Today on Who are the Cat Writers’ Association? our guest is Diane A.S. Stuckart, a New York Times bestselling author who has written fiction in multiple genres including historical romance, mystery, fantasy, and short stories.
Diane, tell us a bit about your writing career.
I am primarily a novelist, mostly of historical and cozy mystery, though I did start out writing historical romance. Additionally, I’ve published several short stories in various magazines and anthologies. In fact, this year’s goal (among may other writing goals!) is to finally finish and publish as Kindle Shorts my trilogy of fantasy cat short stories under the umbrella of The Thomas Moonraker Chronicles.
I have two cozy series featuring cats: The Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the Tarot Cat Mysteries. My most recent series is the Georgia B&B Mysteries (written as Anna Gerard) set in a fictional tourist town west of Savannah. There are no cats (as yet) in that series, though a feisty Australian shepherd plays a prominent role.
How do cats inspire your creativity?
My own two sibling black cats, Brandon Bobtail and Ophelia, are the inspirations for the two felines in the Tarot Cats mysteries. They also hang out on my desk when I write, giving off “creative” vibes. Until a couple of years ago, I also had my ginger tabby boys, brothers Butch and Sundance, who were with us for almost 18 years and “helped” me with my writing.
Now for three extremely arbitrary questions, or I guess in your case, four!
- What is your favorite cat movie and why?
I still have soft spot for That Darn Cat just because it was one of the few movies that featured a feline back when I was a kid. Oh, and of course, The Three Lives of Thomasina (though at the age of six, I found it a bit frightening in spots). These days, however, my go-to cat movies feature Puss ‘N Boots from the Shrek series (how can you resist those eyes! Plus, Antonio Banderas, ya know).
2. Did you grow up with cats?
My parents were not pet people by any means, but I did have my fabulous Topsy, a ginger tabby who was with us for many years. After her came Felixie (originally Felix until we figured out that she was a girl). I didn’t have another cat until college when my husband and I got together…he’s a cat (and dog) person, too.
3. Do you sing to cats? If so, what songs do you sing?
My cats are far too dignified to let me sing to them beyond a “here, kitty kitty kitty” aria. I do, however, sing to my dogs. Each one of them has their own theme song, in addition to spur-of-the-moment compositions.
4. Where are you sitting right now? From where you are, how many cat-themed objects can you see? How many cats?
I’m at my office desk, and on the wall is an oversized framed print of three cats: a ginger tabby, a tortie, and a tuxedo kitty. On my desk, my business cards are held by a seated and smiling tuxedo cat, plus I have a cute drawing of a gray tiger kitty I cut out of a box of greeting cards, and a photo of Brandon when he was just a yawning little kitten. Oh, and there’s a cat charm bracelet I wore yesterday that I forgot to put up. Ophelia (or sometimes Brandon) is normally in the basket I keep for them on my desk, but they’re currently out on the back porch having supper.
DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series written as Ali Brandon. Additionally, she is the author of the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries, which received starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, as well as a Florida Book Award for the second in the series, PORTRAIT OF A LADY. She’s also penned several mystery, fantasy, and romance short stories that have appeared in various anthologies and magazines.
Diane’s latest ventures include the Tarot Cats Mystery series set in a West Palm Beach botanica and stars a pair of clever feline detectives. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series, written as Anna Gerard, features an innkeeper-turned-sleuth in a fictional tourist town west of Savannah. Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES, is her 17th published novel and was released in 2021.
A member of Mystery Writers of America, Diane served as the 2018 and 2019 Chapter President of the MWA Florida chapter. She’s also a member of Sisters in Crime and the Cat Writers’ Association. Outside her writing life, she’s an avid thrifter with shops on Etsy and eBay and is a member and current secretary of the Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association. Diane is a native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma but has been living in the West Palm Beach, FL area since 2006. She shares her “almost in the Everglades” home with her husband, dogs, cats, and a few beehives. Learn more about her books at www.dianestuckart.com and www.facebook.com/blackcatmysteries