Some of my most creative thoughts happen when on a dog walk, as do my best conversations with my dog-walking buddy. So I thought I’d invite some of my author friends along to join me and my Ruby and see if I can find out a little more about them and the book they’ve just released.
Carla Eatherington is my guest today. She wrote her first full-length novel, called Utopia, whilst working in Malaysia during the second year of her PhD. Utopia represents the culmination of two of her biggest passions, YA fiction and psychology! Carla also writes scientifically-based non-fiction and has recently published a short book called Feline Cognition which summaries the evidence for cat intelligence and provides suggestions of how to test this at home with your cat. Outside of writing, Carla is passionate about travel and will soon move to Italy, but currently lives on a boat in the beautiful English countryside.
Hi Carla, you’re not from too far north of me so I hope you’ve had a good journey and are ready for a hike across the fields of sunny Cambridgeshire?
I’ve got my wellies and my raincoat on – it is summer after all 😉 (Good decision, Carla, it turns out is it piddling down today… Ed)
Now that you’ve got my undivided attention Carla, you have written two very different books and this is your chance to tell me about one, or both, of them and convince us all to buy them and then move them up our to-be-read list?
Thanks Georgia! I’d never make a saleswoman, unless a long unfiltered stream of consciousness is what sells books, but here goes. I might have to whisper so Ruby doesn’t hear though because today we’re going to talk about C.A.T intelligence.
Like you said, it was certainly very different from my first book which was a dystopian YA novel. Feline Cognition is a short non-fiction book which brings together all of the scientific evidence for feline intelligence in its various forms, and puts it into simple language.
I can’t remember really planning to write this book, I just took a week holiday off work and it sort of came out. I was brought up around cats and owned several myself (of varying degrees of intelligence!). I had also applied for a job investigating canine cognition and brushed up by reading a few books on ‘dognition’, but was surprised to find that the same didn’t exist for cats? So I wrote one…
(I MUST ADD IN HERE THAT BOTH OF THESE BOOKS ARE FREE TO DOWNLOAD, SO TAKE EVERY ADVANTAGE AND CLICK ON THOSE LINKS 😀 Ed)
Are you planning any other non-fiction work? I know Ruby would be very interested to hear if there is a similar book testing the intelligence of dogs in the pipeline.
Ha ha ha, well like I said there are a few books out there already on canine cognition, but the difference with my book is that it provides simple ‘games’ to try out what you’ve just read on your own cat. Incidentally, I should point out that all of the tests would work on dogs too, and Ruby will be pleased to know that dogs reliably out-perform cats on anything that requires social skills. I often think of cats as autistic children, completely absorbed in self.
I found the theory Utopia was based on to be fascinating. I know you are doing a PhD in Psychology so are we going to be treated to further works of a similar type in the future?
Oh, I really do hope so because this is the stuff I like to read too. If a book doesn’t have sound theoretical grounding then I lose interest very quickly. That said, I’d also like to write a book that incorporated my love of travel, probably around South East Asia or somewhere like that. Or, maybe I could set one in Italy because I’m moving there in a couple of weeks *excited*.
Which part of the writing process do you find the most satisfying? Getting that first draft completed, editing or finally getting to hold your published book in your hand?
The first draft doesn’t mean too much to me because my writing is so incoherent that I’ve still got loads of work left to do on it. Strangely, I quite like entering my manuscript into the Createspace website and checking that all of the formatting is good. But I guess nothing really compares to holding your paperback for the first time and seeing the printed cover!
A few quick fire ones.
India or Iceland?
Oh, that’s a tricky one! It’s hard to imagine two places that are more different from each other, but both have massive appeal. It’s definitely on my bucket list to see the northern lights for myself. Beautiful, powerful, destructive – I wonder if that’s how my ex thinks of me? But I’d also love to experience the hustle and bustle of an Indian market, to smell the spices and see all the colours! However, never is the difference between the two countries more obvious than the price. So if you’re paying, we’ll visit Iceland, but if I’m paying, India here I come!
Red or white?
I’m assuming we’re walking wine, in which case neither. Is there any cider on offer? Okay, Okay, colour. I have to say red, like my hair at the moment – but that could have changed by the end of the week. It changes very often.
Which superpower would you like to have? And Why?
I’m not sure that it’s a superpower, but I’ve always thought that being able to slow or stop time would be great. The sad thing is that when I think this, it’s rarely when I’m doing something fun, instead it’s because I’d like more time to revise for an exam or something equally nerdy 🙂
What piece of advice would you like to give your 16-year-old self – if you were given the opportunity to use a time machine!?
I think I’d go back and tell myself that it gets better! And not to waste my time trying to be popular, it won’t get you extra UCAS points and it sure as hell won’t make you interesting.
I believe that perfect days are unplanned, BUT if you were to plan your perfect day what would it look like?
It kinda worries me that I don’t know the answer to this. No wonder I’m hard to please. Hmmm, I think I’d be in an airport waiting to board an international flight. I love travelling and therefore I associate airports with good things happening. Also, who doesn’t like reading and watching films whilst people bring them food at regular intervals?
Thanks for joining me Carla and I wish you every success for the continued sales of Utopia and Feline Cognition – I loved reading both of them and you can see what I thought of them on the links below! 😀
DON’T FORGET – BOTH OF THESE BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE FREE FROM AMAZON!!
You can find Carla here