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Soulcat Part 2

If you've read my previous blog posts, you'll know that in early 2021 I completely re-wrote Soulcat and decided to expand it. I wanted to be able to hold my paperback in my hands, with enough pages to make it look and feel like a proper book and not a pamphlet. Also, I wanted to give readers value for money. I wracked my brains for cat stories, but all the ideas I came up with felt too contrived and silly.


Then, I was hit with the most obvious idea. Actually, it may have been a passing suggestion from one of my book club friends (in which case I apologise for not crediting them), but either way, the seed was planted. Soulcat is about Molly and her life, so instead of going off on a tangent of fictional adventures, why not write Molly's story from her own perspective?


The idea struck when I was on a break at work, and I scrawled out the first paragraphs on the back of my paperwork. I started with the moment Molly and I met, with her being transferred from her previous owner's car into mine, and describing me from her perspective. She assumed she was being taken to the vet, so I wrote about her confusion as she realised she wasn't going to a clinic to be examined. Back at home, I typed up the beginnings of Molly's story and then continued on, playing off the anecdotes I'd used in Part 1.


However, I didn't want to simply re-write part 1 from Molly's viewpoint, it needed to have a fresh take, to make it more interesting than a re-hash of the story the reader had just been absorbed in. I used that motivation to find Molly's voice and see the world through her eyes, even though they were deteriorating. I always wondered how Molly felt about her gradual sight loss, especially as she managed so well and didn't seem to let it phase her. This was my chance to explore her nuances and challenges, and how she might have felt about them.


Having re-written part 1 in 2020, I was keen to get Soulcat published, and was aiming for an April 2021 release. Having missed the boat to get it out to the world in time for the previous Christmas, I didn't want to waste any more time. Also, I'm not a very patient person, so when I want something I want it NOW, although my innate procrastinator generally holds me back. The idea to write Molly's tale for Part 2 came about in February, and I quickly realised an April release wasn't realistic, so I pushed back my plans to late July, thinking that the anniversary of her death might be a good (albeit morbid) significant date to aim for. I had a book launch event in mind, which I'll reveal in a later blog post, but it meant I needed to get organised and plan ahead - something my brain isn't naturally designed to do!


But, back to the writing. Not wanting Molly's story to be a carbon copy of mine, I started adding in events that occurred when I wasn't there, and explanations for things that had mystified me about her. Molly had a clicky hip, the cause of which I'd only ever been able to guess at, but I realised Molly would have known the back story, so I had an opportunity to explain it from her perspective. She was four or five years old when she came into my world, so there were those few years prior that I had no idea about. But, of course, Molly would have done, so starting her story at the moment she met me was dismissing the first third of her life. I felt a very satisfying sense of smugness as I realised I could have a lot of fun writing her origin story.


I intended Part 2 to be 20-30,000 words long; a little shorter than part 1, since it was only meant to be an add-on to bulk the book out. As I write this, having completed the final edit, Molly's half is 37,500 words. In a way, it's taken over from the original memoir, but I actually think I'm now more proud of Molly's story, than I am of my own!


As you will have guessed, since I'm typing this in December, my planned launch date of July 21st came and went while I was still frantically procrastinating - err, I mean, typing! Both, actually, but I was still determined to release it before the year was out. In August I started planning the book launch, thinking I would be able to get published in September, or October at the latest. I finished the story in good time, and then just had to edit it. But, of course, that took a whole lot longer than I anticipated. The months rolled by as I worked my way through the manuscript four or five times, receiving notes from beta readers, picking up problems and altering the finer details of the text. The process reminded me of restoring a piece of furniture; starting with a coarse grit, and working over and over it with a slightly finer grade of sandpaper each time, with the last sweep through the text akin to polishing up the surface.


At the start of December I reached out to my launch venue, still hoping to fit the event in before Christmas. Many people had told me they wanted to buy copies as Christmas presents, and I didn't want to let my fans down! But the venue, quite reasonably, told me it was too late to book it in for December and we'd have to wait until the new year. I was gutted, although I knew they were right - a launch event should be well-planned in advance, not rushed through at the last minute - so I resigned myself to a 2022 launch.


I had it in my head that post-Christmas is a terrible time to launch a book, as people don't want to spend money in January, but I heard about someone releasing their next book on Christmas day (Christopher Abbott, in fact. If you like murder mysteries and Sherlock Holmes stories, look him up! His next book is available here). I thought December 25th was a strange day to pick for a book release, but then I remembered reading somewhere that people who are given shiny new kindles for Christmas are keen to fill them with shiny new books. So I promptly decided to copy Chris' plan and release Soulcat on Kindle at Christmas! The launch for the physical version of the book could then wait until Spring and I wouldn't feel the need to rush into the launch.


Soulcat will be available for pre-release on Kindle soon, so keep an eye out for the announcement. Stay in the loop by subscribing to my mewsletter via the homepage.



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2 Comments


Paul Quinn
Paul Quinn
Dec 26, 2021

I had the pleasure of cat-sitting this lovely wee cat a couple of times when you were on holiday Amy. In those brief weeks I built a beautiful bond with Molly and will always treasure my memories of her loving nature and unique personality.

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Jessica Grugeon
Jessica Grugeon
Dec 17, 2021

Great idea, imagining Molly's

back history before she came to you. Really excited to read it!

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