Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Raining Cats and Dogs Tour 2013 ~ Kiwi in Cat City by Vickie Johnstone

Kiwi in Cat City

Amy and James live in a house with their parents and their little black cat, Kiwi. One dark night, Amy cannot sleep and she looks out of the window into the garden to see Kiwi transfixed by the moon, which has taken on a weird, glowing shape like a cat's claw. Waking her brother, Amy suggests they follow Kiwi that night to see where she goes... whether it involves a hunt for mice or something else. Little do they know that, with a flick of her tail, Kiwi is going to lead them on the adventure of their lives to a land they never knew existed in their wildest dreams. In the blue-lit world of Cat City, they gain an understanding of what it's really like to be a cat. There they get to help Inspector Furrball solve the mystery of the missing catizens and find out what happened to Madame Purrfect.

Read Excerpts here

About Author
Hi, I live in London, UK, and I’m a freelance editor. I've published 3 books of poetry: Kaleidoscope, Life’s Rhythms, and Travelling Light. My novels include: 4 books in the Kiwi Series for kids; 3 Heads & a Tail, and Day of the Living Pizza. Besides books, I love art, travelling, nature, the sea, gigs, dancing like an eejit, rock music, films, fluffies and tarot. Sleeping should be an Olympic sport.

Author's Website:  http://vickiejohnstone.blogspot.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vickie.johnstone

vickie johnstone @vickiejohnstone

Interview with Vickie

Q. Do you actually like cats?
Yes, I love them. I love most animals, fish and butterflies, bees, etc, but I’m not too keen on spiders – they give me the heebie jeebies. When I was growing our house was like a mini zoo and neighbors would ask my mum to take in animals, too – we got a few cats and a duck that way. The first cat I remember was Mitzi. She was black and skinny, and acted a bit posh. As a kid, we used to talk a lot!! My mum got her from a cat rescue place. A woman brought her to our home and let Mitzi out of a box onto the table in the living room. My mum was smoking and kitty panicked, ran through the ash tray, sending the contents flying, and padded ash footprints down the table and then up the curtains. She perched at the top, watching us. My mum laughed so loud and Mitzi stayed. Growing up, other cats included Misty, Buster, Smokey and Charlie. I can’t remember them all. My mum has one cat now, called Lily, and she is the daughter of Kiwi, a cat I used to have.

Q. Do you have a cat?
Yes, she’s called Moggie. I’ve included a picture. She’s 13, black and white, and very talkative. She even makes weird clucky noises at birds out the window. Moggie doesn’t hunt, which is a relief, as my previous kitty did and used to love leaving ‘presents’, to my horror! I like to feed the birds in our garden. We have a few regulars – a robin, a sparrow or Mrs Robin (not sure), Mr and Mrs Blackbird, and a tit. Anyway, Moggie was outside as it is sunny (unusual for Britain!) and she meowed to come in. She was by the back door, but Mr Robin zoomed down and started munching the food that was on the ground. He wasn’t bothered about her at all. So maybe he knows she’s safe...
I got Moggie and her brother, Kurt, in a charity pet shop when she was about six weeks old. She was tiny and fitted in the palm of my hand. I had recently lost my cat Kiwi and was looking for an adult female. But, as soon as she saw me, Moggie mewed her head off and ran around her cage. I just remember this little creature being so loud with these massive ears that seemed too big for her head. She seemed to be saying ‘take me, take me’, so I did. At home, when I let her out of the box, she did about ten laps of the room, purring her head off. She also had a habit of running up my legs and back, and perching on my shoulder like a parrot when she was a kitten. As she got older, it had to stop – you can imagine why!

Q. Why did you write about cats?
 Vickie & Kiwi
Because I love ‘em and they’re cool. I’ve also always had a cat, so I sometimes felt like I was an adopted cat mum! I used to have a kitty called Kiwi and I wrote Kiwi in Cat City about her. She died in 2000, and I wrote the book in 2002. It was inspired by her. She is the main character, and then the other animals and plot emerged from that. I love the fact that she’s alive in my books because I was gutted when I lost her. She was only six. The real Kiwi was cool, loved jumping for moths (oops) and chasing shadows, ate a lot, would swat the food off your plate if you weren’t looking, liked to play with anything that moved and was really, really fluffy. She also slept on my bed. As a kitten she was just a black ball of fluff with two yellow eyes peering out.

Q. Where can our children learn from reading your book?
Erm, I’m not sure. There are several themes in the Kiwi Series – friendship; loyalty; treating others equally is good; not judging a character by their appearance (the tiny crabs in book 4 to think of one); that curiosity is good, but should be tamed with care sometimes; that bullying is wrong (the cobra in book 5, Dev’s character, the ghost in book 3, the giant mice in book 2 – this is a common theme); that good deeds win over bad and are usually rewarded, though not always; that it is fine to be different; that there is much to learn in the world; that magic can be used for good or evil; that acting impulsively can be both good and bad; etc, etc. I try to create worlds that children might find fun and aren’t like their normal everyday places. In book 6, I invented my own version of where Father Christmas would live because I just thought I’d love to go there! I hope children read the books and then want to write their own stories because they can create whatever they like.

Q. What has been your favorite part of your author journey so far?
The writing, which I love, and seeing my book available for people to read. That people can read my books if they want is the most amazing thing. Basically that’s my dream from childhood fulfilled. I used to always feel there was something missing; now I feel more complete. Is that corny? Probably! I wrote Kiwi in Cat City in 2002, but it just sat in various drawers, gathering dust until I discovered Amazon KDP and Smashwords at the start of 2011. If it wasn’t for that, my book would still be unread. It’s lovely to read a review from someone who has read your book and enjoyed it, and ‘got’ what you’re trying to do/say. I love writing for young readers too – I like going into that world. I guess it’s kind of innocent. No one gets massacred, tortured or hurt in my books, and that’s nice. It’s also very freeing – you can let your imagination go crazy because you don’t have to write realistic things. For me, it’s pretty escapist too – I can leave reality behind and go anywhere.

Q. Which inspires you to write?

All sorts. With poetry, it can be anything – a flower, a person in the street, a word, a phrase or a cloud. The Kiwi Series was inspired by my cat, Kiwi, as you know. I wrote Day of the Living Pizza for a charity book called The Gage Project, published by Inknbeans Press. It was for a boy called Gage who was about to have a scary operation. I asked his mother what his favourite things were and she said The Walking Dead, chicken, rock music and pizza. So I wrote a comedy horror, which is a send-up of scary zombie films and people turn into walking pizzas. I won’t tell you how chicken comes in – you’d have to read it. My other book, a comedy and starring a dog, 3 Heads & a Tail, was written for NaNoWriMo 2011, so that was my inspiration – writing 50k in the month of November. It was great for me as I’m naturally lazy and put things off. It kept my butt in front of my laptop for longer than it wanted.

Q. What’s your favorite quote?
That’s a tough one. My memory isn’t the best, so I’m going to have to think hard. When I was in Senior School, I read Macbeth. I loved Shakespeare a lot and this was my favourite play, so I think my favourite quote is probably from that, the “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech – I also love Sound and Fury by Faulkner, who got the title from this.

Apart from that, I’d go with one of these:

  • Bugs Bunny - “Eh, what’s up, doc?”
  • Einstein - “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
  • Einstein - “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.”
  • Roald Dahl - “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Q. What’s next for you?
I have a few ideas for books for older readers – one is a thriller with a female killer; one is about a detective, but there will be a twist to it and it will be set in times gone by; and the third is about a female journalist who stumbles across an interesting story about a guy, but that one will have a lot to research as the bloke will have been in a prison camp or war. He will have a history that she gradually uncovers. I have also been trying to carry on with a fantasy for YA, which I began in 2009. It’s a long time coming! I also started writing a children’s book about mice last year, so there’s that, too. And I need to write some more poetry as I’ve stopped due to having a lot of work recently. I used to write something every night before sleeping in a notebook I kept by my bed. I’m looking forward to Thursday, because I’ll have a few free days – the first since Christmas – so I can think about writing and actually do some... fingers crossed. So that will be great, unless I can’t think of anything, which will be sod’s law! J

The Illustrations inside all of the Kiwi books are 
by the talented Nikki McBroom

My Thoughts of Kiwi in Cat City

Late one night Amy woke up and saw her cat Kiwi sneak out of the house through her window. She decided she was going to follow Kiwi just to find out what the cat was up to while the family was sleeping. Amy's little brother James awoke and wanted to know what was going on.  When she told him he jumped out of bed ready to spy on Kiwi.  It was a little, maybe a lot scary wondering around in the dark outside.  As they ran through a field Kiwi turned around and asked them if they were following her. After they got over their shock Kiwi asked if they wanted to come along with her.  Both of the children decided they wouldn't miss this for anything.  Then she told them to repeat some magic words and motions to make and shazam! Amy and James turned into kittens. Yep, with tails, fur and walking on four legs.  Kiwi told the kids/kittens they were going to Cat City and not to let the catizens know they were humans.

What in the cat world was going on?  What was Cat City and catizens?
Well they are soon to find out.  They are about begin the greatest adventure of their lives. 

This author has quite a vivid imagination.  Turning children into kittens not to mention that their pet cat can speak several human languages.  Vickie's talent for writing is impressive in that it kept this sixty-two year old grandma entertained through the entire book.  You will find adventure, intrigue, mystery, kidnapping and cat police to the rescue. 

The illustrations in the book depict the story which appears to be watercolors in soft colors.  The images  make you want to pickup  the children and the cat up and give them a big hug.  They are just too cute!

The author has several other books in this series and more to come.

I highly recommend this book.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

I received a free copy of this book from author Vickie Johnstone for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion

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  1. Thanks Patricia. Thank you so much for hosting me and I really enjoyed the interview. Made me realise that I can talk about animals forever! :)

  2. Thank you for hosting Vickie, Patricia, and for your fantastic support to us both :)


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