“Mosby” is preparing to grab me by his claws when I walk by the kitchen counter.
I have yet to meet a writer without a pet. More often than not, the pet is a cat. Cats and computers go together. Cats keep you company when you’re typing and like to edit your manuscript by walking across the keyboard. Now and then, their edits go unnoticed until the manuscript is published.
Cats inspire writers. Since they’re in your face or rubbing against your arm when you’re trying to type, you might as well include them in your stories. So I created a minor character, a cat named “Mosby,” to immortalize my pet in THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER.
My cat (now deceased) was more mischievous than the fictional one. He was clever. He could jump up high enough to turn off the kitchen light, and he did this more than once. One time I found him sitting on top of the ledge of the back door. He was a big cat, so I don’t know how he maintained his balance, but he was an acrobat.
Both my cat and the fictional one were named after the Confederate raider Colonel John Singleton Mosby, a.k.a. “The Gray Ghost.” Since Mosby’s Midnight Raid occurred in Fairfax, Virginia, and most of the novel takes place in Fairfax County, where I was living at the time, it seemed fitting to write my cat into the story.
John S. Mosby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While I was writing the novel, I had the opportunity to meet John Singleton Mosby’s grandson, Admiral Beverly Coleman. He lived in the same retirement home as my mother-in-law, so I found an excuse to meet him. I owned a book called MOSBY’S CONFEDERACY. I asked Admiral Coleman to sign it next to his own photo, which was included in the book. Admiral Coleman’s features were identical to his grandfather’s. I was in seventh heaven talking to Admiral Coleman when my husband came to the door signaling me to leave the room. Admiral Coleman asked me who “that man” was. When I acknowledged that the so-and-so was my husband, the admiral said, “He’s a lucky fella.” That made my day.
My first published article was “Mosby’s Midnight Raid,” which appeared in the CONNECTION, a newspaper with a wide distribution in Northern Virginia. I sent Admiral Coleman a copy of the article and a photo of my cat. He replied with a nice letter.
Many cats that live in Fairfax are named after the Confederate raider, but only mine earned a part in THE PRINCE IN THE TOWER. He was “a character” in every sense of the word.