. Why didn’t I think of this …. what accompanies late night talk shows? Lives bands. He just shook in my arms as they played away. And, believe you me, they are ear-shatteringly LOUD standing right behind them.
I had asked the “actress” not to let go of his leash because we had almost lost him the day before in rehearsals. What does that bitch do? You guessed it. She lets go of his leash.
Luckily, he only jumped up on the back of the couch and went no further. As I write this I am close to tears. Poor baby.
I had some great photos of Humbert with Pat, however, they have long since turned to dust.
~Do you have any big news coming up soon? (Awards, articles, shows, readings, etc)
Tamara: Nothing. (Sad face here.)
Well, to be fair, I write two articles every month on community happenings for the Concordia News. But only one of my articles was ever about cats.
I edit. And I am an accountability coach for writers as well.
~What is the best way to keep up with you? (social media & links here)
Facebook: Edit Kitten
~Thank you for being with us today and best of luck, Tamara!