What made you think up Warriors?
Kate and Cherith have always loved cats—and writing fantasy stories! Cherith is particularly interested in the stories of King Arthur, with all those glorious battles, knights, and a courtly code of behavior. You can see all these themes in Warriors.
Kate is fascinated by animal interaction, and the way you can read all sorts of hidden motivation into what cats do. She’s also not afraid of describing the goriest scenes!
They are both very interested in ancient forms of worship, such as astrology and stone circles, and use their knowledge to give depth and richness to the cats’ own mythology. They also believe whole-heartedly that cats are perfectly intelligent enough to come up with this sort of complex belief system!
Do you have any cats, and what are their names?
Cherith owns the real Brambleclaw and Sorreltail, who look and behave exactly as they do in the stories. Sorreltail is a real tearaway, and is always jumping onto the table in search of the butter dish.
Kate has Willow, Flower and Miu-Miu. All three cats love sleeping on Warriors manuscripts while Kate is working at her computer!
Victoria doesn’t have any cats right now—she has a dog! She is a gorgeous brindle (brown and gold striped) Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is a breed with an unnecessarily fearsome reputation. She’s a complete softie and loves looking after little children best of all. Victoria grew up with cats, however, because she lived on a farm. The most memorable were a brother and sister called Stripes and Tinkerbell. Tinky was a fluffy-haired tortoiseshell who used to sleep on her bed when her mum wasn’t looking!
Tui doesn’t have any cats—her dad was very allergic, so she grew up with dogs instead. (In order: Sasha, Sam, Sam, Katy, Redsy, Caledonia, and Cashew!) Right now she has a dog named Sunshine, who is a small white yorkie-poodle mix and absolutely perfect.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Read, read, and read some more! Make sure you read a wide variety of stories: fantasy stories teach you about making up completely new worlds, crime-solving stories teach you about handling a complicated plot, stories with lots of characters teach you how to describe relationships. Also, write as many stories as you can, even if no one else reads them. And remember that the best inspiration comes from what’s around you—Kate and Cherith go for long walks through the woods to find new locations for the cats to explore. They also spend hours watching their cats—and other people—to see ow they behave in certain situations.
Was it hard not to go overboard with the ThunderClan disasters?
You often need to exaggerate a bit for the sake of a good story! It may seem as if ThunderClan is the unluckiest Clan in the world sometimes, but if they had a happy, peaceful life with no enemies, the stories would be quite boring!
What writers do you like?
For children, Enid Blyton came up with some extraordinary magical worlds. The modern-day writer Lucy Daniels writes the best real-life animal stories ever, packed with facts about caring for pets. From books for grown-ups, Kate and Cherith love J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasies and the series by Ellis Peters about a monk called Brother Cadfael.
Victoria likes British and American crime authors, such as Tess Gerritsen, Kathy Reichs, Kate Ellis and Lisa Gardiner. She’s also a huge fan of Jacqueline Wilson and Meg Cabot, who write for children as if they’re speaking to someone their own age.
Who is your favorite character?
Kate, Cherith, Victoria and Tui love them all for different reasons—but to be honest, Firestar can be a bit too perfect! Graystripe is more lively to write about, and they also love describing Yellowfang because she says exactly what she thinks. Kate’s secret favorite is Ravenpaw because he always appears just in time to save the day—and, more seriously, he continues to be one of Firestar’s best friends even though he no longer lives in ThunderClan. In Warriors, there are two sorts of character that I like: the sort of cat I could imagine being friends with, like Sorreltail or Cinderpelt, and the sort of cat that it’s the most fun to think up stories for, like Brambleclaw and Mothwing. There’s so much more drama in complicated characters with dark secrets! Tui’s favorite character from the beginning of Warriors is Brackenfur, because he’s loyal and trustworthy and often more heroic than even the central hero cats (the scene where he tries to chase after poor Snowkit in A Dangerous Path gets her every time!). She also loves reading about Jayfeather, because he’s so unusual and troubled in his strange way. But her favorite character to write is probably Toklo in Seekers, because he’s so grumpy that it’s easy to make him funny—and she would never say the things he does, so it’s a lot of fun to get to say them through a grouchy character instead!
Which character in Seekers or Warriors are you most like, or who would you want to be?
Cherith would like to be Cinderpelt because she’d love to know as much as she does about StarClan and the Moonstone. For running through the forest, Kate would like to be Runningwind because he never gets tired! She’d also like to be Tigerstar, because she has always been more interested in villainous characters. Victoria would also love to be like Cinderpelt, because she was so brave about accepting her future and serving her Clan well. She also thinks it would be fun to be Jaypaw, with his special powers and his sense of mischief! Tui would love to be Feathertail, who’s kind and brave and open-minded and thoughtful; she likes the way she understands the other cats, even (especially!) prickly Crowpaw. But Tui thinks she’s probably more like Cinderpaw (the first one) when she was still an apprentice, or Lusa in the first couple of Seekers books… too enthusiastic, a bit clumsy, and very excited about everything!
With so many characters and books, how do you keep the story lines straight?
With very great difficulty! Which is why Rowanclaw started out as a she-cat, and has ended up being the tom who fathered Tawnypelt’s kits! Oops. Victoria keeps very detailed cast lists for each script, so Kate and Cherith know which cats will be featuring in the story, and she updates them before she begins the next story line—mostly putting a line through the cats that died, I’m afraid. She also relies on Kate and Cherith to say things like, “Hey, this cat was only born two moons ago, you can’t make her an elder already!” So part documents and part teamwork.