Jeanne Foguth’s story of Xander de Hunter as chronicled in “The Red Claw” was an absolutely purr-fect light read which you can learn more about in my review of that title. As a cat lover I am hooked. To my great delight, she has just released Xander’s latest tale (or perhaps I should say “tail”?) entitled “Purr-a-noia” with another “Sea Purrtector Files” episode promised for next year.
Yet these charming cat adventure stories are but a small part of Jeanne’s repertoire. If you’re a romantic suspense, fantasy or science fiction fan you’ll want to get a hold of her other novels as well. Her vast travel experience coupled with her attention to detail create engaging characters in the midst of exotic settings which will pull you in and leave you wanting more. So without further ado, let’s learn more about this fascinating author and creator of my favorite cat hero.
MF: Clearly you’re an avid cat lover, which seems to be the case with numerous writers. What besides a strong affection for felines inspired you to write The Red Claw and its upcoming sequels starring Xander de Hunter?
JF: Yes, I love cats. In fact, I like most types of animals and over the years, we have had a wide assortment of furry and feathered friends. In 1981, we were adopted by Rom a.k.a. The Ramakazi, who became my good friend, fellow gardener and writing partner. We shared an L-shaped desk where he lounged on his keyboard while he looking out the window and tweeting to the birds. This allowed me to write freelance projects without him feeling the need to edit my work.
Rom was a major part of our lives until he died at 16.5. For years, I thought of various ways to write a memorial to him and when we were living aboard EvenStar, our Gemini 105MC, I imagined how Rom would have enjoyed the adventure…. by the time we got to Jamaica, where The Red Claw is set, I began putting notes in a file. Initially, I thought that I would only write one book, however I had so much fun that The Sea Purrtector Files is turning into a series. Purr-a-Noia (#2) is newly released and The Vi-Purrs (#3) will be out in early 2016.
MF: Do you have a favorite real-life cat that demonstrates Xander’s traits?
JF: Rom, who Xander is based on, loved technology and seemed very adept at turning things on and opening things – not so good at turning them off or closing drawers and doors. His technical expertise is the main reason we realized we could not share a keyboard and mouse. He was also “Mr. Cool’ when startled, so even when he decided that retreat was the wise choice, he never tucked tail and ran – he exited with dignity. In your review of The Red Claw, you suggested that Xander was sort of a feline 007 and that captures Rom’s character quite well.
BTW, the Siamese cat on The Red Claw‘s cover is Rom. We don’t have many photos of him, so my cover artist, Kiara Graham, adapted the same photo for Purr-a-Noia‘s cover.
MF: He was certainly beautiful and it’s like he’s looking through you with those blue eyes. I can’t think of a better way to immortalize a beloved pet than in a series of novels. What other animals have you had for pets besides cats?
JF: Hmmm, that is a long list. When I was a child, we lived on a dairy farm, which was at least a half mile from the next neighbor. Aside from cows, we had horses, a dog, sheep (rams are NOT good pets, but lambs are adorable), pigs and chickens.
Over the years, we have usually had a cat and sometimes a dog, but we’ve also had a variety of outdoor pets, which included birds, bunnies and even a few goats (I called them my gardening crew and used them in my war on kudzu ;-).
MF: Your biographical sketch mentions that you have a background in technical writing. Which industry was it applied to?
JF: Initially, I helped write J.C.H.A.(hospital procedure manuals) and preventive maintenance guidelines. Later, I wrote computer-user manuals as well as several free-lance projects that included policy and procedure manuals for some small companies.
MF: How do feel your technical writing experience influenced your fiction writing?
JF: I am a stickler for accuracy. It was drilled into me that J.C.H.A. manuals were used by hospital staff as a guide to treat life-threatening conditions.
MF: I can relate. Accuracy was drummed into my head when I was a techwriter at NASA. Speaking of accuracy, clearly you have traveled extensively which enriches your writing’s sense of place with a strong sense of authenticity. Your descriptions of Jamaica made me feel as if I was there such that I would recognize it if I ever was. Which location is your favorite and why?
JF: My favorite is wherever our next destination is 😉
I also like where I am and where I have been. Each place has had good and bad points. For example: in Alaska, the Northern Lights were amazing, but the mosquitoes were horrid (BTW, catnip is ten times better than DEET as an insect repellent and if you use it, you might make a new feline friend).
MF: LOL! I have a hard time growing catnip because it always gets ravaged long before harvest. I have one plant surrounded by a hardware cloth cage which so far has survived.
As you’ve gone to these fascinating locations do you find that you’re always thinking like a writer in that new experiences automatically evolve into a new story idea? Or does the story come first with travel and research following?
JF: Yes to both. For instance, the initial idea for Star Bridge (#1 of the Chatterre Trilogy) came to me on a sweltering day, as I was sitting in traffic, waiting to make a left turn. I had the thought that there wouldn’t be traffic jams and pollution on a world where humanity chose to live in harmony with nature. Of course, when I actually began writing the book, I needed to research a variety of things. For instance, Nimri, a main character, is an herbal healer, so I needed to verify what each herb that I used in the book was good for and also to confirm that if people decided to use something, it should not have an adverse reaction to something I mentioned in a scene.
MF: I’m a real fan of accuracy myself. You never know who might be reading your book and if they’re familiar with the subject and you get it wrong then you lose all credibility. Such details in fiction should be trustworthy as well as contribute to the substance and reality of the story. Speaking of accuracy, I assume that you’ve spent some time living on a boat based on the terminology the average non-mariner wouldn’t know in “The Red Claw.” What’s your favorite part about that life? What would you recommend to someone considering such a lifestyle?
JF: We lived aboard EvenStar for a few years. My favorite part was that I didn’t need to pack a suitcase when we moved to the next country – we only needed to pull up the anchor.
If anyone was considering the lifestyle, I would recommend:
1) that they be a good jack-of-all-trades because once you get off shore, you and your shipmates need to be capable of dealing with a wide variety of problems.
2) that they be competent sailors and good at plotting an accurate course.
3) that they be adventurous and open-minded, yet realize there are dangers out there, so avoid inviting problems aboard and stay away from trouble spots.
4) that they expect to learn new languages and understand cultural sub-text and not expect people in a new country to adapt to them.
MF: Makes sense! Have you had any frightening experiences living on a boat?
JF: Of course, but I’ve had worse and more life-threatening experiences on land.
MF: I can believe that. So which of your many books and/or characters are your personal favorites?
JF: That is a difficult choice, but I think Kazza and Xander are my favorites. Interestingly enough, both are cats, so I guess that brings us full circle to your initial observation that I am an avid cat lover.
Be sure to connect with Jeanne via her social media sites listed below and pick up one or more of her books today! Also note that both Xander and Kazza have their own blogs which have links on Jeanne’s blog site.
CONNECT WITH JEANNE:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jeanne-Foguth/e/B00JDW7TC8
Jeanne’s Books on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22
Jeanne’s Books on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/-Jeanne-Foguth-?store=allproducts&keyword=%22Jeanne+Foguth%22
AMAZON BOOK LINKS
Star Bridge (Chatterre Trilogy Book 1): http://www.amazon.com/Star-Bridge-Book-Chaterre-Trilogy/dp/099133387X/
Thunder Moon (Chatterre Trilogy Book 2): http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Moon-Chatterre-Trilogy-Triology-ebook/dp/B00S2WGH82/
Fatal Attractions: http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Attractions-Jeanne-Foguth-ebook/dp/B00JDNBS7O/
Passion’s Fire: http://www.amazon.com/Passions-Fire-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/0991333845/
The Peacekeepers: http://www.amazon.com/Peacekeepers-Jeanne-Foguth/dp/193092870X/