Since The Mammoth Murders will be coming out in audiobook form later this summer, the time seems right to publish a recent interview with one of the book’s most popular characters.
I do not speak Feline, but I was able to get an appointment with Darlene Schnurr, Cat Whisperer. Darlene (who prefers to be called “CW”) interviewed Zeus, an important character in my novel, using a set of questions I prepared ahead of time.
Any opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewer and interviewee, who are fictional characters, and do not necessarily represent the views of the author, Iris Chacon.
English Translation by Darlene Schnurr, CW
CW: Before we start, I want to thank you, Mister Zeus, for interrupting an important nap to talk with us. We’ll try not to keep you very long.
ZEUS: “We”? Is there a mouse in your pocket?
CW: Sorry, I misspoke. Only you and I are here, Mister Zeus.
ZEUS: It’s just “Zeus;” I’m not a grownup. But, don’t call me a “kitten.” I’m not a baby.
CW: Duly noted. First question, how did you get your interesting and impressive name, Zeus?
ZEUS: Before I was born, the author of my book found a picture of what I’m expected to look like when I grow up. She sent the picture to a couple thousand readers in the Iris Chacon In Crowd, and after a few rounds of nominating and voting, they decided to name me “Zeus.”
CW: Will you really be as large as the cat in the picture?
ZEUS: Certainly. I could be even bigger, depending on nutrition and exercise. I’m a Maine Coon cat, and we are one of the biggest breeds of domestic cats. Although, I am actually not very domestic. I’m an excellent hunter, you know.
CW: I have heard that. You have a reputation for finding lost people as well as edible rodents.
ZEUS: Well, I don’t want to spoil the book, since it is a mystery and all, but I can say, in all modesty, the humans in the book could not have solved half the problems they did if they didn’t have me to guide them.
CW: Speaking of guides, didn’t Mister Krausse, your master, have a guide dog in the previous book? [Ed.: Finding Miranda, Book 1 of the Minokee Mysteries]
ZEUS: I mean no disrespect, CW, but I must correct a common misconception. Shepard Krausse is a nice guy, but he is not my “master.” I share a house with Shepard and his friend, Carlo, but it is a very democratic arrangement. Nobody owns anybody
ZEUS: In answer to your question, yes, Shepard’s guide dog, Dave, played a pivotal role in book one. Dave is not with us in book two, however, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. He was a wonderful, amazing, best friend to Shepard.
CW: So, are you a Guide Cat? Are you replacing Dave in the second book?
ZEUS: I’m not a certified Guide Cat for the Blind — if there is such a thing. Shepard gets around very well with his white cane and his four excellent senses, and he is adamant that he will have no more dogs. So, I’m a cat. Not a Guide Cat, per se, but believe me, I give a lot of valuable guidance to the humans in Minokee.
CW: So, Shepard didn’t want another dog, he wanted a cat.
ZEUS: What? No! Have you been sniffing the catnip? Shep never wanted a cat. Not at all!
ZEUS: Miz Cleary dropped me in his hand and wouldn’t take me back. He argued, but between Carlo and Miz Cleary, he never had a chance.
CW: Who is Miz Cleary?
ZEUS: She’s a cranky old neighbor who sits on her porch with a rifle, to keep rabbits out of her garden, and other things. She rescued me from a tropical storm, but she’s a bird nerd — Audubon Society and all that — and her garden is a bird sanctuary. She wouldn’t keep a cat, and she thought Shepard needed a friend after losing Dave, so I went to live with Shepard.
CW: I heard you were friendly with another neighbor. Miss Ogilvy?
ZEUS: Yes, I like Miranda — even if she did drive me to my first appointment with the veterinarian. I often eat or sleep at Miranda’s house, especially if she has been arguing with Shepard. It’s my way of teaching him a lesson. Carlo is a better cook than Miranda, though, so I don’t stay away from home long.
CW: You are about to make your debut in a new audiobook version of The Mammoth Murders. Who plays you in the audio performance? Did you help them prepare for the role?
ZEUS: A talented Canadian actress and voice artist, Jenny Hoops, is playing me on audio, and I’m sure she’ll do a great job. I’ve heard some of her other audiobooks.
ZEUS: Jenny’s a dog person, I think, but I don’t hold that against anybody. Dogs have their place.
ZEUS: As far as preparation, I sent her some recordings of Maine Coon cats chirping and talking — because we don’t sound like other cats, you know. And Jenny always works hard to get a character’s accent just right, so the recordings were helpful. (Check us out on YouTube. Just search for Maine Coon Cats talking.)
CW: I heard you performed your own stunts in the audiobook. Is that true? Did you face any danger?
ZEUS: Without giving away the plot of the novel, I can tell you that I did my own canoe work as well as some impressive leaps.
ZEUS: Most of my contributions were intellectual rather than physical. Sometimes humans just can’t seem to get a clue — unless a smart cat gives them one.
ZEUS: I have to go now; I heard the can opener. Carlo’s making lunch. Ciao.
This is Iris Chacon. Many thanks to you for reading, and to the Cat Whisperer and Zeus for doing this interview.
If you have any questions for Zeus, drop them in the Comments and I’ll get his answers for you.
Until then, be watching for the release of The Mammoth Murders (Book 2 of the Minokee Mysteries) in audiobook later in 2020. Ebook and paperback are available now at mybook.to/MammothMurders and at your favorite online book seller.
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