Monday, June 3, 2013

Whiskers Behind the Words: Preston, the Norwegian Forest Cat, by Edith Maxwell

Thanks so much, Melissa, for having me over! I want to share one of my favorite characters in my new Local Foods mystery (Kensington Publishing, May 2013),  A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die. He’s Preston, organic farmer Cameron Flaherty’s Norwegian Forest Cat.  He loves living on the farm, after having spent his first few post-rescue years in her apartment in Cambridge. Now he gets to chase voles and birds and woodchucks to his heart’s content.

Preston is a gorgeous beast, as are all Norwegian Forests, called skogkatt in Norwegian. He looks nordic with his light eyes and white-and-gray coloring. The kohl-colored rings around his eyes even make it appear that he’s wearing eyeliner. He keeps his ruff snowy white and grooms his two layers of fur meticulously, leaving great tufts of the soft stuff everywhere. You can find him sitting outside in the rain or on the snow, with those two layers helping him stay warm.

Preston is very sweet natured. I don’t know if that’s typical of his breed or is just Preston, but he loves to sit on Cam’s lap in the evenings or at the end of a long day of weeding, planting, and harvesting when she collapses into a lawn chair under the big maple in the back yard. When he likes someone, he rears up and rubs his head on their knee. He doesn’t fight unless provoked and has a live-and-let-live attitude toward other cats he encounters.
His voice is the tiniest mew you can imagine, and his face the most expressive. His favorite habit is to be petted while he eats. He ASKS to be petted while he eats. First thing in the morning, and pretty much any time Cam walks into the kitchen, Preston runs to his dry food bowl, and looks up over his shoulder, asking in his teeny-tiny voice, “Please pet me? Please?” Cam finds it hard to refuse.

I know Preston so well not only because I invented his human but because he’s our senior cat at  the home I share with my beau, Hugh, and our two other cats, Christobel and Birdie (who are also rescued and gorgeous but are not Norwegian Forests). Some years ago Hugh was looking for a cat and was directed to the home of a woman who fostered cats for a shelter. She showed him one cat who was very full of itself. Then she said there was another that had been mauled by a dog. The shelter had been  afraid they were going to have to put him down when a veterinary surgeon visiting that day said, “I can sew him up.”  When Hugh saw Preston, his stomach was shaved and his stitches were healing. Even so, his sweet nature shone forth and Hugh adopted him. Hugh changed his name from Louie to Preston, and then we added Parkhurst, the Third to it, as befits his distinguished bearing.

Cam makes sure Preston is safely inside every night, since coyotes and foxes inhabit the woods behind the fields. In the second book in the series, ‘Til Dirt Do Us Part (which I am polishing right now!), Preston disappears one day and Cam is distraught, as you might imagine. I’ll let you read the story to find out what happens. I hope you enjoy getting to know Preston and Cam, along with the eccentrics in the Locavore Club, the handsome and flirtatious chef, and Girl Scout volunteer Ellie in  A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die.
It's harvest time in Westbury, Massachusetts, and novice farmer Cameron Flaherty hopes to make a killing selling organic produce. But when a killer strikes on her property, her first foray into the world of organic farming yields a bumper crop of locally sourced murder...

Cam's first growing season has gotten off to a slow start, but her CSA is flourishing thanks to a colorful group of subscribers led by Lucinda DaSilva, an enthusiastic Brazilian volunteer who's vowed to eat nothing but locally produced food for one year. When Cam fires her only employee, local handyman Mike Montgomery, because he won't follow organic growing practices, it seems like just another day at the office—until she finds him with a pitchfork sticking out of his neck.

The police suspect Cam of Mike's murder, but when their investigation goes nowhere, Lucinda joins Cam in the hunt for the real killer. In a small New England town full of eccentric locavores, there's no shortage of possibilities—from a neighboring farmer who competes with Cam for customers to a Swedish chef whose romantic designs on her have recently taken a turn for the odd. And then there's the local militia group with its decidedly nonlocal agenda...

To clear her name, Cam will have to dig up secrets buried deep beneath the soil of Produce Plus Plus Farm. And she'll have to catch a murderer whose motto seems to be "Eat local. Kill local."

Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mysteries. A TINE TO LIVE, A TINE TO DIE introduces geek-turned-organic farmer Cam Flaherty, a colorful Locavore Club, and locally sourced murder. Edith once owned and operated the smallest certified-organic farm in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Tace Baker, Edith Maxwell's pseudonym, is the author of SPEAKING OF MURDER (Barking Rain Press, Sept 2012) featuring Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau. Edith holds a PhD in linguistics and is a long-time member of the Society of Friends.

Edith has also published short crime fiction, most recently in the Fish Nets anthology and in Thin Ice from Level Best Books.

A mother and technical writer, Edith lives north of Boston with her beau, three cats, and a small organic garden.


GLOGIRLY said...

Norwegian Forest Cats are SO beautiful!!! ...and Preston is very handsome.
: ) "Whiskers Behind The Words" is such a cool idea! Love it!

Glogirly & Katie

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Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks for stopping by, Katie and Glogirly! Preston is a very good looking fellow, for sure.

Katreader said...

Sounds like a great series-I love eating local! Preston sounds like a wonderful cat. Isn't it funny how sometimes the biggest cats have the tiniest meows?! Give him a pet from me.

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks, Katreader! He's a real sweetheart. Off to pet him now.

hotcha12 said...


Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks, Hotcha12! He's such a great cat.

CaninesCouture said...

Preston is adorable and the fact that he has the tiniest little mew melts my heart. :)


Jules of Canines & Couture

Dru said...

I've read this book and it's a great read. Preston is always there to give Cam some love.

Edith Maxwell said...

I agree, Jules! Thanks.

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks, so much, Dru Ann!

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