I love animals, but cats, well, my cats are my kids. My dad never allowed me to have a cat growing up, even though I tried to sneak one home under my coat. I had lots of other animals growing up, but I was out of their house and married when I got my my first kitten. Skeamer was a beautiful DLH (domestic long hair) that looked like a Norwegian Forest or Maine Coon. We had her for 17 years. I was so upset when we lost her. I found Tyler and Trinity through a Ragdoll rescue site. I have no idea if they even have Ragdoll in them, but they are the sweetest most loving cats and are a perfect fit to our family. They turn 5 this month and were part of the inspiration for writing my book. I had worked in furniture and interior design for twenty years. I was self-employed for the last 15 of those years. I decided to close my retail store and do something different. I have migraines and wanted something more flexible than a 9-5 job with no time off. I considered pet-stiting or working at a veterinarian’s office but I know I’d want to bring home every animal in need. One thing led to another and I spent the last 3 years writing The Friendly Floppy Ragdoll Cat. I still haven’t figured out what to do now that it is in print. My hubby of over 20 years has been pretty understanding, and allowed me to pursue my costly and time consuming dreams, but I’m sure he is hoping I figure out a way to do something I enjoy and bring home an income.
What made you want to write a book about Ragdoll cats?
Well, I love the breed, but the desire to write a book came from the lack of photos most of the Ragdoll books I bought had in them. I wanted to see EVERY color and pattern, kitten to adult. Most Ragdoll print books seem to be geared towards children. The Friendly Floppy Ragdoll Cat started out as a coffee table book with mostly pictures and little text, I just kept adding what I thought was important that others may find useful or enjoy and it morphed in to a full fledged book that still has a lot of pictures.
How many years did it take you to write the book?
It took just over 3, very long years. You know that saying about it taking a village to raise a child? well, it took a village on the book too. I could not have done it alone.
What sort of research did you do? Did you interview breeders? Read other Ragdoll cat books?
I did interview one breeder, but mostly I read other Ragdoll books, general cat books, and communicated with other cat owners. I have to say that Denny and Laura Dayton answering my correspondence was one of the big highlights. I mean here is a couple that was so influential in getting the Ragdoll breed recognized and they had long since retired but Denny took the time to call me, and Laura emailed me. Sadly Laura passed away. Now that I’ve seen a book go from idea to being in print I have to say I admire her even more than I already did. Not only did they pursue getting Ragdolls in to the cat fancy world, Laura wrote the book The Loveable Ragdolls. I relied on information I had been told or that had been shared with me over the years in person and on several Yahoo! groups, and from my personal experiences in having cats as part of the family. On the health chapters of the book, my veterinarian cousin, Dr. Shaylene Snyder of Hemlock Bluffs Animal Hospital, was a big help in going over my health research. I am also grateful to RFCI’s historian Wain Pearce.
How did you figure out what you wanted to include in the book and what not?
Choosing from the 1700 properly submitted photos from breeders and Ragdoll owners was very hard to narrow down. I would have liked to include them all. I mainly wanted to cover the Ragdoll’s origins, and the colors and patterns. The text just came together and started growing as I laid awake at night thinking of just one more area I wanted to cover. My local writers group was pretty helpful in the structure and what I might want to look at adding or taking away. The book has quite a bit of my personal story, thoughts and opinion laced through it also.
How did you come up with the title of the book? Did Floppycats.com have any influence on the title of the book?
I hate to say it, as much as I admire your website, and hope to spend some time looking at it, but it didn’t influence the title. The title goes back to the Ragdoll beginning of getting it’s breed name from going limp when held, like a rag doll, and doing the famous “Ragdoll flop.” Most of the other non-fiction Ragdoll books are called simply “Ragdoll Cat” and since The Friendly Floppy Ragdoll Cat has a more conversational tone, I wanted to describe the Ragdoll in a few words… and most Ragdolls are friendly, and they are floppy.
What was the best part of writing this book?
Having Tyler and Trinity be part of my life and inspiring me. They are the best cats, so incredibly loving and sweet, and those big blue eyes just melt my heart. I am also grateful to my parents for instilling the belief that I can do whatever I put my mind to, to my husband for allowing me to work on the book, and to the people and breeders who shared with me and help me reach my dream. I so wish my dad was still alive and could have seen my name on a book in print. He may have even liked Tyler and Trinity since they are more dog-like.
…and the worst?
oh there were tears of disappointment, and frustration, the re-writes seemed never ending at times, and the learning curve, but the worst was how much time I have sat in front of a computer in my own little world. I want to get back to communicating with other people and cat owners, enjoy walks and photography. I am looking forward to some time out of my office chair.
Do you hope to write more books like this in the future?
Right now I see a long break from writing anything, other than on my website, www.TheFriendlyFloppyRagdollCat.com and on social sites.
About what exactly? Who knows what the future holds.