Visit the website of Minding Mittens
When did you become an author?
I became an author in 2020.
Do you have a writing background?
No, but I've always loved reading and English was my favourite subject in school.
How did you come up with the story?
I work as a veterinary surgeon and I see children (and parents) bringing their pets in all the time. I thought that a book to help children look after their cats would be really beneficial for both the children and cats.
How did you come up with the character?
The main character of Minding Mittens is a cute tabby kitten called Mittens. I imagined her as an adorable kitten that any child would love to have! I wanted her to appeal to children and look friendly.
How do you select names for your characters?
I chose names that would be easy for children to pronounce and remember. I also liked the rhyming with 'Mitten' and 'kitten' and the alliteration of 'Minding Mittens'.
Did you hire an illustrator or do the illustrations yourself?
I hired an illustrator, Leah Murphy, who is also from Cork (Ireland) like myself. We had various meetings discussing the layout and characters. The illustrations turned out great.
Are you self-published or published through a publishing company?
I'm self-published. I printed my book in Cork (Ireland) and advertised the book myself.
From the day you came up with the idea for the story until you were holding your published book in your hand, how long did it take you to complete this book?
It took me approximately 1.5 years. I had the idea for about 6-8 months before I started writing it. I took my time as I wanted to make sure that I was happy with the final result.
What made you want to publish a children's book?
I think that children are a great audience to educate about cat welfare and husbandry. They're the future pet owners among us!
Any tips for future children’s book authors?
Do your research and plan everything very well. Make sure that you're happy with every detail of the book.
What is the best reaction from a reader, so far?
I've had so many amazing reactions. From videos of children reading the book to photos of babies looking at the illustrations. Lots of parents have told me that their children are much more interactive about cat care now and will point out the litter tray, scratching post, food bowls etc. at home.
What is something you’d like people to take away from your book(s)?
Children and cats can have amazing bonds and lifelong friendships. Mutual respect between children and cats is required and an understanding that a cat is a cat and they have certain behavioural and husbandry needs. Understanding this and having respect, can prevent a lot of cat scratches and bites towards humans and lead to a happy relationship. Education is key.
Do you have any other books in the works?
I'm thinking of a dog version of the book but we'll see!
What does literary success look like to you?
People reading my books and enjoying them. Especially children learning about cats and being better owners because of my book.
Do you read all of the book reviews you receive?
Of course, I love reading them.
What's your favorite(s) children's book of all time?
I'm a big fan of Judith Kerr, especially 'Katinka's Tail'