Angel was my mom's old cat; he's now 17.
The book I'm writing now, which has the working title WHERE THE DEAD LIE (due out March 2017), sees Sebastian and Hendon united in their opposition to the betrothal of Hendon's granddaughter (Amanda's daughter), Stephanie, to a charming but decidedly nasty heir to a marquis. This has been a very emotional book to write; the scene I was working on the other day had me literally crying.
Huckleberry and Thomasina. These two were mine from before Steve and I married; Huck is almost 15 and Thomasina is at least 17-18.
I loved writing the Tobie and Jax books, and I think it helped keep the Sebastian series fresh when I could write something else in between (one of the dangers of a long-running series is that the writer can get tired of it). But it was just too much for me, trying to keep both series going. When my mom fell ill and moved in with me, I almost went crazy and decided I had to drop one. Even though she is now gone, I don't think I could manage both series at once, at least not for two different publishers. So I guess the short answer is, I have another C.S. Graham idea in my head that I'd love to write but I'm not sure I'll ever get the chance. Once a series is allowed to go cold like that, publishers are reluctant to pick it up again. Probably the only way it could happen is if someone made a movie. But while we had tons of interest, nothing ever came of it.
Banjo and Scout, our shaky kittens.
It isn't anywhere near as difficult now as it was during the Year of the Shaky Kittens. To be frank, caring for our two little handicapped babies took a huge toll on both Steve and I. Hand feeding them three times a day (for the first several months it was four), keeping them clean, and just holding and cuddling them took an enormous amount of time and required us to get up an hour earlier before Steve went to work and usually kept us up late at night. But my Banjo died in June of last year, and we lost Scout in October. And then we lost Indie, my little darling who left us far too soon this last March.
The rest of the guys aren't much trouble. Thomasina, the calico female in the bottom bunk in the picture above, now spends most of her time in Baton Rouge with my younger daughter. I feed and cuddle the rest of the gang first thing in the morning before I go for my walk (Huck and Angel get a med that needs to be sprinkled on wet food). In the evening, before I go to bed, I sit with the Marmalades again for a couple of hours and read (Roscoe and Peanut live in a part of the upstairs that is closed off by a glass door because Huck doesn't like them) while Steve goes out and sits and reads with the Pee Cats (Nora and Whiskies live on our fifty foot screened in gallery because they have "elimination issues"). Angel and Huck (and Tommy Girl when she's here) are free to roam the rest of the house (Huck doesn't like Angel, either, but Angel can hold his own), and they cuddle next to me (or ON me) during the day while I write.
The worst part of it all is that Steve and I really can't go away together for more than a night. I have friends who would be willing to come refresh water and food and litter boxes, but I can't ask people to come twice a day and administer medicine (Angel has another med that we squirt in his mouth at night and Huck gets a different med sprinkled on his bedtime snack). I can't board them, either, because Huck's problems are the result of a near fatal reaction to his last vaccines and the vet told me to never give them to him again. Which is probably way more than you wanted to know, but does explain why I went to England last June and poor Steve stayed home to cat sit!
Roscoe and Peanut. Technically, these two belong to Sam. I'm not holding my breath. They're six years old.
Caroline asked, Do you miss living in England, and if so, what?
I do miss it, yes. To be frank, I'd go back if I could (well, as long as I could pick one of the warmest, sunniest bit, and maybe also had a little house in Spain for the dead of winter!) I miss being able to drive over the hill and visit everything from a castle to a thousand year old church to a Roman ruin. I absolutely adore the beautiful gardens (when I was there this last time I was threatening to come home and rip up all my roses because they are so sad here in comparison). I love tearooms and neighborhood pubs and lovely little villages that made you ache for times gone past. I could go on and on, but I think the thing I love most is how wonderfully polite and funny the people are.
Indie, my little darling
I have three more questions to answer, about Jamie Knox and Sebastian and 19th century intellectual history, but each of those will be long enough to require a post to itself.
Whiskies (sibling to Roscoe and Peanut, and mentally "slow" since birth) and Nora (now 15, the sole survivor of the three cats Steve had when we married) on the porch swing. At the other end of the gallery are heated and air conditioned little houses for when it gets too cold or too hot. Yes, we are crazy.