Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meaning More Than I Meant, or Maybe Just a Lot of Cats

When you have published five novels, it is possible to look back over the elements common to each and to discern certain themes and patterns that weren't intentionally planted to be part of a larger scheme, but there they are.

One common element in all my novels is cats. In my first novel, Objects etc, a cat falls out a window and dies, and another cat is seen sleeping in a shop window. In The Music Lesson, my second novel, there are a multitude of cats thronging the Irish cottage of a significant character. In my third novel, The Little Women, there is one cat named Tiggy Winkle and another named Miss Demeanor. In Triangle, there is a cat, Joe Green, short for Giuseppe Verdi (nobody got that, I mean nobody), who almost falls off a high ledge to his death, but then he doesn't. In True Confections, there is a cat who dies horribly as the consequence of a fire. (Fire is a topic for another day.)

So what's with all the cats? Maybe nothing momentous. I love cats. See above for a glimpse of my cat Katinka, the not-unlarge Siberian. Cats signify for me, and so why shouldn't they be present in the lives of my characters? In effect, cats are simply also characters in all of my novels so far.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Music Lesson redux

This week, the new Broadway paperback of my second novel, The Music Lesson, was published. I am thrilled that my 1999 novel has steadily appealed to readers in more than a dozen languages and has been a perennial with book groups. The Picador paperback ran through eleven printings, and I am optimistic that the Broadway edition will have a nice long shelf life.

I am especially happy that Random House/Broadway are my new paperback publishers, with True Confections just out from Broadway, and with my first novel, Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, scheduled to appear later this year, in July. It is a major big deal for a novelist to have an entire backlist in print. It's a terrific vote of confidence from the publisher, and I am grateful.