Say a big MIAU! to Bella, proud owner of children's author Deborah Underwood. Deborah writes fun picture books, easy readers and chapter books, and also nonfiction. Check out what she's up to on her website! Don't be lazy and also check out Facebook fan page, ok? Woof!
What's up, Bella. What kind of cat are you and why are you named like that Twilight girl?
I am a beautiful brown tabby. My name was Sheyenne in the shelter, and Deborah took a few weeks to figure out my real name. She had about eight possibilities, like Shayla, Emily, and Charlotte. At one point she even wrote them all on pieces of paper and spread them all over the floor to see if I'd choose a name by sitting on it. She finally settled on Bella because it means beautiful and I am.
My name has NOTHING to do with Twilight. Twilight Bella is passive, and I am very active. Twilight Bella needs to be rescued. I am the rescuer in my home--every night I save Deborah from the foot-shaped lumps under her covers. (She is so happy when I catch them that she howls with joy.) Also, I do not fall in love with sparkly vampires. If a sparkly vampire came anywhere near me, I would rip him to shreds.
How did you come to live at Deborah's household?
She looked at lots and lots of cats in shelters all over the Bay Area before she decided on me (of course, actually I decided on her). I was living at Pets Unlimited in San Francisco. When Deborah came in the first time, she coaxed me down from my cat tree. I crawled into her lap, started purring, and fell asleep. She seemed pretty nice for a human, so I agreed to live with her.
I was very sneaky in the shelter, though. I know writers like to sleep, and that they like quiet. So I acted like a calm, quiet cat who didn't play at all. But after I got home, I started to tear up and down the hall, do death-defying leaps, and talk a lot. I totally fooled her! I should get an Oscar.
Nice work, Bella. You seem like CIA material...
Anyway, I hear she has a bunch of picture books out. Tell us all about it and how Deborah ignores you and spends her days writing all day long.
I like the picture books because they are big and nice to lie on. One is called A Balloon for Isabel and it's about a porcupine who wants a balloon. It's very colorful, but why would you write about a porcupine when you could write about a cat? Another is Granny Gomez and Jigsaw. It's about an old lady who adopts a pig. A pig?? What's wrong with a cat? And the other one is The Quiet Book. I wouldn't know much about quiet. The Loud Book is coming out on April 4th. That's more my style.
I am a hard cat to ignore. If she ignores me for too long, I sit on her arms so she can't type. Or I meow and look pathetic. I'm missing a canine tooth, and I can leverage this to look extra-pathetic if need be.
Forget about cats. What about DOGS??? Obviously your mom doesn't have any imagination...
So you're not in any of her books?
Not yet, since I just moved in with her last August. But she's planning to put me in a middle-grade novel. My character is so rich and complex that a picture book couldn't do it justice.
Does Deborah let you sit on her lap? I'd love to sit on my mom's lap, but I'd probably suffocate her.
She loves having me sit on her lap. In fact, I'm in her lap right now! And if I'm in her lap, she doesn't like to disturb me, even to go get food. Humans are silly. If she were in my lap and it were dinnertime, I'd push her right out.
Deborah also writes nonfiction, I hear. How does she manage her time and still doesn't forget to feed you? (or does she?!)
Are you kidding? I remind her to feed me regularly. For example, last night I reminded her at 3 a.m., 4:15 a.m., and 5:15 a.m. She looked kind of grumpy this morning. No idea why.
How does she manage her time? Not very well. Sometimes she goes to meetings (which means she's not home playing with me). Sometimes she goes on writers' retreats (which means she's not home playing with me). Sometimes she goes out to buy office supplies (which means she's not home playing with me). I will definitely bring all this up during her next performance review.
Leave us with some feline words of wisdom.
For cats: Choose your humans well.
For humans: Feed your cats well. And here's some advice from a human writer, Aldous Huxley: "If you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is keep a pair of cats."
Cats, cats, cats. Bah! That Huxley didn't have any imagination either...