“Texts From Mittens: A Cat Who Has an Unlimited Data Plan…and Isn’t Afraid to Use It,” by author and humorist Angie Bailey comes on the heels of her first cat book (and now calendar), “whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds.”
Thanks to the cat blogging coupled with the fact Angie she lives near Minneapolis with her family of 3 furbabies and 2 furless, close to where I spent my formative years, we bonded immediately.
You can’t help but be happy around her. Her genuine smile, positive attitude and enthusiasm are infectious –as you’ll can see I can’t help but smiling and acting goofy in her presence (even in the absence of make-up!)
We thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A with her to learn a bit more about the book and get some inside scoop! Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to read to the end to enter our giveaway!
IHC: What gave you the idea for a texting cat?
ANGIE: I love the idea of cats acting like humans, and the idea came on the heels of “whiskerslist,” which was about cats using a feline form of craigslist. Plus, I laughed at the thought of the things my cats would text me. It’s ridiculously silly — just like I like it!
IHC: Can we divulge the original Mittens?
ANGIE: Sure! …when I originally started Mittens, I used my husband’s iPhone as “Mitten’s” phone and would texts back and forth with both phones in front of me. In order to do this, I had to change my husband’s name to “Mittens” in my contacts. It’s been a couple of years, but I can’t bear to change his name back to John. Plus, there’s a certain thrill that comes from seeing a call of texts from Mittens come through on my phone!
IHC: Did the concept begin as a one-off or did you know Mittens had a future?
Angie: It started as a one-off on Catster [Tamar here, as an aside, it received 73 comments!], and then the readers wanted more so the editors OK’d it as a bi-weekly column (which it still is — every other Wednesday). Readers still wanted more, so I created textsfrommittens.com, where I post a daily text conversation. That became popular quickly, so I pitched the book and it was picked up.
IHC: What’s been the most gratifying part of this project?
ANGIE: It’s been really fun all along to see readership grow and watch people become increasingly attached to “Mittens” and the gang… I’ve received emails and messages from people with chronic or terminal illnesses who’ve expressed their gratitude for the much-needed laughs. One reader told me she forwards the posts to her husband who’s deployed in Afghanistan and he shares them with his friends. I love thinking about “Mitty” entertaining the troops! All of this is better than any kind of success measured by numbers.
IHC: What percent of the texts in the book are original, or are they mostly a collection of your past work?
ANGIE: About 90% is new material.
IHC: Who inspired the character of the neighbor “Drunk Patty”?
ANGIE: No, but her character has been really fun to develop. I like to think of her as a less classy version of Karen from Will and Grace or Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous. She’s not drunk all the time, but she likes to have a PBR and go to the casino. She’s always happy, works at a tanning salon, and loves to cuddle Mittens and kiss him with her Jack Daniels and Cool Ranch Dorito breath. She’s the kind of girl that still slathers herself with baby oil and “lays out” in the backyard. She’s got a huge heart and is actually quite an endearing character.
IHC: Was the character of Mittens based on any one specific cat?
ANGIE: No, not originally, but I recently realized he’s a lot like my Tuxie, Cosmo.
IHC: Can you describe to us, in a sentence, each of your REAL cats?
ANGIE: Cosmo is a total Mama’s boy who thinks he’s a tough guy; Saffy is a fluffy old lady with three teeth and a gravelly meow, Phoebe is the 6.5 lb. alpha with a huge, bossy mouth.
IHC: Do you think your real life cats are jealous of Mittens and all the attention he gets?
ANGIE: They don’t care, as long as it earns the treat money. [Tamar: Spoken like a true cat parent – no delusions here!]
TO ENTER THE “TEXT FROM MITTENS” GIVEAWAY:
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- Must have a mailing address within the continental United States.
- Giveaway entries will only be accepted through Wednesday April 29th at 12am EST.