People still look at me like I’m joking when I say I belong to the Cat Writers’ Association. Then I have to go into an explanation that, Yes, Virginia, there really is a Cat Writers’ Association. I also need to explain that it’s not just writers but all forms of creativity centered around cats. In this series, Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? I’ll introduce you to a few of the members so you can see for yourself the uniqueness of the CWA.
My first guest is friend and author Patricia Fry. When I say she is a prolific writer, it seems almost an understatement for someone who is currently working on her sixty-first cozy mystery! But I’ll let her tell you herself.
Patricia, Tell us a bit about your writing.
I’ve been a career writer for almost 50 years. I wrote hundreds—maybe thousands—or articles for about 300 different magazines over the years on a wide variety of topics, cat issues included. I also wrote several books throughout my original career. In 2011, I decided to retire from freelance writing and try my hand at writing fiction. I’m now the author of 60 cozy mysteries in the Klepto Cat Mystery series and the Calico Cat Mystery series. And I’ve never had so much fun writing. In fact, a part-time, retirement activity has become full-time work that I adore. I also write the Catscapades blog which is designed to entertain, educate, inform, enlighten, and tickle the fancy of cat lovers everywhere.
Do cats inspire your creativity?
Cats definitely inspire my creativity. When I was writing articles, I chose topics I wanted to know more about and that I felt were important to my readers. My cats often brought the topic or issue to light. It was through their behavior or because of their health issue that I’d feel compelled to research and write on a particular cat-related topic. When I decided to write fiction, I knew my stories would include cats. The idea of the klepto cat fascinated me and I knew that theme would work well in a mystery, so I came up with the Klepto Cat Mystery series featuring my mother’s confident, larger than life cat and the behavior of one of my cats who constantly brought me her stuffed animals—carrying or dragging them from her toy box to my office almost daily.
We adopted a calico kitten in 2020 named Olivia. She is sweet and sassy, quirky and quite inventive. I couldn’t resist creating a new series featuring Olivia, which I call the Calico Cat Mysteries. Such fun!
Now for three extremely arbitrary questions.
- Where are you sitting right now? From where you are, how many cat-themed objects can you see?
From where I’m sitting right now I can see 25 cat items and that doesn’t include the 14 four-slot frames filled with photos of my book covers on the walls and various cat photos here and there in my office. It does include a stuffed cat screen duster, a cat-a-day calendar, a poster showing cats in old-timey commercial ads, my day planner, and a small travel bag in cat motif. Fun stuff.
- How would you identify your cat in a lineup?
Olivia, the calico, would be the one crossing her paws—yes, with a lot of CATtitude!
- “Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, Donate, Educate” is a common slogan for animal rescue. What do you like to do?
What do I like to do related to cats? Well, I adopt rather than buy—and if it is a rescue, all the better. Most adoptions are. I also make sure my cats are spayed/neutered. And I educate and advocate through my writing. I did so when I wrote magazine articles and I still do this through my fiction work. In fact, at my Klepto Cat Mysteries website I have a list of 100 things you can learn from reading these stories.
My cozy mystery stories are always entertaining—that’s how I attract readers. The cats in my stories are real. They don’t have speaking parts, but they may take their catliness to an extreme at times, which delights my readers. But I also educate readers in the care and understanding of cats. Readers often remark that, after reading one of my stories or more they have a greater appreciation for cats on many levels.
And finally, tell us about your cats!
I currently have two cats, Sophie, a tortie, turns 18 this year. We adopted her after she was rescued from the streets at 10-weeks old and had no place to go. She has always been a sweet cat and has turned into a regal old gal. Olivia came to us after being discovered living under a house with her siblings. She’ll turn 2 soon. It is her beauty and her quirky/sweet and sassy cattitude that inspired the Calico Cat Mysteries.
A note from Patty:
I’d also like to mention my support group—the Cat Writers Association. I joined around ten years ago because I was just starting my cat-fiction career and I thought this affiliation would be good for book sales. But it has become more than that. I’ve made lifelong friends. I’ve grown as a writer and a cat owner and advocate from the high-quality members. I mean we aren’t all simply writers who love cats. Our membership includes cat behaviorists and other cat experts, veterinarians, many dedicated cat rescue people, and folks, this task is not for the meek. Our membership includes well-known and acclaimed authors on serious cat issues and of popular fiction series as well as writers just starting out, and publishers of periodicals as well as books, cat photographers, artists, and many others involved in a creative and/or educational aspect of cats. When we gather for our annual conference, we learn from workshops on everything you can imagine related to cats because our membership and our supporters are so diverse in their specialties, yet approachable—which is how the friendships are made.
I should also mention that we find great resources through our affiliation with CWA as well–such as illustrators, editors, etc. I found Bernadette Kazmarski, artists, for my book covers my sending a request through CWA. She has done all of the covers.
Learn more about my Klepto Cat Mysteries and Calico Cat Mysteries at amazon.com as well as KleptoCatMysteries.com, CalicoCatMysteries.com. Follow us on facebook and tap into my Catscapades blog: MatilijaPressc.com/Catscapades.