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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 dojnt have time to
write letters, but if I ever stopped I will go back, it is very
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