The Last Free Cat has been selected for the 2013 IRA Young Adults’ Choices reading list, the first Albert Whitman title to be accorded this honour. The IRA (International Reading Association, not Irish Republican Army, btw) is the world’s leading organisation of literacy professionals, and its young adults’ reading list is limited to about 30 titles per year. To quote the IRA website, “since 1987, the Young Adults’ Choices project has developed an annual list of new books that will encourage adolescents to read. The books are selected by the readers themselves, so they are bound to be popular with middle and secondary school students. The reading list is a trusted source of book recommendations, used by adolescents, their parents, teachers, and librarians.”
Respected US publishers Albert Whitman will be bringing out a US edition of The Last Free Cat this autumn (or fall, if you’re reading this over there). They’re very excited about the potential of the book in the States.
Meanwhile the novel has been published as an e-book by Hachette, the original publishers: nice review of this on Amazon.
The Korean edition is making slow progress, but the publishers there have huge regard for the book and its potential impact in South Korea. Hopefully there will be news of a publication date shortly.
Some people have noticed that The Last Free Cat, besides being a politically-charged thriller increasingly in keeping with the age, is also a romance: check out this considerable honour.
And film-makers please note this further compliment.
The support of enthusiastic fans of the book is invaluable. Reviews, comments on forums etc can really make a difference.
Jon Blake writes:
I’m grateful to a reader for pointing out that the scene in which Feela comes into season may give the wrong impression.
Because of what Jade has heard about ferrets, she is afraid that Feela might die if she doesn’t mate. No-one confirms this, but Amelie suggests it may not do Feela any good is she doesn’t find a tom.
Amelie, however, is not an expert, so I do want to make it clear that female cats are in no danger if they fail to mate when in season. They can, however, run into health problems through continually mating, as I know all too well. The real-life model for Feela became infected when pregnant for the second time while still weak from her first kittens. Her life was only saved by having a hysterectomy (womb removal).
Hope that clears things up.
Jon Blake writes:
I’m just recovering from a nasty dose of swine flu. Unlike the cat flu in ‘The Last Free Cat’, it hasn’t led to hugely expensive pigs, nor have I found an unlicensed one in my garden. But the pandemic has shown how the events in The Last Free Cat really are feasible.
While convalescing I’ve been delighted to find an enthusiastic new customer review on Amazon.
I’m currently at work on an adult novel about the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival of Music (the one starring Dylan). My dad was the electrical contractor for it and I was there at 14. There is a website about it (suitable for teens and adults) here.