Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.
I was shocked — SHOCKED — to learn that there are mystery novels featuring talking cats, cats who help old British ladies solve murders and whatnot.
Then my mind was blown to itty bitty pieces when I heard THIS IS NOT A FLUKE.
There isn’t a solo author who did this and was magically successful at it. Many, many authors write Talking Cat Cozy Mysteries, and many people hand over pieces of paper decorated with dead presidents to buy these novels, and read them.
So much so that Talking Cat Cozies are an entire flipping sub-genre now, just like Sparkly Vampires and the Angsty Teenagers Who Love Them.
Everybody knows cats can’t talk. Porcupines, now, talk up a storm.
This made me think, which is always dangerous.
What if somebody wrote a Talking Cat Mystery where the cat … is secretly the killer?
So I wrote the first chapter of an evil talking cat mystery.
Here’s the first page.
A BOWL OF WARM MILK AND MURDER
Chapter 1: My Secret
It should not surprise you that I know words. Even the Dog knows words, and does tricks, and he is Simple.
He did not stop chewing his bone while I sat in the lap of the Woman and watched the Glowing Box show a story about a sheep dog that knows thousands of words.
I would not know so many words without the Glowing Box. I sat beside the Boy as we watched the Sesame Street to learn about letters and numbers and words.
He grew taller. I learned all I could. When they left the house, I pushed the buttons on the Boy’s ABC toy to know letters and sounds. Then to spell small words. I learned how to press the button on the small stick to make the Glowing Box come alive and go to sleep. To climb on the boxes in the garage to push the other button to make the giant door open and close.
Oh, I learned many things. And I know these things must be Secrets, that the Woman and the Boy cannot know.
Tonight, I have a even biger secret.
After the Boy and the Woman go upstairs, where I am not allowed, I will sneak out of the dog door. I will walk very far.
And then I will kill a Man.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.