Special guest author blog on The Cat Mafia!

//Special guest author blog on The Cat Mafia!

9th July 2021

We’re thrilled to welcome author and naval mum, Liz McKittrick, as our guest blogger. Liz wrote Valiant Tails: The Cat Mafia, which is the very first book to kick off our new column in Homeport magazine, in which naval kids tell us what they think of a new book. Safe to say, they absolutely loved Valiant Tails: The Cat Mafia. Here, Liz tells us about the bits of real life that inspired the story… be prepared for snakes!

Hi! I’m Liz McKittrick and I’m the author of Valiant Tails: The Cat Mafia

In 2009 my husband and I made a life changing decision to move to Cyprus. Our two sons had flown the nest to follow their dreams, one as an engineer on Superyachts, the other a career in the Royal Navy and who is currently still serving. We owned an apartment on a small complex in Liopetri, Famagusta in eastern Cyprus and on the 10th April 2009 we arrived along with our cat, Eric, ready to start a new life!  It was during the years I lived in Liopetri that I found my inspiration to write Valiant Tails.

From time-to-time kittens and older cats would stray onto our little complex. Some of the cats stayed and became ‘complex cats’, others were given a home by residents. The cats had a whole social hierarchy. It was amazing to watch them. Sometimes I might have as many as five cats on my veranda, (known as SV1 in the book), all asleep on the chairs and shaded from the burning sun under our pergola.

I couldn’t even get a seat some days!  Sometimes they would wander off together to play and hunt in the potato field behind the apartments, disappearing for hours and occasionally even days! Each cat had a different personality and I found myself wondering what they were thinking and what did they get up to when they went off on their adventures…  and so, the idea of writing the story about the Cat Mafia was born.

Some of the cats in the story are real, some are fictional and some of the adventures are adapted from actual events. The tale of the snake in the potato field is true. I came onto the veranda one afternoon to find three cats sitting on the wall looking downwards into the field. I went over to see what they found so interesting and there, with a small snake in his mouth, was Roo! I shouted John (my husband) to come quickly. He jumped over the wall into the field armed with a “vicious mop” which he then proceeded to wave in Roo’s face to make him drop the snake! It was later that afternoon when we called at the surgery to get Roo checked over that he was christened “Snake boy Roo” by the vet!!

In 2016 we were forced to return to the UK due to my husband’s serious health problems.  I had almost finished Valiant Tails and in April 2019 the book was published with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. At present I am finishing my second year of a three-year BA Hons degree course in English at Doncaster University Centre and so the sequel to The Cat Mafia has been on hold. This time the story is set in Doncaster as little Roo has travelled from Cyprus back to the UK, I wonder what adventures he will get up to, no doubt they will be fantastic, funny, and sometimes sad, because that is what life is all about really, nothing runs completely smoothly for any of us. I’m hoping to get the book finished by the end of this year, so keep a lookout for it!  I do hope you enjoy reading Valiant Tails: The Cat Mafia.

More about Liz McKittrick
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