I was talking to my best friend today, and the topic was cats. She has three and I love hearing about their antics. Much as I love cats, I’m allergic and don’t have one of my own. While we were discussing the most recent funny things her cats were doing, I mentioned that it was a real cat who was the inspiration for Perceval in the first Gaiaverse book, Gaia Dreams.
I had a family member living in the country who had one cat who lived in the house and about ten that lived outside. Most of them were somewhat feral, but there was one cat who always let himself be held and petted. This cat had protected the family one summer day, by attacking a poisonous snake that was entering their yard. Cats have been known to keep snakes away from yards, attacking them.
In this case, the cat did kill the snake, but was bitten in the process. The side of his face swelled up massively, and my friend was sure the cat was going to die. But over several days time he didn’t die, and gradually after that began to improve. He was soon back to prowling the grounds around the house, protecting his family.
This cat’s behavior made me think about how humans and cats have been joined throughout the ages. And the more I thought about it, the idea kept coming up in my mind…what if cats were more aware of things than we ever suspected? From that, eventually, came the character of Perceval the cat, and his partnership with Mrs. Philpott.
It’s funny how inspiration happens. Never the same twice, it can hit like a bolt of lightning or be quiet and sneaky, creeping into the mind until suddenly a true idea is formed. There is one part of my current work-in-progress, the third Gaiaverse book, that has been sitting in my head since 1998, and will now get its chance to be written. It was inspired by watching a squirrel throw an acorn on top of a student’s head on a college campus. You never know when, or from where, the inspiration for the next great idea will strike. So keep your mind open. And pay attention.