Take one book with two feline heroes that just don’t get along, foul-smelling witches and a sprinkle of magic and what do you get?
You get Cats On The Run written by Ged Gillmore, one highly entertaining children’s book. It tells the story about two cats Tuck and Ginger and their adventures being on the run. Let me tell you this is no ordinary adventure as these cats can sing and drive. Handy skills to have when you’re being chased by your owners (who are actually witches) who want to use your body parts to build a Purrari (the best witches’ cat in the world).
This chapter book is a such funny read for kids aged 8 to 12 or any adults who want a good laugh. I love the way that this book is written. It’s witty and clever. I’ve been reading chapters to my daughter each night and I think I’m enjoying it more than she is. There’s plenty of references that only grown-ups will get.
Here’s a Q&A with Ged Gillmore.
First of all, what is ‘Ged’ short for? Are you a secret Gerard?
Ha! No, not surprisingly I do get asked that from time to time. But the truth is it’s not actually short for anything. Ged is my full unabbreviated first name. Sometimes though with my English accent people think I’m called ‘Jade’or ‘Jet’. I should really think about wearing a name badge!
So how long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing one blog or another for many years, but it’s really only in the last five years or so that I’ve turned my hand to writing fiction. I’ve been fortunate enough to complete some fantastic writing courses, and definitely had my novel-writing skills honed over several years at the Writers’ Studio in Bronte, Sydney.
Have you always wanted to write children’s books?
Let’s just say I’m an accidental children’s author. I started writing Cats On The Run as a way of distracting myself in between drafts of my first crime fiction novel (Headland). Writing the story of Tuck and Ginger made me laugh out loud, and after I’d shared the manuscript with the children of friends and saw how much they loved it too then it seemed like the next logical step to publish it.
So, would you call yourself a ‘cat person’?
I love cats, dogs, birds, you name it. But the reality is I do particularly love our two cats Tuck and Ginger (yes, they do exisit!), who are the inspiration for Cats On The Run. They’ve such unique personalities, love getting lots of fuss, and even have their own Facebook page.
How difficult is it to go from writing books for children to writing adult crime fiction?
Bizzarely enough it’s a very similar approach. Whether you’re writing for children or adults, you typically start with a main character who wants something, then you shake things up by introducing an opponent, and then set it all into a particular time and place. Obviously you then choose appropriate themes, language, complexity etc depending on the audience.
And what has feedback been like for Cats On The Run?
I’ve been humbled by the support, reviews and feedback. A nice bonus is being able to visit schools to do readings from the book and to teach the kids the building blocks of a good story. It’s a really rewarding part of the process and I love engaging with fans of the book.
What is your one tip for any aspiring writers out there?
Just write. Carry a notebook and fill it with quirky things you see in the street, or interesting conversations you overhear. You’d be surprised how inspiring this can be when it comes to conjuring up a character or scenario. I also love short stories. They’re a great way to dip your toe in the water and experiment with various styles as you begin to find your own voice.
What do you do to unwind after hours spent slaving over a laptop?
I go to the ocean. I’m blessed to live a short drive from some amazing beaches. If I can throw myself into the sea, whether it be for a swim or surf I always feel reborn afterwards.
For more information about Ged, visit his website http://www.gedgillmore.com.