About Reader Mail:

On this page, Rupert, Isabella and I attempt to answer some of the more frequently asked questions from our reader mail.

If you have a question or comment for one or all of us, please send an email to rhale.

Or, if you prefer, you can send us regular postal mail at:

Green Vase Publishing
P.O. Box 4156
Grand Junction, CO

click a book cover below to return to its main page

How to Wash a Cat

Nine Lives Last Forever

From Beth in Long Island:

What do you call Rupert and Isabella’s coloring?

I too have a shelter-rescued cat who is mainly white, but burnished around the edges with beautiful bronze highlights, including subtle stone-washed tiger stripes running along his tail. Basically, he looks like a toasted marshmallow. Roy G. Biv -- or Roy for short -- also exhibits behavior that reminds me of both Rupert and Isabella. He is indolent (Rupert), and talks in chirps or worried burbles (Isabella). He is a social cat, and enjoys lingering in the periphery of any human conversation that takes place in our home, paying sage attention and often purring his approval. He does not object to ornamentation (though we have no cat jewelry per se). He likes to wait and eat dinner when we do; his under-the-table crunches usually provide a catly counterpoint to our topside noises of scraping utensils.

At one point I thought Roy might be a flame-point Siamese, but I think he’s really just a cat-mutt, the outcome of a casual dalliance between an Asian beauty and a roughhewn orange tiger hobo-type. I like to think their romance took place amid the nets and lobster traps down at the Freeport docks, here on Long Island.

If you have any idea what the color scheme of our cats is officially called, please post it on your site.

Rebecca M. Hale responds:

Hi Beth, thanks so much for your email! I've been told by vets that Rupert and Isabella are flame-point Siamese. However, an Amazon reviewer pointed out that they may be Turkish Vans. Who knows? I prefer the romance on the docks scenario you describe.

Rupert being indolent

Rupert the Cat

From Amphibi-curious:

I've seen the promos for the new book in the Cats and Curios series Nine Lives Last Forever, and I just have to ask - What's with the frogs???

Rebecca M. Hale responds:

Ah, yes, the frogs! The second book in the Cats & Curious series picks up some of San Francisco's Mark Twain history. Twain spent part of his early writing career in the city working a daily newspaper beat. During that time, a Twain short story entitled "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" achieved nationwide success. That milestone is commemorated in Redwood Park's Frog Fountain in downtown San Francisco, the site of several scenes in Nine Lives Last Forever.

The Frog Fountain in Redwood Park,
a San Francisco tribute to Mark Twain

Frog Fountain

Update from Rebecca M. Hale:

In addition to How to Wash a Cat's weekly success on the bestseller lists, we also made the New York Times list for top mysteries of the year in terms of readership through April 9, 2010. The NYT link to the article doesn't show the original pinted table, but Kingdom Books in Waterford, VT posted the short list, and we're #7! Thanks again to our readers and the bookselling community for all of their support!

How to Wash a Cat on the shelf at Bookshop Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA on April 17, 2010

How to Wash a Cat

From CatReader109:

Congratulations on making the New York Times Bestseller List! How exciting! I hope you and the cats took a little time out to celebrate.

Rebecca M. Hale responds:

Many thanks to you and all of our readers for helping us make "The List". We couldn't have done it without you!

We're on a pretty tight deadline for finishing up the third book in the Cats and Curious series, but I confess we have really enjoyed staring at the somewhat anomalous How to Wash a Cat entry in the book section of the New York Times. Here are the internet links in case you'd like to check it out yourself: we came in at #19 for the week ending January 16, 2010 and moved up to #16 for the week ending January 23, 2010.

As for celebrations... Well, as you can imagine, Rupert is a pretty serious taskmaster when it comes to our writing schedule:

Rupert manning the dictionary

Rupert on the Dictionary

But—even he let his hair down a bit:

Rupert partying on the dictionary

Rupert and the Dictionary

And Isabella appreciated the beautiful tulips we received from our publisher:

Isabella enjoying the tulips

Isabella and tulips

But now it's time to get back to work. Thanks again to everyone for all of your encouragement and support!


From Rebecca M. Hale:

For a writer, there is no greater joy than seeing your book on the shelf in a bookstore. I took these pictures to show to Rupert and Isabella, who, sadly, are not allowed inside of Barnes & Noble.

How to Wash a Cat on the shelfHow to Wash a Cat on the shelf wide viewTop of Kiosk


From Anonymous Reader:

I've just read the new paperback version of How to Wash a Cat. I'm curious as to why the narrator remains anonymous and, well, faceless, throughout much of the book.

Rebecca M. Hale responds:

Headless AuthorHmm, there's a theme here... (see author photo)

No, seriously. I intentionally omitted some aspects of the narrator's physical description in order to encourage the reader to step into her shoes and see the story through her eyes. In many ways, the narrator's own facelessness mirrors that of the main antagonist and reflects her ongoing struggle to understand who her Uncle Oscar really was — behind his familiar outer shell.


From Rupert and Isabella to all of their readers:

Happy Holidays!

Isabella with Santa Hat

Rupert and Santa Hat

From SF Reader:

I hear it's been cold out there in Colorado this winter. How are those California cats holding up?

Rebecca M. Hale responds:

We had a stretch in December where the temperature hovered at or below zero for several days. It was brutally cold. But there's no need to worry about Rupert and Isabella. The "heater huggers" are toasty and warm. I don't think Rupert even knows it's winter.

Rupert the Heater Hugger

From Isabella's#1Fan:

Why are there so few pictures of Isabella on the web site? Doesn't she deserve equal billing with Rupert? Why does he get all of the attention?

Rupert on the Couch
A hard day at the office: Rupert on the couch

Rebecca M. Hale responds:

I would love to have more web site pictures of Isabella. Trust me, it's an issue she and I have discussed at length. The truth is, Isabella does not like to have her picture taken. She would rather be the one behind the camera, taking the picture. The same thing happens whenever we go somewhere in the car; Isabella wants to be behind the wheel, not in the back seat secured in her carrier. Below is a transcript from the recent Nine Lives "frog" photo session:

Me: Isabella, please, just sit here next to the rubber frog, just for a second so I can take your picture for the web site. Please, please, please. I promise, it'll only take a second.

Isabella stares at me suspiciously. Then, she gives me a look that clearly says, "Why don't YOU sit next to the rubber frog and I'll take YOUR picture?"

Isabella and frog

Me: Because no one is interested in my picture. My picture won't sell any books. Here, just sit right here, for just a second and I'll...

Isabella: Hhhhhhiiiiiiiisssssss!!!

Rupert hops up in front of the camera. "Did someone say picture?"

Rupert and Isabella