This winter sees the conclusion my Cat Kin trilogy:
The Cat Kin, Cat’s Paw and the grand finale, Cat’s Cradle. It will come as no
surprise to you if I say that my inspiration – my muse, if you like – is the
cat. But a writer’s job is to surprise the reader, so now I must tell you that
Cats are, of course, all over the books – if not
actual cats then the idea of them. The whole series grew from the premise of a
cat-like martial art – pashki – and how it affects the lives of the teen
protagonists Ben and Tiffany.As one
perceptive reader piped up at a recent school visit: ‘So it’s just like
Spider-Man?’ Ahem. Perhaps a few similarities. I was probably more influenced
by an old comic-strip from my childhood, ‘The Leopard from Lime Street’ (which
was itself a blatant Spider-Man rip-off, right down to the radioactive blood).
But I stray from the point. Cats did inspire my invention of pashki, but it was
something else that served as the story’s muse. Backstreets, alleyways, yards,
lanes… or perhaps a secluded mews. An urban landscape as crawling with
potential stories as the Tube is crawling with mice.
The Cat Kin happens in London. Because London’s the
sort of city in which anything you can imagine happening, probably already has.
It feels as if you could knock on the door of some brooding tenement block, and
have the door opened by Mrs Powell, the mysterious pashki teacher. You can
walk on Hampstead Heath and imagine you’re in the heart of the countryside –
was that a person leaping between those treetops, or just an overfed squirrel?
Was that scream in the night an city fox, or some bigger, more dangerous thing?
Did my train just rattle through an underground station that isn’t on the map?
Was that just a fellow passenger’s reflection, or a motionless figure on the
Wander the grave-filled woods of Abney Park cemetery,
and be spooked by the ruined chapel looming out of the leaves. Venture into the
vast Tate Modern art museum, and watch how strangely ordinary people behave in
the presence of some giant work of art. Or stand on the Ray of Light bridge
outside, and see how the Tate has its bulbous reflection in the shape of St
I found the stories of the Cat Kin trilogy in the
alleys, parks, heights and tunnels of London. What New York is to Spider-Man,
what Hogwarts is to Harry Potter, London is to Ben Gallagher and Tiffany Maine.
I invented those characters, so I know they don’t really exist – but if I
happened to be walking the streets of Stoke Newington late one night, and
happened to glance up and see a human figure leaping between rooftops, I can’t
say I’d be entirely surprised. Seek the secret of pashki on Nick's website
The unicorn has been rather quiet recently because he's busy helping me write the final Pendragon Legacy book "Grail of Stars", which completes the Rhianna Pendragon series. The trouble is that a muse only has the energy to do one sort of writing at any one time. So if an author is blogging a lot, chances are they are not writing many books... whereas if they are writing a lot of books, then they don't have the time to blog as often. (Of course, not even a unicorn can prove the opposite: if an author is not blogging at all, does this mean they are busy secretly writing brilliant books...? Don't answer that!)
Anyway, if you are desperate to read a blog post by Katherine, she's over at The History Girls today talking about the recent change to the royal succession law that gives girls an equal claim to the throne... Rhianna Pendragon would be pleased! And to prove blogging ties in with writing books, that post sparked off a creative urge in the unicorn this morning to draw the Pendragon family tree according to Katherine, so here it is:
I am not allowed to show you the name under the "guess who?" flap yet, since this is a secret in the first three boks and my publisher says we must not give things away until the fourth book is published... but that doesn't stop you guessing!
Next week, look out for a fabulous guest post from Nick Green, catman and Master of Pashki. Don't know what pashki is yet? Visit this blog on Monday to find out!