Jackson wishes he had a pet. Everyone seems to have one except him (because, of course, little brothers don’t count as a pet!) and he doesn’t think it’s fair.
One day he meets a mysterious man who promises him the pet he’s always wanted…and possibly, more!
Captain Whiskers is a fun, funny tale which will make you laugh with delight. I loved the humour that ran throughout the book (and let’s be honest – any book about cats is one I’ll enjoy!). Jackson is a character that the children will not only relate to, but recognise in either themselves or their classmates.
Today, I’m lucky enough to have an interview with the author, to tell you even more about Captain Whiskers. Here to exclusively tell us more about the book and his writing is Jeremy Strong!
1) Do you have any pets yourself?
Yes. I have a cat, a hen and six grandchildren. They are all lovely, especially the grandchildren. And the hen. And the cat. Oh, that’s all of them, isn’t it? No! I almost forgot my wife, Gillie. She’s lovely too. Most of the time. 😆
2) Which pet did you always want as a child?
A cheetah. They are such slinky, elegant and beautiful creatures. Unfortunately my parents said I couldn’t have one until I could run fast enough not to be eaten. (I made up that last bit.)
3) What part of Jackson’s personality do you think children will most relate to?
Finding it difficult to make friends AND getting told what to do by mum and dad. I know, that’s two things. I cheated. Grown ups are allowed to cheat, aren’t they???? Discuss!
4) Which of the cats in this story are your favourite?
Oh that’s a difficult one! I love all their names but I think it has to be Captain Whiskers. He is partly based on a ginger cat I had many years ago called – guess what! – Ginger. (I had inherited him from a friend who was going to live abroad and he came with that name. I mean the cat had the name, not my friend. He was called George. (The friend, not the cat.)
5) Why did you choose for Jackson to be given 100 cats, and not another animal?
I didn’t choose it at all. the idea came to me when I was half asleep – The boy with a hundred cats. I woke up quickly because I knew it was a good idea for a story and I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget. At first that was the title too but it got changed to Captain Whiskers later on. Plus, I like cats a lot. I think they are more difficult to write about than dogs. Cats are a lot more unpredictable and I decided 100 cats would be more fun and friendly than, for example 100 stick insects or 100 lizards or 100 ostriches, crocodiles, kangaroos, blue whales, giant condors, ants and so on. If you could choose a different animal what would YOU choose?
6) If you were a cat, what part of it would you enjoy most?
What part of what? Do you mean the whole story? I think the best bit for Captain Whiskers would be finding Jackson and being his cat. I think having a cat or any other pet is a two way thing. You give them love and affection and they give it back. (That’s pretty difficult for a goldfish though!)
7) How did you choose the name Captain Whiskers?
All the cats’ names just came to me in a rush. I hardly had to think about them. Writing that bit was such fun!
8) To date, what’s your favourite book you’ve written?
Well Captain Whiskers is pretty high on the list, and Mad Iris and The Genius Aged 8 and a quarter. Plus The 100mph Dog, the Famous Bottom stories and Krazy Kow Saves The World and Doctor Bonkers.
9) What’s the most enjoyable part of being a children’s author?
Getting paid for making up such daft stories and making you laugh! But seriously there is a huge rush of pleasure and satisfaction when you get a good idea for a story, you write it and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and then it becomes a book. Job done! You have created something that nobody else has. Creativity is a wonderfully satisfying thing, even when you’re struggling with it. That’s part of it – the struggle to get your story right.
10) How did you know you wanted to write stories?
I read loads when I was a child and always enjoyed making things up. When I was 9 I remember quite clearly standing in our local library looking at all the books and thinking: Wow! So many books! Wouldn’t it be great if I could write books and they might go into the shelves in the library and people might come along and borrow MY books and read them and laugh and be happy. Now I am doing just that. I am very, VERY lucky. Just like most jobs people do (including going to school!) I have good days, bad days, and lots of in-between kind of days, but I am doing something I can’t stop doing -all those stories start off inside me, a bit like sneeze! And the sneeze has to come out! That doesn’t mean I write pages full of snot! It’s a metaphor for being creative! In fact I can feel a big sneeze coming on right now – got to go and write! Byeee!
PS Thanks for all your super questions.