Meeting Marilyn Edwards – albeit over the phone – was a joyful experience. I had to confess to her (shamefacedly) that I hadn’t had the opportunity of reading any of her 4 widely known books centring on the cats of Moon Cottage and she graciously laughed it off as if it were no big deal. 

Marilyn, Titus, Fannie and PushkinThe publisher, Hodder and Stoughton, had just sent me the two paperback omnibus versions of the original hardbacks which are called The Moon Cottage Cats Volume One and Volume Two price £7.99 each to give away as prizes but something in me said that I had to read them first!

At the time of writing up this interview with Marilyn, I have only just started to read Volume One so can’t make any comments about it yet and in all probability, I will have finished it in time for April’s website update and book review.

But back to Marilyn Edwards; she is a charming, effusive, lovely woman who knows her subject well. Anyone who has lived with cats long enough does at least learn about feline behaviour and this is evidenced not only in her writing, but in her conversation also.

Marilyn was a confirmed dog lover but she grew up with cats and dogs when a child. Her mother liked cats and her father liked dogs and she said that in family pictures there was often a cat sitting on her mother’s knee.  Septi and Otto were the inspiration for her first book: The Cats of Moon Cottage which was written as a cathartic exercise after Otto’s death at a year old. Marilyn had kept a journal noting the behaviour of Septi, who was a 17 year old male and Otto who was a female kitten and how Otto tried to seduce Septi over time. Otto eventually had three kittens, Fannie, Titus and Beetle and they were left without their mother after her tragic death.

Losing Otto in a road traffic accident when she was only a year old had devastating effects on the entire household and Septi died some months later of a broken heart.  Beetle found a new home, but Fannie and Titus (also a female) remained with Marilyn and her husband Michael.

Marilyn decided to get another couple of cats and Gilly a black Bengal female joined the family, as did Pushkin, a male Russian blue.  It was hoped that Pushkin would mate with the girls and then Marilyn would get them all neutered. But fate has a way of getting in the way. Although Titus would ignore Pushkin most of the time, when she came on heat she would present herself to him. Pushkin – not sure of where he stood with her – thought better of it and avoided her like the plague! When Fannie came on heat Pushkin chanced his paw but Fannie would have none of it so both females remained ‘in tact’ and kittenless.

Marilyn tried researching stud websites and found one some distance away. Fannie, who was by now, 6 years old, came back duly mated. Marilyn – like any expectant ‘grandmother’ counted the weeks and Fannie’s due date came and went. Eventually she took her to the vet and it was discovered that she’d had a phantom pregnancy.

Marilyn’s books were all illustrated by the wonderfully talented Peter Warner whose own cats were often used as models for the Cats of Moon Cottage.  They met in 2000 when Hodder and Stoughton suggested that Peter illustrate Marilyn’s first book ‘The Cats of Moon Cottage’.

Sadly Peter died in September 2007 of widespread cancer which eventually went to his liver. His beloved cat Blue died on Peter’s birthday with the same illness. By the time his illness was diagnosed he, too, had massive tumours on his liver.

Blue had been hanging around Peter’s studio waiting for him to return and despite the neighbours trying to coerce him into their homes to care for him he was a very unhappy cat.

Marilyn now has another writing project underway which is a secret for the time being, but knowing Marilyn, I’m sure it will be as delightful a read as the four wonderful books which make up the Cats of Moon Cottage Quartet. 

Marilyn has said that she couldn’t possibly imagine life without cats around her. In her own words: ‘I cannot now easily imagine living in a world where cats are not part of it. In the course of having been uplifted by the cats in my life so have I been heartbroken by their loss, but I would not undo one second of knowing them and loving them.’ Marilyn Edwards

For more information on Marilyn and her books, please visit her website:

www.thecatsofmooncottage.co.uk

For more information on Peter Warner and his art, please go to:

http://www.peterwarner.com

To read the review of the Cats of Moon Cottage, by Marilyn, please click here:

© Pauline Dewberry April 2008

 

 

 






A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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