There’s a simply gorgeous book being published today (20th October) by Macmillan – Christmas at the Cat Cafe by Melissa Daley. I know so many people who really enjoyed Molly and the Cat Cafe last year, and this new book is available for kindle but also as a lovely hardcover edition, perfect for any cat lover’s Christmas stocking.
Christmas at the Cat Cafe is a heart-warming story about love, loss, family, and some unforgettable cats. Here’s the story:
The Costwolds’ town of Stourton-on-the-Hill has its very own cat café. Resident cat Molly, and her kittens, live here in feline paradise, while owner Debbie serves the locals home-made goodies. But even in the most idyllic surroundings, things don’t always go to plan . . .
When Debbie’s heartbroken sister Linda arrives at the café, Debbie insists she move in. But Linda is not alone, and the catsare devastated with the arrival of Linda’s dog, Beau. Sadly, Beau’s arrival is not the only bombshell – now Molly’s home is also under threat when a rival cat moves in on her turf.
With Christmas approaching, Molly is unsettled, barely roused by the promise of tinsel to play with. Fearing for her feline family she hopelessly stares out of the café window searching for an answer. Only a Christmas miracle could bring everyone together . . .
I’m delighted to welcome author Melissa Daley to tell us more…
Welcome to Being Anne, Melissa! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Thank you for inviting me. I’m a writer of cat novels for adults, or ‘kitty-lit,’ as I prefer to call it.
So many of my friends really enjoyed Molly and the Cat Cafe – and they’ll love this one just as much. What gave you the original idea for the books?
Thank you! I’d read about cat cafes on social media, and I thought they were a fantastic idea. Our cat Nancy loves to make herself at home in our local pubs and restaurants, so I began to imagine what would happen if a stray cat moved into a café and ended up turning the place into a cat café by default. The idea grew from there and I started to build up the back story of the cat (Molly), how she ended up homeless, and what happened after she had moved in to the café. It all seemed perfectly plausible to me, given our experiences with Nancy, although I’m the first to accept that the reality of setting up and running a cat café is probably nothing like the version in my books!
And tell me more about the setting of Stourton-on-the-Hill…
Stourton-on-the-Hill is based on Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds. The publishers PanMacmillan were keen on a Cotswolds setting for the book, so I spent a lovely weekend driving around the area looking for a town to use as inspiration. As soon as I arrived in Stow-on-the-Wold I knew I had found the perfect place. Not only is it a quintessential Cotswolds town set around a picturesque market square, but it also has a network of narrow alleyways which run between the square and the surrounding streets (they were historically used to drive sheep into the square for the sheep markets). I knew I wanted Molly to come up against a feral alley-cat when she first arrived in the town, so a town criss-crossed with alley-ways had to be the ideal location.
Do you plan to write more? Or do you have a hankering to write a crime thriller maybe – or a bit of chick lit?
I love writing the cat café books, and if people want to read more I will happily write more. I do occasionally wonder what it would be like to write a book that isn’t written from a cat’s point of view, and maybe one day I’ll have the time to give that a go. I haven’t got as far as thinking about genre yet. I would probably just start writing and see what happens.
Nancy, your own cat, is a star in her own right of course, with her own Facebook page – and she’s totally gorgeous. She’s a writer too, isn’t she? Didn’t I read her “meowmoir” a few years ago?
Yes, Nancy is definitely the diva of the household. She became something of a local celebrity as a kitten, due to her habit of jumping into people’s cars, sneaking into their houses, or following them home. She appeared in the local paper and things just snowballed from there, leading to her setting up a Facebook page and yes, publishing her ‘meowmoir’, Sex and the Kitty, in 2011. She takes it all in her furry stride, naturally.
Tell me more about her household. Are she and Pip related? And where did Paddy – “the dog” – come from?
Pip is the senior cat of the house, older than Nancy by a couple of years. They were both rescue cats, and aren’t related. Pip has never quite forgiven us for acquiring Nancy and has always been bad-tempered towards her. However since we brought Paddy the rescue puppy home this summer, the cats seem to have patched up their differences to unite against their common enemy – the dog. We have a somewhat segregated household at the moment, with the cats upstairs and the dog downstairs, and the occasional flashpoint if their paths cross in between. I’m optimistic that things will settle down eventually, though. At least, I hope they will!
Melissa, I know next to nothing about you – are these your first novels? I’d love to know more about your path to publication…how did things happen for you?
The cat café books are my first ‘official’ novels, although I may have had an unofficial hand in helping Nancy write Sex and the Kitty. I had never consciously set out to be a novelist, let alone a writer of kitty-lit. Really, I have Nancy to thank for my writing career, as without her it would never have occurred to me to try.
This book will – I’m sure – be in many Christmas stockings this year. What are you hoping will be in yours? And how about Nancy?
I suspect that if Nancy could ask for anything for Christmas, it would be a dog-free house. Failing that, she’s always partial to a cat-nip toy or a bag of treats. I’ll make sure she gets thoroughly spoilt this Christmas, so she knows she’s still number one to me.
Melissa, thank you – and, as well as enjoying the new book, I’ll continue to follow Nancy’s adventures on Facebook and wish you a settled household by Christmas! My thanks to Jess Duffy at Pan Macmillan for introducing us, and for forwarding a copy of Christmas at the Cat Cafe.