Halloween, Black Cats and About Their Stories

It’s October! Time for Halloween, pumpkins and black cats. I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about my own black feline, who, contrary to popular belief, isn’t unlucky at all. He’s the inspiration behind my Middle Grade series, Ace the Cat Mysteries.

Boots, who has been my familiar since he was just three weeks old, is a particular type of feline. Curious, sly and always into mischief – despite that he’s now 12 years old. It was Boots who inspired my first literary venture and main character, Ace. Ace is a self-proclaimed “mixed breed Siamese and pure-bred journalist” with a knack for getting into trouble.

It seems like readers tend to solidly fall on one side of the line or the other when it comes to talking animals as part of their book preferences: Either they love them, or they hate them.

As a kid myself, I related to animals better than I related to my human classmates. I loved books with animals that spoke for themselves – Charlotte’s Web, The Little Prince, Bunnicula and most anything by Beatrice Potter. The first stories I wrote often were from the point of view of an animal. Most commonly and perhaps un-cleverly, a cat. I suppose this is why I was driven to write my first middle grade novel to the little girl I knew best: Myself. (By the way, my first attempt at a novel? Disaster. Please don’t ask to read it.)

I also wanted to tie in some of the literary tropes I loved best and aspired to write about. Namely, noir, mystery and detective work. A past journalist myself with a honed ability for using detective skills to get to the bottom of stories, I thought it would be fun if the main character wasn’t actually a detective himself, either. Rather, he was pulled a bit unwillingly into the dark and seedy underbelly of the small town he calls home.

I liked the idea that animals lived an entirely different side of life alongside our own in the world. Living alongside each other as companions as we do, yet also helping each other when we can.

As a child, it meant something to me to see animals and humans leaning on one another. I could see myself in the characters’ place prevailing, and then too, see myself succeeding.

To celebrate Halloween and arriving here just a short while ago on Smack Dab in the Middle (thanks, Holly!), I’m giving away a copy of the first novel in my series, and my author debut: The Great Cat Nap. The Great Cat Nap won the 2017 Council for Wisconsin Writers Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award as well as the 2015 Bronze Medal from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Just click on the photo below to enter.

Good luck and happy reading!


  1. I really enjoyed this Abigail and would love to read your detective story.

  2. I so love the idea of this. And I'm a total sucker for animal narrators.

  3. I love black cats, too! I own two. Or rather, they own me. This book sounds really intriguing. Thank you!

  4. I'm sorry I missed the giveaway, too. But I'll still check out the book!


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