Cats with super powers!
12th Apr 19

Cats with super powers!

These cats have claws you wouldn't want to argue with, and they can outrun the fastest dogs - but will their super powers be enough to save them from an evil kidnapper? Look out for SUPER CATS by GWYNETH REES!

SUPER CATS is a new adventure-packed series that follows a family of fabulous cats with super skills!

In the first story, Tagg discovers that he is no ordinary kitty; like his mum and dad, he has a super power! Only, he's not quite sure yet what his super power is, or how it will help him uncover who is kidnapping the other super cats...

Author GWYNETH REES and illustrator BECCA MOOR tell us more!

Q: It could have so easily been Super Dogs - how did the felines win you over?

Gwyneth: Felines have always won me over! I do like dogs - in fact we had one for the first four years of my life - but ever since I got my first cat when I was seven, I have been a fervent cat-lover!

And there's just something about the fact that cats go out and about all day, doing stuff you know nothing about, that gives them the edge when it comes to leading mysterious superhero lives.

Q: How did you come up with their super skills?

Gwyneth: Some of the super skills were straightforward - super strength and super speed for example - but I wanted a few that would only work for a cat super hero, not for a human. That's where the super-lick and the super-claws came in!

Q: Although you don't ignore cats' 'lesser' habits, either - eating mice, playing with their food...licking... You still like cats?

Gwyneth: For this book, I wanted to stick with the point of view of the cats, and that meant I had to stop myself feeling sorry for the mice and baby birds etc.

I honestly don't think cats can stop themselves behaving as they've been programmed to behave when it comes to their 'lesser habits' so although I always rush to save any poor little creature my real cats manage to bring in through the cat flap, I don't hold it against them as they always look extremely proud of themselves and are clearly perplexed that I don't feel the same way!

Q: Why aren't there any humans in this story?

Gwyneth: I wanted to create the sort of world I remember from the Tom and Jerry cartoons, where the humans were just legs and voices, and the action was always focussed at ground level with the animals.

In this story, I didn't want the humans becoming main characters so I decided to almost ignore them completely. That way I could just focus on the cats.

Q: What have you got planned next for Tagg and Sugarfoot?

Gwyneth: Well I don't want to give too much away, but there are two more books in the pipeline and in the next one they're facing a different sort of dastardly villain, plus they have to learn how to hone their secret agent skills...

Q: If you could have a cat super power, what would it be?

Gwyneth: If I could have a superpower... well I've always fancied being able to teleport myself around. It would make life so much easier and there'd be no getting stuck in traffic jams etc.

Q: Where and when is your favourite writing place?

Gwyneth: I'm currently finishing off my next Super Cats book. My favourite writing place is where I'm sitting right now - at my desk in my front room, which I've recently converted into a very comfy office with a real fire.

My cats, Meryl and Hamish, are curled up on the chair by the fire, keeping me company! What more could a human ask for?

Q: Becca, what appealed to you about illustrating a story about super hero cats?

Becca: The characters are just so much fun! There's a great sense of adventure about the story, and I really love Tagg's determination and how he embraces challenges in order to try and fulfil his superhero destiny! There's also a lot of humour and detailed action scenes - all great material for an illustrator!

Q: How did you plan how each character would look?

Becca: I was given a list of characters and descriptions to work from initially. I obviously made sure they all looked as they were described in the story first and foremost, but then I also wanted to make sure that they each were engaging and memorable separate from the text, too.

For example, I wanted Nemesissy to really reflect her personality, so I gave her quite exaggerated arched eyebrows so she'd look more sinister and menacing, and a lovely fur stole because she's a little bit fancy pants.

Q: Do you have a favourite from the characters in the book? And a favourite super power?

Becca: Tough question! I'm a big fan of Uncle Bill. He's a little past his prime, not great with the ol' personal hygiene, but he's a likeable character and has a pretty cool fish bone hat.

My FAVOURITE character however, is Sugarfoot. She's feisty, fun, not afraid to get in on the action.. and she also reminds me very much of my little black cat, Daisy, who has similar personality traits!

As for super power, I think Tagg's ability is pretty awesome. You could get away with practically anything!

Q: Where do you work and what are you working on at the moment?

Becca: I work in a shared studio in Manchester in an old but very beautiful building. I can sometimes also be found working from the dining room table surrounded by my cats and their neighbourhood companions. I'm a pro at picking cat fur out of my coffee and breaking up petty squabbles.

Currently, I am working on a number of young fiction books, including The Famous Five colour short stories by Enid Blyton which is a bit of a dream project! I am also just starting work on a new picture book that's filled to the brim with humour, so I'm pretty busy, but having great fun.

Q: What is your favourite escape from the studio?

Becca: During a work day I like to go out for a walk around the local park at lunch to get some fresh air/reboot ready for the afternoon.

Hitting a coffee shop for fuel is also high priority, as well as seeing friends or hanging out with my partner playing board games, cooking and watching films.

When the weather is nice, getting out into the garden and spending time with my own league of super cats is great fun!

ReadingZone says: Thank you for helping with our questions!

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