I base the character of Bumble – who narrates FIGHTING THE FLAB – on the character Eric in my book A Cat Called Dog (Austin Macauley 2015). That’s only right and proper really, as I based the character of the one-eyed cockney stray cat Eric – at least in part – on Bumble!

A Cat Called Dog by Jem VanstonI had actually written the original A Cat Called Dog in 28 days during the London Olympics in July 2012, and in early 2012 we still had our previous cats Fifi and Frodo. Fifi died in June; Frodo in early August 2012. Soon after, we visited Cats Protection Swansea, and got the cats who became Honey and Bumble. At the time, Honey was called ‘Sindy’ I think, and the shelter had named Bumble ‘Sadie’.

We soon renamed them: Honey, because her fur is Honey-coloured and she’s very sweet too – she was utterly traumatised when we got her (after the previous owner was raided by police and she hid under the floorboards for five days). Once with us, Honey hid under the stairs in a pile of cardboard for three days, but she gradually recovered and is now a thriving little Tabby-Tortie-cross diva! She’s very pretty – and knows it too!

Bumble was so-called because he’s rather clumsy, knocking things off shelves with his tail, in complete contrast to Honey, who is delicate and careful. Bumble was always bold – he came up to us in the Cats Protection shelter with his huge flue brush of a tail up in the air and miaowing constantly right at us! Well, he did get our attention with that display, so we took the two cats (who may be sisters) home.

As I was editing the original A Cat Called Dog I exaggerated the bushiness of Eric’s tail after witnessing Bumble’s wonderful bushy tail – which, by the way, he wags constantly, just like a dog! Like Eric, Bumble is a semi-longhaired black cat, and rather scruffy. Though I am pleased to say that Bumble still has both eyes and is such a home boy I don’t think he’d ever survive as a stray (unlike Honey who’d be a wonderful mouser!)

Bumble is a she-cat by the way, but we call her a he because she behaves so like the tom-cats we have had in the past (and it also helps us to differentiate between the two cats as well). I am sure Bumble isn’t offended!

Eric is a great fun character in A Cat Called Dog – a cockney stray with one eye missing who is perhaps not the sharpest claw in the paw, but who is ever-cheerful and loyal to the respectable George and other cats. Like Bumble, he is good-natured but loves putting on a display too as a bit of a show-off!

The illustrated sequel to A Cat Called Dog which is called A Cat Called Dog – The One with the Kittens will be out in April or May 2017. It’s full of fun, as always, with funny characters, scenes and jokes – as well as some sad and scary moments. Like a Disney film, it is suitable for both children and adults.

My author website: www.vanston.co.uk– all news of the release of the book will be put on here as it happens.

Jem Vanston

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