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The Cat Who Club

Interview 2

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To Go Back To Interview 1

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Held in January 1999, for the release of The Cat Who Saw Stars

                                    Moderator: An interactive
                                    editor will be typing for Lilian Jackson
                                    Braun, who will be joining us via  telephone.
                                    
                                    Moderator from barnesandnoble.com: Welcome Lilian Jackson Braun! Thank
                                    you for taking the time to join us online this evening. How are you
                                    doing tonight?
                                    
                                    LB: I am doing fine. How are you doing?
                                    
                                    kingkacahorrock.com from Australia: What made you choose a fictional
                                    cat to solve a adult theme?
                                    
                                    LB: Well, good question...I started out writing about cats because I
                                    wanted to write about cats because I think they are terribly
                                    interesting. One thing that I feel about my own cats is that they are
                                    psychic. They know when I go to the fridge to get food, they must be
                                    psychic. I thought here is a good twist for a plot. Although it is a
                                    tongue in cheek theme, that is my premiss: that cats are smarter than
                                    people, take it or leave it.
                                    
                                    Frederick from Boston, MA: What would you consider the inspiration
                                    behind the latest Cat Who...mystery? Do you watch the X-Files? Is the
                                    millenium somewhat of a factor?
                                    
                                    LB: I write about Mooseville which is similar to a waterfront town
                                    where I used to spend my summers and the people there are very
                                    intersted in UFO sighting, so I thought the combination of cats and
                                    UFO's go well, so I worked in those factors with a couple of other
                                    things in THE CART WHO SAW STARS.
                                    
                                    Freida from Spartanburg, SC: Hi, This is not a question. Just a praise
                                    for you the author. I love your books. I have a Siamese and have
                                    started studying her behavior intensely after reading your books. I
                                    look forward to seeing you in Spartanburg at Barnes and Noble on Sat.
                                    Jan. 30, 99 to get your new book. I can't wait!! Keep up the good work!
                                    
                                    LB: That is very nice. I am very much looking forward to it. I am
                                    always interested in meeting my readers especially those who havce
                                    cats and understand cats and the books for that reason.
                                    
                                    K. Lasley from Soddy-Daisy, TN: Dear Mrs. Braun, I have read all of
                                    your books. I read them as soon as they come out & then find myself
                                    frustrated because have have to wait a whole year for another episode.
                                    Two questions please: 1. Is Quill anything like your husband? 2. Would
                                    you consider publishing a "The Cat Who Encyclopedia" that would
                                    provide a brief history of each character & significan place that has
                                    appeared in your books? Thanks!
                                    
                                    LB: 2) My publisher has authorized a woman(Sharon Feister) in Texas to
                                    write a guide to these books "the Cat Who Companion." 1) Quill has
                                    about ten different men in his character with my husband included, but
                                    that is how all my characters are. They are like a patchwork quilt of
                                    all the people that I have known.
                                    
                                    Wendy Kowalewsky from Lincoln, MI: The question I have is one you have
                                    probably been asked many times before but I was wondering how you came
                                    up with the name Qwill. I love reading your books and would like to
                                    thank you for the many hours of enjoyment you have provided me with. I
                                    am looking forward to reading about what Koko and Yum Yum get involved
                                    with next.
                                    
                                    LB: 1) I wanted his name to have an initial that was not common. I
                                    have read books where there are: John, Joan, Jerry etc. and I had
                                    trouble keeping the characters straight. Consulting the telephone book
                                    I found out that Q is the most unusual. I was working for the Detroit
                                    Free Press at the time and I interviewed a Dane who name was Quill and
                                    I thought his name was unusual, but instead I added Quilleran and then
                                    I realized that I am referring the (Goose)Quill pen as a writer. SO
                                    that is how his name started.
                                    
                                    Judy from Dayton, Ohio: My husband and I first became hooked on your
                                    books listening to the audiotapes as we travelled. We much prefer the
                                    unabridged tapes and we feel like the abridged recent audiotapes just
                                    have the heart and soul taken out of them by editing. Will any future
                                    audiotapes be abridged or unabridged?
                                    
                                    LB: Different companies do differnt kind. I personally like the
                                    unabridged. Sorry for no more information...
                                    
                                    Hubblegal from New Jersey: I love your books and have read all of
                                    them. The characters in your books are all friends of mine. Do you
                                    have cats of your own? Are the cats in your books just from your
                                    imagination or are there actual cats who have inspired them.?
                                    
                                    LB: I have two cats, Male and Female (Siameese) and everday they
                                    inspire me by doing something different. So I must say that my own
                                    cats do inspire me, the plots however are something different. I think
                                    up the plots and they think up the cute ideas.
                                    
                                    Rebecca Capowski from Great Falls, MT: Hello, Ms. Braun! I was
                                    wondering - who is your most difficult character to write for? Is
                                    there a particular supporting character who's tough to write for?
                                    
                                    LB: Interesting question...not really because I have a knack of
                                    putting myself in other people's shoes and if I am writing about
                                    Amanda Goodwinters(a bitter person), I become her. If I am writing
                                    about Polly who is charming and conservative I put myself in her
                                    shoes. I also put myself in the shoes of male characters, this is just
                                    a knack that I haver always had. Even my villains have some good
                                    points and my heroes have some bad points, so that is just life.
                                    
                                    Mary from Minneapolis: I loved the little old lady you so calously
                                    killed off in one of your books...the one who baked the goodies...any
                                    chance of her coming back as a ghost?
                                    
                                    LB: You are talking about Iris Cobb and she was an interesting
                                    character but after several book I got
                                    tired of her and she had to go, I doubt if she will come back but her
                                    recipes are still beuing talked
                                    about. But I am afraid that dear old Iris is gone forever.
                                    
                                    Janet from Wayne, PA: Ms. Braun...I have been a fan for years. Your
                                    books are so rich in vocabulary, you make reading the dictionary such
                                    fun. Not so long ago, you had Qwill count Koko's whiskers and he has,
                                    I believe, an extra four, which I assume accounts for his
                                    intelligence. Is this based in fact, or did you make it up?
                                    
                                    LB: I made it up. I am entitled to make up a few things.
                                    
                                    Pat from North Carolina: Do you ever think that Quin will marry again
                                    and if so will it be a character that you have already given birth" to?
                                    
                                    LB: Well, I don't know, there is some advantage in keeping him single.
                                    I will doubt whether he will ever marry again.
                                    
                                    Sherry C from Grand Prairie, TX: Have you ever been approached about
                                    turning your stories into a movie or movies? Who would you cast as the
                                    major characters? Personally I think Tom Selleck would be great as
                                    Qwill!
                                    
                                    LB: I agre that Tom Selleck would be a great Quill, but I have
                                    stipulated that there would be no filming until I stopped writing and
                                    since I am still going strong that won't be in the near future.
                                    
                                    Beverly Reily from Austin, Tx.: Miss Braun, have you ever had cats
                                    like your main characters? I just wanted to tell you how very much I
                                    enjoy your books and have the whole family reading them now....Thank
                                    you for so much clean entertainment...B Reily
                                    
                                    LB: When I started writing cat fiction I had a cat named Kok, I now
                                    call him "Koko the Great." I also
                                    had a "Yum Yum." "Koko the Great" hovers over my books because he was
                                    so intelligent that he could have been a solver of crime. He lived to
                                    18 nad was born in the 1950's. I still remember "Koko  the Great."
                                    When I sign book on January 30th at B&N I will have a framed photo of
                                    "Koko the Great," and people are always so awed by his appearnace, he
                                    looks so authorative, noble and intelligent. I take him to all my
                                    signings and he will be there at B&N on the 30th.
                                    
                                    Jeanie from Port Allegany, PA: I love the "cat who" series! I've read
                                    each one. Does Mrs. Braun feel that talking to her cats, like Mr.
                                    Quill does, really allows the cats to know her?
                                    
                                    LB: I firmly believe that and not only I, but some experts have said
                                    that the more you talk to a cat, the smarter he becomes. And I find it
                                    true. I have noticed that the cats in which the owners don't speak to
                                    them are entirely different animals.
                                    
                                    bob Gordon from Ottawa, ON, Canada: Mrs. Jackson, in a couple of your
                                    novels, Qwill has gone on vacation, to the Potato Mountains, and to
                                    Scotland (or at least his friends did!), and once back to the city
                                    (TCW Lived High) Do you know if Qwill has plans for any further
                                    travels away from Pickax??
                                    
                                    LB: I haven't thought of it at the moment. I have travelled
                                    extensively in Canada myself and maybe he should go to Canada. IN THE
                                    CAT WHO SAW STARS Polly spends a month in Canada with her sister. I
                                    used to live across the river in Canada and we used to go there all
                                    the time. ONe of my favorite countries is Canada. I put a little
                                    private joke in THE CAT WHO SAW READS...Quill and another man were
                                    spekaing about a mutual friends in whihch "Quill said she is very
                                    nice." and the other man said "She is Canadian." I don't know if
                                    anybody else got that joke, but I liked it.
                                    
                                    Scott Davis from Pembroke Pines, Florida: It is *fantastic* to "meet"
                                    you through this chat! I absolutely *love* the books! My question:
                                    With all that Qwill and the rest of the characters have gone through
                                    over the years, have they developed any kind of "life" of their own?
                                    Is there anywhere you have tried to take a story that they just won't
                                    go, or anyplace it feels like they have led you?
                                    
                                    LB: Yes, I do feel they have developed lives of their own. Sometimes I
                                    think of clever things to say, but I can't use them because that
                                    character would not have said it. I bear in ind what that character
                                    would do, so they do have a life of their own.
                                    
                                    Broucka from Highland Park, IL.: What is your favorite book from your
                                    series? 
                                    
                                    LB: My favorite is always the one I happen to be writing right
                                    now, but lately, in my spare time I have been listening to the
                                    recorded books and I think there are about 12 unabridged and every
                                    time I listen to one, I think it is my favorite, so the answer is
                                    really the one I am writing now is my favorite.
                                    
                                    Amy from Las Vegas: Did you base where the books are located in the
                                    Northeast on any places you have been or visited in real life?
                                    
                                    LB: Of course the locals are imaginary, but I can't help but be
                                    influenced by the places I have lived
                                    and travelled and since I came from Michigan and have travelled in
                                    Wisonsin, Canda etc. I have been influenced by these locals, but they
                                    are composites...
                                    
                                    Sharion from Dayton,Ohio: I love all your books and devour them as
                                    soon as they come out. When is Quill going to encounter a female to
                                    really make Polly worry?
                                    
                                    LB: That is an idea, I will have to think about that...
                                    
                                    Kristie from Wheaton, IL: I love your books - you are my favorite
                                    author. I've read everyone of your books and am always waiting for the
                                    next one! My question is how do you come up with the titles of your
                                    books? Do you wait until the end of the book to name them or do you
                                    have an idea of a title before you start?
                                    
                                    LB: Frankly I usually start with a title and hope I can write a book
                                    to go with it. That is how it works.
                                    
                                    Amy from North Carolina: Ms. Braun: First let me say how much I enjoy
                                    your books. I look forward to each new one, but love to go back and
                                    re-read previous stories because I always find something I missed. I
                                    would like to know, however, several things. Is there any story twist
                                    in a previous book that you look back and wish you had not done? Do
                                    you think that Qwill will ever add a third "member" to his family?
                                    And, finally, will Qwill be doing any traveling in the future - as he
                                    did to Scotland or the Potato Mountains? Thank you again for such
                                    wonderful stories.
                                    
                                    LB: 1)No 2)I think his life is complicated enough already. 3)That is
                                    always a possibility, if I find some place I would like to travel, he
                                    might travel there.
                                    
                                    daribus from Calgary, Alberta, Canada: I am the founder of the
                                    Unofficial Lilian Jackson Braun Fan Club. We have over 110 members, a
                                    webring, and a Delphi forum. People can subscribe to the club at
                                    http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/lillian You are known for The Cat
                                    Who series of books. What we would like to know is what other books
                                    you've written. Selected Writings on Feminism and Socialism for
                                    example; this and other works are not widely known. Could you give us
                                    a comment on any other works you've done in the past? Also on a
                                    personal level, do you have
                                    hobbies and other interests that you'd like to share with your fans?
                                    
                                    LB: 1) No, I have nbot written other books, in fact I tried, but my
                                    writing career did not take off until I
                                    started writing about cats. I also don't have any desire to write any
                                    other books. 2) I have had so
                                    many hobbies in my lifetime...I love to sew, read, do needle work, and
                                    in my younger days I was a cross-country bikeer and a modern dancer
                                    and I sang. Of course as you get older your tastes and  abilites
                                    change. Right now, I think my greatest hobby is writing "The Cat
                                    Who..." series. I also like movies and plays and such...
                                    
                                    Scott from Pembroke Pines FL: In a previous chat, you mentioned that
                                    you write your books longhand, yellow pad and felt pen. What is the
                                    rest of your writing atmosphere like? Music? Indoors or out? Etc?
                                    
                                    LB: Anywhere there is a chair that I can put my feet up in my house. I
                                    have 4 sets of locations including a screen poarch in the summer and
                                    the other three indoors. Almost every room has a lounge and I really
                                    do my best thinking with my feet up. And I am the world';s largest
                                    consumer of legal pads and felt tip pens.
                                    
                                    Jan Jankauskas from ArlingtonHeights: Koko and Yum Yum get on so well
                                    together, will they ever have a new little companion to mix it up with?
                                    
                                    LB: I don't think so.
                                    
                                    Gina from Virginia: If you were not an author(which you are a very
                                    good one, by the way), what do you think you would do?
                                    
                                    LB: Anything I would do, would have to do with words. I don't know if
                                    I would be a teacher. I have been a journalist and have been in
                                    advertising. I would love to do research for a dictionary. "Words,
                                    words, words..." a quote from Shakespeare.
                                    
                                    Scott from Pembroke Pines FL: Thank you so much for being with us
                                    tonight! I would like to know if you have any special way of working
                                    through the tough parts of a book, the roadblocks in a story?
                                    
                                    LB: Walk away from it, make a cup of tea. And I don't even have to
                                    drink the tea, just prepare it. It is
                                    just getting away from the scene of the crime.
                                    
                                    Marie from El Paso, Texas: Have you a certain number of books about
                                    Qwilll that you plan to write, or will you just continue to write as
                                    long as you are able? My family and I hope there will be  many more!
                                    
                                    LB: I just write one at a time. When I am writing a book, I always
                                    think I will never have another idea
                                    for the next, but the time I am finsiehd I can harldy wait to get
                                    started on the next one.
                                    
                                    Judy from Dayton, Ohio: Your characterization of Moose County has been
                                    compared to Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon. How do you feel about
                                    that comparison?
                                    
                                    LB: Ok with me. There is room for Lake Wobegon and Moose County...
                                    
                                    Lee Harpootlian from Holmdel, N.J.: I love reading your books. They
                                    have given me many hours of enjoyment. How did you develop the idea of
                                    Koko and YumYum having such a special diet? Will you ever be signing
                                    books locally?
                                    
                                    LB: When Koko was first introduced he lived with a man who was a
                                    gourmet cook and fed him very exquisite meals that one would never
                                    feed a cat, when Quill adapted Koko he had to caRRY ON AS WELL AS HE
                                    COULD,HE WAS NO GOURMET cook, but he would bring home food from gourmet
                                    restaurants. It continued as a joke because everybody's cat has such a
                                    special diet and they love to chat about their own cat's diet. People
                                    who own cats love to pamper them, but I don't approve of serving
                                    people food to cats. It was just sort of a joke that started and
                                    carried on through several books.
                                    
                                    Michele from Phoenix, AZ: I read The Cat Who Saw Red for my Cat Who
                                    book club lastmonth, and thought the solution to the mystery to be one
                                    of the most intricate, interesting and grisly ones I've ever read. Is
                                    it true that the ancient Chinese really achieved a true red on clay
                                    pots by cremating human remains during the firing?
                                    
                                    LB: It wasn't human, but animal remains. I got that info from a very
                                    scolarly book on pottery.
                                    
                                    phil bornemann from OCOEE, FL: any memories from your childhood make
                                    it into any of you works....
                                    
                                    LB: All the time, all the time. Many of Quill's memory of being a
                                    school boy or living with his mother are drawn from my own childhood.
                                    
                                    Barbara from Philadelphia: I love the barn where Qwill lives. Is there
                                    a similar one you have been in or is it all your conceptulization?
                                    
                                    LB: Once upon a time I was traveling in Illinois and there was a
                                    restaurnat in an old barn and it was on serveral levels, balconies.
                                    And I thought it was an enchanting restaurant then when I was looking
                                    fro a place for him to live and I though this would be perfect. At one
                                    signing a architect shgowed up and told me that he thought it was an
                                    interesting design and could be done.
                                    
                                    Valerie from Knoxville, TN: I also have aways pictured Qwill as Tom
                                    Selleck. He would be purrrfect! Why have you stipulated that there
                                    would be no filming until you stopped writing??
                                    
                                    LB: Becasue I don't want to dillute it. I don't want it made into a
                                    comic strip. I dopn't want them on t-shirts, I don't want a tv show, I
                                    don't want a movie. I don't want to dillute "The Cat WHo...series."
                                    
                                    Freida from South Carolina: Ms. Braun, Thank you for talking with us
                                    tonight. Do you think anyone can write if they really want to? Lately,
                                    I have sensed a strong urgency to write. How do you start? Pardon me
                                    if this sounds like a silly question. Thank you.
                                    
                                    LB: I think anyone who went to school can write, but writing well is
                                    another matter. Wirint can be a lovely hobby. You can make interetsing
                                    letters to friends. I started writing letters to friends and
                                    relatives. Long letters that I didn't care if they answered. Many
                                    serious writers keepo a journal. This accomplishd the same thing, but
                                    I just happened to write letters. Right now, I dojn[]t have time to
                                    write letters, but if I ever stopped I will go back, it is very
                                    enjoyable.
                                    
                                    Moderator from barnesandnoble.com: Thank you for coming online and
                                    fielding all of our questions, Lilian Jackson Braun. We can't wait for
                                    your next book and hope you'll come online again when it comes out. Do
                                    you have any parting words for your many online fans?
                                    
                                    LB: Let me compliment you on the questions. I recieve much fan mail
                                    and read the same questions over and over, but tonight the questions
                                    were quite original.
                                    
                                    Moderator: Thanks to the audience for such informed and interesting
                                    questions.