Friday 21 November 2014

Happy Birthday Crooked Cat!


And no, I haven’t lost the plot, because this is no ordinary cat. This is a Crooked Cat... in the nicest possible way. It’s one that has kept a low profile while its two owners (actually does a cat ever have an owner?) acted as a “front”, until it was ready to hit the world publishing stage. Today it reached the ripe old age of three!


Cat, I’d like to say what a pleasure it is to be talking to you tonight, even though I am rather apprehensive about talking to what is in effect an iconic, if a somewhat nebulous and anthropomorphic personification. How do you feel about being interviewed at long last?

You may call me Crooked. I feel indifferent about the situation and, since I have heard that you are somewhat of a troublemaker, Mr Hardie, I shall take my time. You may continue.

Er, thank you, Cat, I mean Crooked, I'll try not to cause too much trouble. Few publishing houses have been run by an animal, except of course Penguin, so tell me how you started Crooked Cat Publishing?

Penguin? Pah. A bird in Cat’s clothing. There are few things in life more important to a Cat than to see its owner happy. That, my dear friend, and a rather large, dead fish in front of one, naturally. My owner, tired of the way that normal publishers value celebrities ahead of a good read, thought it would be a spiffing idea to start something up - a place where the story is the most important thing. And so it began...

I have to ask you.... why Crooked? Cats have a reputation for cleverness, being devious and often cruel. But Crooked?

How dare you suggest that I have a reputation for cleverness! Your readers may be familiar (though I’m quite certain that you possess not the slightest clue about it - I’m sure that you are an X Factor fan)......

I am definitely not!

.......with an old English rhyme:

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

I shall leave you to make up your own mind about it. CAN YOU READ?

Word has it that you would have loved to have published Of Mice And Men, The Birds and Under Milk Wood.

You can’t read, can you?

Yes, I can. Now tell me though, who is your favourite non-Crooked Cat author?

Are you trying to be humorous, Mr Hardie? Don’t. I am particularly partial to a piece of Jean Cocteau, Neil Gaiman and Jack Kerouac. I also like J...  BIRD. BIRD. BIRRRRRRD.....
Who is your favourite, Mr Hardie?

(Blimey! I interviewed Bernard Cornwell and now I'm talking to a cat!!! Chin up, Richard!) There are so many publishers out there.......

Oh, are you ignoring me, Mr Hardie? an independent how do you promote your brilliant authors?

You ARE ignoring me. Big mistake. do the big Cats do it? The cream (hmm, cream) rises to the top eventually. I love telling the world how brilliant our authors are, and they’re very good at it as well. The internet is beautifully lovely for this sort of thing - facebook and twitter to name but a few - but my poor paws don’t really suit the keyboard these days.

What do you look for in a book before accepting it, and how important is the author?

I don’t accept - I tolerate. Someone has to write good and use, punctuation properly, and sepll well. But what’s most important of all is when they......BIRD BIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRDDD.....

(Nurse, the screens!) On average, Crooked, what percentage of authors that submit to you do you take on?

About 15%. Even the ones who ignore me......


.........That’s very nearly half

Now you've had your third birthday, how do you see Crooked Cat Publishing evolving over the next two to three years?

I see a big castle, a lot of mice (preferably just-dead) and lots of warm fires. I don’t think there’s anything else to say, really.

Cat, it’s been lovely taking to you......

No it hasn’t. Don’t lie.

 .....and many thanks for giving us an insight into Crooked Cat Publishing.

I am Cat. Call me Crooked. I have tolerated you. Farewell.

(Phew! It's a good job I didn't mention that next week I'm interviewing a dog!)

Crooked Cat’s fascinating and beguiling webpage is at  where you can find out a lot more about Crooked Cat Publishing and its authors.

You can also find out more about Crooked Cat Publishing on YouTube at

You can find my books at ....

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday 7 November 2014

That Was A Week That Was!

Well, of course it was.

It had seven days, each of which had 24 hours, so it qualifies by default to join all those other weeks that prceeded it; the lucky thing!

I noticed that the newspapers all had headlines and the TV news programmes managed to fill half an hour without repetition, so it was not only a week, but presumably an eventful one. However, rather than repeat everything that I'm sure you've heard and read, let's look at my week.

- The Queen Mary cruise liner cam back into Southampton after a trip round the world. 12 of my books went on the trip in the liner's shops and I'll find out this coming week how many of them were sold. If the word loads is used then the company that supplies the ships will put the books into other liners. Exciting Times!

- Firework Night. I have to admit I love seeing firework go off. When I was a kid I used to love coming back from school on 5th November and couldn't wait for it to get dark so my dad could let off all the fireworks. My sister and I used to save up our pocket money for weeks so we could go down to the local corner shop. We would buy one Roman Candle and some bangers, storing the Roman Candle away and inevitably using the bangers well in advance of the big night. The big cakes of multi-ignition fireworks weren't available, and we wouldn't have been allowed to have had them, but a few familes would come round to our house, or we would go to theirs, and our combined fireworks and the bonfire would give us endless fun. Hot baked potatoes and hot drinks made the evening perfect.
Some fireworks disappeared because of safety concerns. The Airplane was a favourite that, together with The Helicopter, shot into the air in a totally random direction and could cause chaos. The other main victim to safety was the Squib, or Jumping Jack, that shaped like an old radiator, jumped randomly 7 or 8 times. It was often set off among crowds causing mayhem. Bangers also seem to have bitten the dust, except for the ones imported from China.
When I left home and until I got married I saw the occasional firework, but didn't buy any, so when my kids were old enough to enjoy them I went to a garden center near Bedford and bought a mixture box made by a local vicar whose hobby was making the more pretty display fireworks. They were superb, and for the next 20 odd years some family friends and their kids would get together and we would do what my parents did when I was a kid. We had great fun!

- I've worked hard this week and physically I'm pleasantly tired. But not so tired that I won't enjoy going out with a couple of friends for a drink after dinner! The only down-side is that it's my turn to drive, so I'll be on one glass of wine, followed by orange juice!

Blog on, Dudes!