Exclusive Q&A with Cat Girl’s Day Off author Kimberly Pauley

After a brief hiatus, we’re continuing our features on Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley. Last week, we featured an interview with Rufus — the cat featured on the cover of the book, and one of the main feline characters in the novel. Today, we’re delighted to bring you an interview with Kimberly, herself!

You’ve gone from vampires to cats! What made you decide to write a book about the goings on inside the minds of cats?

I’ve always loved cats (much more than vampires, actually), though the idea actually started off as simply “teen with a super power they think is stupid discovers it isn’t so bad after all.” There were other possible Talents that I could have gone with that I’d come up with, but I just thought the cat thing would be a lot of fun!

Part of what I loved so much about Cat Girl’s Day Off was that it included such a wonderful homage to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” What is it about that movie that makes it so iconic, even today?

I think most of the movies John Hughes made are like that. They’re real and true. Even if cultural references get dated, there are things that are universal. Behind the manic madcap adventure that Ferris takes his friends on, there’s also the heart and soul of Cameron (his best guy friend) on display. We’ve all felt alienated. We’ve all wanted to be Ferris (or someone like him). We’ve all got some issues with authority figures…

You used to live in the Chicago area, where Cat Girl takes place. Did you ever visit any Ferris Bueller landmarks?

Absolutely! Just about all of them! I actually took the Wrigley Ball Park Tour for research purposes for the movie. It’s the setting that I used the most. I did try and actually get into the high school that was used in the movie too, but it didn’t work out (I offered to do a free author visit but I think that just freaked them out…maybe they thought I was a stalker or something). The restaurant that they went to in the movie doesn’t actually exist, so I didn’t do that and the security at the stock exchange has drastically gone up since September 11th so I didn’t visit there either (didn’t want to have to deal with the security issues in the book).

Are there any traumatic cat experiences in your past we should know about?

Not really any particularly traumatic ones. Normal cat scratches and things like that. A few scars. Mostly, cats and I get along. Though there was the time our cat knocked down the Christmas tree.

Cat Girl reads very much as a standalone novel, yet I see potential here! Any thoughts on another book with Nat and her cat friends? What’s next for you?

It is a standalone novel, though I’d love to write about Nat and her crazy friends (and cats) again. I even have a loose idea for a plot and a working title (Don’t Call Me Cat Girl). If you guys would like to see one…the best thing I can tell you is…buy the book! Tell your friends! Tell your local librarian! Tell your local bookseller! It could definitely happen. Heck, feel free to write my publisher, Tu Books, an imprint of Lee and Low and tell ‘em you’d like to see one. Seriously, all that stuff makes a difference.

As for what’s next…well, I have actually completed another novel that is currently out on submission with my agent. Not sure what’s going on with that yet, but I will say that it’s a much darker and more serious novel than my first three books. And I’m working on a new book that’s probably midway between the serious-ish-ness of the book on sub and Cat Girl. And I have about a million ideas rattling around in my head that I want to get to…

FLASH QUESTIONS:

Private concert: who’s playing

Tom Waits! (I could probably pick about a million different people/bands, but he was the first to pop in my head, so I’m going with it)

Pizza toppings?

Sausage, mushroom, and extra cheese (if I’m doing American-style pizza…if we’re talking real Italian style, geez, it’s harder to say).

Book you can’t stop re-reading?

Wow. Um. When I was about 11, that book was Jane Eyre. When I was a 13, it was The Mists of Avalon. When I was 15, it was The Number of the Beast. And somewhere in there it was also The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the only series I ever wrote fan fiction for). It keeps changing. It’s really hard to answer now because I don’t really have the time to re-read things like I used to (you know, 4 year old, writing, promotion, housekeeping, etc. etc. etc.). The last book I re-read was The White Plague by Frank Herbert (the Dune guy) BUT I wouldn’t say that was a book I really love. So…um…how about this one battered collection of short stories I have from Robert A. Heinlein called The Menace from Earth? It’s a perennial favorite of mine and I read it at least once a year.

I’m guessing you weren’t looking for such a long answer there, huh?

Living or dead, who would you like to have dinner with?

Johnny Depp! Just kidding. Um…ALL of the Grandmasters of Science Fiction at one big table! Heinlein, Harry Harrison, Harlan Ellison, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, etc. etc. I wouldn’t say a word, I’d just sit there and take it in. And I know it’d be crazy because I did get to have dinner once with Harry and he was a complete hoot just by himself.

Perfect vacation?

Any vacation where I get to walk and explore, especially an old city with cool markets. Hmm. I guess that makes living in London kind of like being on permanent vacation, huh?

Look at your desk right now. Name five things within reach.

Agh! I have no desk anymore! *sob* That was one of the things I gave up when we moved to London. We’re in a two bedroom flat now. So I usually wind up working at the dining room table. So…right now…

  1. A cup of tea (I made my own blend of English Breakfast tea with Rose tea).
  2. My laptop (doh!).
  3. My wedding ring. It was twisting around on my finger and driving me nuts, so I took it off so I could type better.
  4. The family iPad (because I took a time out to play DrawSomething…if you wanna play with me, I’m KimberlyPauley).
  5. A candle in a bowl I made, next to salt, also in a bowl I made (I took a pottery class about six or seven years ago wherein I made a bunch of pretty bowls, none of which remotely match each other).

Hey, you know what, I’ll give you a picture. Worth a thousand words, right?

Thanks so much, Kimberly, for stopping by!

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