Sunday 31 May 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post - B: The Tale of the Halloween Cat by D.L. Luke

B: The Tale of the Halloween Cat
Author: D.L. Luke
Genre: Children’s Adventure Book
Length: 160 pages
Release Date: May 30, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1511565318

Book Description:
The night before Halloween in Hoboken, New Jersey, the Willow Witch summons Bernard, nicknamed B, and eight other strays to enter in the Black Cat Contest. Each contestant must find three ingredients for her witch’s brew. When the trials are complete, aye on Halloween night, the winner will become her familiar and gain a home. Although he lives with Victor, a grim, gaunt, and ungainly-looking crow that roosts on the eaves of an abandoned coffee factory, B has been homeless since Mrs. Blue, his human recently passed away.

Finding the three ingredients is the least of B’s problems. If there isn’t a car, truck, bus, or taxi cab to run him over than the Feral Cat Crusaders are there to lock him away in the animal shelter.

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The story idea for B: The Tale of the Halloween Cat

The story idea of the children’s book B: The Tale of the Halloween Cat requires an explanation where my inspiration came from and why the events take place in Hoboken, New Jersey. The main character based on a real cat named Bernard was my muse.

In 1990, a young black male trespassed into my garden, the roses were out in their glory, behind a brownstone apartment building where I lived on Willow Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Streets. Bernard sauntered up the path with a graceful swagger in his stride.

My pets Penny, a long-haired black and white Maine Coon, and Saint, a Calico, were both sunning themselves on the concrete patio when Bernard stopped by to say hello.  At the time, I was attending The New School, in Manhattan, completing a Bachelors’ degree in Fiction Writing and American Literature. I looked out the window and watched the reaction of the two females that were both hot-headed and temperamental.

Within seconds, B’s charm and sophistication won the trust and friendships of both felines, forever. There was no exchange of menacing looks, snarls, hisses, arched backs or any other form of nastiness when a bold and bodacious feline dares enter into another’s territory. On the contrary, Bernard was invited into their hearts and into their home. 

I naturally assumed this beautiful creature had to belong to someone; but I soon discovered he was a stray.  He used to beg for food from my neighbors, climbing fire escapes, jumping over six foot fences. When I couldn’t stand to watch his stray cat antics any longer, I decided to adopt him.  The rest is history.

Black cats like pagan witches and pumpkins have been connected to Halloween for centuries. The moment I met Bernard, I thought of him as the Halloween cat, prince of all cats.  It wasn’t such a stretch of the imagination to picture him as the main character in a Halloween tale when the backdrop was already there.  Before Hoboken underwent a major transformation and became the Hudson River jewel that it is today, landmark buildings like the Maxwell Coffee Factory existed. The Erie-Lackawanna Train Station had been in want of renovation; yet both landmarks were perfect locations for crows, rats, and stray cats that had no place else to live.  What reality was in want, fantasy filled in the blanks; yet not until I graduated, gained experience as a short story writer and a newspaper reporter did I sit down and write his story that took twelve years to finish.

An avid reader since the age of nine, I read books from many writers that were great teachers and they include Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Edith Wharton, Lewis Carroll, E. B. White, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Dickens.  Later as an adult, I was not only influenced by Carl Jung and his idea of the archetypes, but I also studied The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim.

I wanted to create a story that would take the hero through many magical adventures much like in a fairytale where he or she comes out knowing more about themselves than when they first started.

“Fairy tales, unlike any other form of literature, direct the child to discover his identity and calling, and they also suggest what experiences are needed to develop his character further,” Bettelheim wrote.  “Fairy tales intimate that a rewarding, good life is within one’s reach despite adversity – but only if one does not shy away from the hazardous struggles without which one can never achieve true identity.”

About the Author
From the first generation inspired by the heroes in the movie Star Wars, D. L. Luke, also known as Diana Denner was born in New York City, in 1965. A published short-story writer, painter, and former printer, Denner earned a free education and graduated in 1993 from The New School in New York City with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Fiction Writing and American Literature. She received the Margarita G. Smith award for a short story in 1993 and in 1994 she won the Pen & Brush award for a first draft children’s book. At the time she attended school, Denner had lived in Hoboken New Jersey (from 1987 until 1994) when B, the main character of the book, a stray black cat, appeared in her backyard. She adopted and loved Bernard for the rest of his life.

A recipient of the New York Press Association third place award for a feature article in 2005, Denner pursued a career in journalism, writing for newspapers in the capitol district and Finger Lakes region and is editor for website New York State Watch. When Denner is not hiking, reading, writing, enjoying the great outdoors, she takes care of her dog, Jesse, and her cat, Johnny, in their home in Troy.

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