I’ve been telling stories through music for the past 20 years as a singer/songwriter. Five years ago I raised funds to produce a graphic novel of Jack the Ripper titled "1888," through Kickstarter. The project is currently in production. That first leap from music to comics was made possible by long-time fans of my music. The transition from comics to prose came when I had decided to write a book for my 19 nieces and nephews as a holiday gift. That idea became the first "Crime Cats" novel.
Why did you choose to write a children’s book?
"Crime Cats" was originally written as a holiday gift for my 19 nieces and nephews who live out of state. I wanted to use my artistic talents to remain in their lives without geographically being there. The lessons in "Crime Cats" are the ones I chose to pass along to my family members in hopes it would lead them, in some way, to lead richer, fuller lives.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
During my daily walks through my neighborhood of Clintonville (a suburb of Columbus, Ohio,) I’ve gotten to know quite a few of the neighborhood cats. I think our outdoor cat population is one of the most defining characteristics of our community. Our sense of empathy comes from this feline presence reminding us every day to look out for those more vulnerable than ourselves.
Who will enjoy the "Crime Cats" series?
I would recommend "Crime Cats" to any child who has ever wished they had a super power, and to parents who want their children to learn the value of empathy and their own self-worth.
What is your goal with "Crime Cats?"
My goal with "Crime Cats" is to celebrate Clintonville and help our feline citizens who have contributed to our unique community. So, a portion of the profit of every new copy of "Crime Cats" sold will benefit the Crime Cats Relief Fund: a private trust that issues grants to help with medical expenses for South Clintonville’s community cats.
When you self-publish, do you do it all yourself?
No; comic book colorist Ross Hughes transforms my line art into the eye-catching cover images you see, and I am blessed with a patient editor who works with me from the beginning to the end of the writing process.
Are there any specific authors or works that inspired "Crime Cats"?
I recently discovered a striking similarity in my narrative style to that of author Bruce Coville. Suffice it to say, I have since become a fan of his writing. The late John Bellairs’s Lewis Barnavelt series was very inspiring to me, as was Columbus native, R.L. Stine’s "Goosebumps" novels. "Crime Cats" is a bit of a throwback in many ways to the kids books I loved in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Those titles that were found in the Weekly Reader catalogs and in the Book Mobile's racks.
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