{Guest Post with a Ginger Cat} “Home with Henry” by Anne Kaier

Anne Kaier, author of "Home with Henry," guests posts for RedWhiteandGrew.com

Today I’m delighted to guest host author Anne Kaier who has a new book out this summer. If you’d like to purchase a copy of her new book, you are invited to use my Amazon Affiliate link.

I started writing my memoir Home with Henry while my ginger cat Henry still quivered under my bed. He’d been a feral cat. I’d rescued him from sure death on a busy suburban road. As far as I knew, he had little experience of humans. I had no experience of untamed cats. How could I get him to trust me and come out from his hiding place? I kept a journal in small spiral notebooks, noting down each small step in his progress.

Every evening and often at work, I scrawled in a notebook, finding comfort in the physical act of pushing a pen across the lined paper. When I’d finished the daily entry, I’d sprint across the hall to share it with another copywriter, my coworker, Lynn. One morning after Henry had been with me for two weeks and still hid under the bed, I burst into Lynn’s office in our ad department. “Guess what Henry did last night,” I said. “Instead of arching his back, he rested his head on his paws and looked steadily at me.”

“That’s an intimidation technique,” Lynn explained, tapping a pencil against her stylish hairdo. “I don’t think you’re getting very far with this taming business.”

Our conversations went into my notebook, too. Although I don’t, as a rule, keep a journal, this project of taming Henry fascinated me. Perhaps I wanted to encourage myself. Keeping careful, exuberant notes helped. Eventually, my journal filled four spiral notebooks which lay in a drawer for several years. Then an editor at a small Philadelphia publisher offered to publish my tale. My journals, which had to be turned into a book, had the immediacy of a story unfolding since I didn’t know how the story would end as I was keeping the notes. Would Henry stay under the bed forever? Would he find it impossible to get used to human beings and just scuttle around in the spare room for years? When I worked on the book, I had the answers to these questions, but I decided to keep the journal entry format, so the reader would have as much excitement and apprehension as I did while I lived through the events my book described. It took me two rewrites to get the book into shape, to clarify the story line and check the details. But rereading my journal entries and working on the book brought the events of those days vividly to mind. I’d brought a small frightened feral cat home. Very gradually, he stopped hissing and spitting, learned to trust a human being, and revealed his deep and genuine sweetness.

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This post is the first spot on Anne’s tour for her book. Other stops in coming weeks include:

June 30:  https://storycirclenetwork.wordpress.com/

July 1:  http://judyalter.com/

July 2:  http://www.MochasMysteriesMeows.com

July 3:  http://consciouscat.net/

July 4:  http://www.bloodredpencil.com and http://www.marianallen.com

July 5:  http://joyceboatright.blogspot.com/

July 6:  http://maryannwrites.com/

July 7:  http://womensmemoirs.com/

 

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8 comments

  1. The journal format was perfect for this book. I can’t believe you edited it down from four notebooks! I often wonder why I journal, and why I write what I write. What makes that one thing important enough for me to put down on paper? That you used your journaling to encourage yourself in this process is pretty neat- I haven’t thought about it in that way before.

  2. Anne very generously sent our little library in Wyoming a signed copy of Home with Henry. We’ve had the book only two weeks, and it’s already been checked out twice–that makes Anne more popular than James Patterson or Nora Roberts! Both patrons loved the book. We have all enjoyed Anne’s description of her life with Henry, so I’m so pleased to have this peek into her writing process. Thank you for sharing it–and Henry–with us, Anne.

  3. I’m impressed by your determination to tame a feral cat, Anne. And looking forward to following you on your blog book tour, to learn more about Henry and you. Thanks for hosting, Pamela.

  4. Anne, your story reminded me of my own adventures with a feral cat, and the challenge (and joy) of learning to love a wild thing. Thank you–and thanks, Pam, for hosting. I’m remembering our fun with Victory Gardens a few years ago.

  5. I have a bad tempered tortoiseshell cat, who lived wild on a farm before she adopted us. It sounds as if Seren’s adoption into our family was much easier than Henry’s and I am looking forward to reading about how you managed the transition from wild cat to companion.

  6. I’ve read the book (no spoiler alerts in this message, however) and can say that the journal structure and the clarity of Anne’s writing kept me reading way past bedtime. One of the many things I like about this book is that both Henry, the cat, and Tommy, the nephew, are treated with deep respect and love for who they are. Anne does not cutesy them of make them precious.
    The book is a delight.

  7. The book is a gem. Not being a cat lover, I found the story interesting on every level from beginning to end. You always want to know what happens next! Anne is and has been my hero since we were little kids. Her story telling ability has been evident since childhood. Anne would entertain us every night with stories that were in a series of adventures that always left us wanting more. Anne keep up the great work, it is a pleasure and honor knowing you can write and entertain at the same time. Congratulations on your fabulous book!

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