Today’s 7 Questions are with Addison Albright, author of the forthcoming romcom Of Rats and Cats.
Addison describes the book as:
a short story, meet-cute detailing the humorous get-together of two otherwise regular guys, leading average lives. The story ends with a solid happy-for-now where we are left to imagine them continuing their relationship as they traipse, without further issue, toward their eventual HEA.
We check in for a cup of tea and a chat pre-release.
1. What inspired the story?
I wish I could say I was inspired by a true story that I’d heard, because wayward pets would be such a fun way for two people to meet (Rats and cats? Dogs and boa constrictors? Bearded dragon lizards and…badgers?). But alas, that wasn’t the case. I think this is the only story I’ve written where the location came first, followed by the characters and story line. A local writing group was considering putting out an anthology where the themes were that the story have an element of LGBTQ+ romance and that it be set in Kansas City, and my contribution was written before the project went south. Beyond that, I like pulling one significant event out of a couple’s otherwise humdrum life and highlighting that as a short story. Often that means a cute how-they-met story, which is the direction I went in Of Rats and Cats.
*Coughs*, um, badgers are NOT pets! Anyway, moving on…
2. Are you a rat person or a cat person?
After doing a little research for this story I could possibly see myself as a mouse person, but even after reading about pet rats, I still shudder at the thought of owning one as a pet. Nope, nope, nope. I’ve been a cat person my whole life starting with a childhood kitty who was known for dropping out of trees onto cows in the pasture behind our house (come on…you’ve got to at least respect the verve of that cat), all the way through to my final three kitties that were with me for five moves and more than fifteen years before dying of old age over the past couple years. The plethora of cat memes out there are all true, and how can you not love—maybe even relate to—the attitude of the smart ass cats in those videos looking you straight in the eye as they knock stuff off tables?
Which leads us nicely to our all important next question…
3. Pet couture, yes or no?
Hahaha…maybe if I was a dog person? They will at least tolerate, if not appreciate the efforts. I’m pretty sure that “tolerate” is the most I could have hoped for from any of my cats if I’d tried. That said, the idea is appealing, but not so much the inevitable scratches and bites.
They may love it. You don’t know unless you ask… anyway…
4. It’s a fun story, was it fun to write?
Thank you! It was lots of fun to write! I think writing the opening scene was my favourite part. There’s humour liberally sprinkled throughout the story, but it’s heaviest in the beginning. I loved coming up with ideas for ways to embarrass Raymond and his hero as their beloved pets ran amok. And okay, the research looking for titles for Raymond’s collection of vintage gay porn and an outrageous dildo for him to have stashed under his bed was part of the fun!
Er… OK… Hopefully no-one checks your browser history…
5. Did you pants it, or have a plan?
I pants everything, which is nuts considering how organised I am in most things in my life (seriously, you should see my closet…or spice drawer). But, when it comes to writing, I have a general idea of what’s going to happen in a story, but the details that come out as I write end up driving where the story goes, adding twists and turns. Beyond the opening scene in Of Rats and Cats, I had no idea what else was going to happen with the characters when I started writing it…how they were going to get from their awkward and embarrassing first encounter to realising they kind of liked each other, and hey…maybe we should go out on a date!
For instance, back when I wrote To Love and To Cherish, which also ended up having a lot of humour in it, I started out writing a marriage of convenience story. I didn’t know I was going to add an amnesia twist (that ended up becoming the primary story-driving plot point), until I started writing the chapter where the accident happened.
My one exception to this is a time-travel story I’m working on. Since that timeline gets complicated, I’ve sketched out a (very) brief outline. Something tells me that the details will still end up changing things, though.
All the best writers pants it. Not that I’m biased… but I am kinda peckish, so…
6. Describe your ideal sandwich.
Oh, dear. I’m not much of a sandwich person, and I’m a really weird eater. It all started when I was a child and was sick to my stomach…a LOT. I don’t think my mother ever considered there might be an intolerance to a certain food behind it, but my subconscious must have tried to work it out, and I eventually stopped “tossing my cookies” on a regular basis. Needless to say, my subconscious overdid it, and I became a very picky eater. As an adult, trying to become less so by trying some things I’d long rejected, I quickly worked out that I have a tomato intolerance and that whenever I eat anything with that vegetable/fruit/whatever in it, I will deeply regret it 4-6 hours later.
So, sandwiches…I’ll eat one if it’s very simple, because I still cringe at the thought of condiments in general (negative associations—even ones that were ultimately incorrect—are tenacious b********). I like ciabatta rolls, so my ideal sandwich would start with that, sliced, buttered, and grilled, then add some warm meat (roast beef, ham, chicken, turkey…) and voilà, there you have my ideal (and very basic…yet prissy) sandwich.
7. If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be?
This is the kind of question that’ll take over my mind and I’ll think about it for days. I’m weird like that. The answer might vary based on whether the parameters are that I know I’ll be there for life, or if there’s hope of rescue and I might want to signal potential rescuers (like with a mirror). I suppose it might also change based upon the natural resources that would be available on the island.
But, assuming I would be there forever and would want things that would last and make my survival easier, and also assuming it was a decent sized little island with trees and foliage, etc., I’d bring (1) lifetime supply of flint & steel (can we call this set a single item?) for ease in fire making, (2) a hefty/sturdy machete, which would come in handy in so many ways, and (3) a cast-iron potjie cauldron pot to give me cooking options beyond “put it on a stick and hold it over the fire” or “hope there are rocks I can beat into a pan-like shape.”
I often beat rocks into a pan like shape, just for the heck of it. Thanks for stopping by.
If you enjoyed this interview, you can find out more on her website.
And you can pre-order the book as follows: