I have another guest blogger today. Meet Sandra Cox. A vegetarian and animal lover, Sandra is an Administrative Assistant by day and an author by night. She lives with her husband, and a menagerie of pets, in sunny North Carolina. Sandra graduated from Eastern Illinois University and is an active member of EPIC, Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers. Her ninth book, Makita a YA/YAH has has just been released through Wings-press.com. Sandra and I had a little cyber-chat. You're welcome to listen in. I'm in bold and Sandra in italics.
First, Emily, thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to spending time with you and your readers.
I'm looking forward to it too. What with the success of Harry Potter and more recently the Twilight series, the line between YA and adult books is blurring. Can you tell us a little about MAKITA?
My cat fantasy series started with the loss of my twelve year old cat to cancer. His death inspired me to write Shardai, the first of the series.
I've been in rescue for many years and some of the things that animals have to endure is heartbreaking. With this series, I hope to make people think about the responsibilities that pet ownership entails. And the horrendous hardships that animals on their own are faced with every day just to survive.
The Cat of Catarau series is built on the premise that there is an afterlife for cats. They can choose to stay in ‘Catarau’ where they are ruled by the council of Nine and are forever young and healthy. Or… they can use one of their remaining lives to return to earth. This is a risk because there is no guarantee what kind of life they will have once they come back. Matika chooses to come back and try to find her pal Bennie the boxer who is grieving and won’t be able to survive on his own.
I love YA stories in the animal's POV. CHARLOTTE'S WEB, WATERSHIP DOWN, Brian Jacque's REDWALL(My daughters loved the tales of his valiant mice!)--the list goes on. It's fun to find things you can read with your kids! Of course, with an animal story, it seems like the dog always dies. In your case, it sounds like the cat died early . . . and then came back!
Yes, when Makita dies a violent death her best pal Bennie is left frightened and alone until Makita comes back to earth to find him. Here's a taste:
Quivering with fear, the cat and dog pressed against each other in the backseat of the car, as far away from the human sitting next to them as they could get. The dog whined uneasily. The driver was their owner and though he was neglectful and seemingly unaware of the animals’ existence, the dog had given him loyalty and love. The cat, more discriminating, had given her loyalty to the dog.
The driver looked around. “This is as good a spot as any.” He slowed the car.
The man in the back seat leaned across the nervous animals and flung the door open.
The cat screamed at the whoosh of air that rushed at her and tried to dig her claws in the upholstery. But the man gave both animals a hard shove. Even though they stiffened their legs and fought for purchase on the old car seat, they went flying through the air, crying out in fear.
The dog landed with a whimper and a thud on the hard ground. The cat’s head struck a telephone pole. She slid to the ground and lay still.
The dog picked himself up, shook himself off and limped over to the cat. He nuzzled her but she didn’t move. He barked at the disappearing car, then lay down next to the motionless body of the cat and waited for his master to return.
~ * ~
The Council of Nine and the little tabby called Great Mother ran to the bridge and waited.
I'm so glad it sounds like MAKITA will be quickly resurrected. Here's what a reviewer had to say:
"Being an animal lover, animal stories always touch my soul. This one brought a tear to my eye and warmth to my heart, as I cheered for these furry pals and their friends. An excellent addition to The Cats of Catarau series. If you love animals, then I recommend that this book grace your library." ~ Angela Verdenius, Heart & Soul Sci-fi/futuristic romance series
And let me say, I'm thrilled to learn that you have two rescue dogs, Emily. How long have you had them? My Catarau series is based around the hardships that animals face that don't have loving families to take care of them or aren't lucky enough to get into rescue. I'd love to know how many of your readers also have rescues.
I'm always happy to talk about my "furkids," Susie and Mack. Susie, the little black poodle mix blending so nicely into the recliner has been with us 11 years. She was an abused pound puppy who was so afraid of men in ball caps she'd almost go into spasms. It took her 6 months to warm up to my DH. Mack is an Irish Jack Russell and he's been with us for 4 years, since he was a pup. He's a product of a puppy mill who had the misfortune to be born with a birth defect (correctible with surgery). My soft-hearted brother-in-law kept him from being destroyed and we sort of inherited Mack when my sister and her hubby couldn't keep him. Susie and Mack are proof that "found" pets are the best kind.
Back to your writing, Sandra. What drew you to writing YA and what age range are you aiming for?
I'm drawn to fantasy and I love animals, so its just a good fit for me.
I write for young adults and young at heart. These books are geared for animal lovers of all ages.
How many pets have you had over the years?
Since I foster, I'd have to say in the hundreds. Mainly cats:)
Wow! At one time, we had 2 horses, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 kids at home. I was tempted to start calling my DH "Noah!" But hundreds! Holy litterbox! I know, I know, you didn't have them all at the same time!
What's the best writing advice you ever received?
I'd like to answer that one with a quote:
Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall. Oliver Goldsmith
I'll be holding a random drawing for a copy (paper or e) of Makita. To enter, just leave a comment.
Thanks so much for having me, Emily.
Thanks for coming. You heard her! I'm willing to bet there are some animal lovers out there who'll comment. And if you have a "rescued" pet, we'd love to hear your story. Leave a comment or question to be entered to win a copy of MAKITA by Sandra Cox.
Good morning, Emily. So you have an eleven year old poodle mix and a four year old Jack Russell mix. I bet Mack keeps things hopping:) And I'm so glad you rescued Susie.
Actually, we suspect Susie may be 16 or older. The people who dropped her at the pound told the workers she was 5 years old at the time. When we took her immediately to the vet, he said her teeth looked even older, so there's no telling how old that little girl is.
But she's a happy dog and she still puts Mack in his place!
Oh my gosh. That is amazing.
I "inherited" my animals from my kids. I have one left, a 16 year old cat named Sammie.
Excellent books, Sandra!
16 is amazing Annie. One of my 'inherited' is 15 1/2.
Sandra, I love your excerpt! We got our English setter, Sky, from a rescue association for English setters. She hadn't been abused, but left off at a cat kennel with her papers and her vet history (including the vet bills with all the details!).
We believe the previous dropped her off because she's afraid of gunshots--and thunder and fireworks. For months after we got her, she pointed at birds when we walked her, and kept looking back at us, waiting for us to go after the birds.
Good for you, Edie. Sky is lucky to have you. I think the word is slowly getting out that you can get pure breds through rescue you, don't you?
As you know I have no understanding whatsoever of animals other that they don't speak Eneglish but I just wanted to drop by and say hello to a mate
Hello, mate. Thanks for stopping by:)
I enjoyed the excerpt of your story. I'm very soft hearted where animals are concerned. Most of our animals have come to us because they needed a home in order to be safe. Now we have a papillon mix that is so smart and entertaining I can't imagine anyone being cruel to her. But she has some problems with cars driving by while we're out for a walk, and she's always so happy to get back home from a walk that she runs inside and checks out her doggie dish. I think she has a fear of losing her home. She's also afraid of men except for my dh who picked her out at Guardian Angel when she was 4 months old. Although she's high strung, she's so smart that we have lots of fun times with her. She's always doing something new to surprise me. :-)
Thanks for being a cat rescuer. We've always had at least one cat too.
And thanks Emily for having Sandra!
Thanks for stopping by and for being a Guardian Angel yourself to critters in need.
I saw Seduction is now at Amazon. Congrats!
Anny--"Found" pets are the best, aren't they?
Hi Edie!--Too funny about your setter pointing on walks! We used to have a chocolate lab who was afraid of thunder and would not be comforted. She was a darling dog, except when loud noises made her stupid with fear.
Amirinda--My dogs know a lot more of my language than I know of theirs! Thanks for popping by!
Jeanmarie--My little Susie is part papillion. I swear she can do semaphore with her ears!
Sandra--Do you find homes for the cats you foster or are you affiliated with an organization that helps with that?
I foster for a couple of different organizations.
Last fall, there was a raid on a puppy mill near here. They rounded up over 100 Aussies that were in serious medical need. It still hasn't gone to trial. Very sad. Fortunately, the dogs were all fostered out and many have made great strides.
My little Mack was a puppy mill dog. He was born with undistended testicles, so the breeder was going to put a bullet in his brain because he couldn't sell a "defective" pup. My sister and brother-in-law offered to take him and paid for the surgery to fix the problem, but when they got him home, their aging lab mix thought Mack was a chew toy.
So he came to live with us and is the most loving, "undefective" pet you could ever wish for.
LuAnn, I hope they tighten the laws on puppy mills.
Your excerpt just broke my heart. I've always loved animals, but feel a special affinity for cats. I have (or am owned by) 2 lovely calico ladies at the moment. They are only 3 years old, so I hope to spend many years with them.
I'm looking forward to reading your series. Best wishes, Lori Ann
Thank you so much, Lori. It sounds like your calico friends have a very loving mom:)
Hi Emily, Love to see cats and dogs in romance. Good heroines and heros love animals.
Amber--My duchess is the proud companion of two cats,Castor and Pollux, in DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS. Perhaps that's why it was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award!
Thank you all for dropping by and leaving a comment! Sandra has chosen her winner and it's LORI K! Please contact me through www.emilybryan.com with your mailing info! Thanks!
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