Interview with “Avalon” Author Vanessa Morgan
I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Avalon, an ebook/ memoir by author and screenwriter, Vanessa Morgan. The story begins in 2001, in Belgium, when the author happened upon a stray Turkish Van cat, apparently a stray. This would prove to be a life-changing experience, that would shape her personal and professional future.
From the beginning, Avalon causes nothing but trouble, clashing with the other cats in the household and earning a reputation among the neighbors as the “Al Capone of Brussels,” due to his ornery demeanor. When Vanessa moves out of her boyfriend’s apartment and it’s just her and Avalon, the cat’s mood improves somewhat, but the cat is still very possessive of her, greatly hampering her social life. She puts up with the cat, refusing to give him up, even when threatened with eviction. She knows they are kindred spirits. Avalon makes up for the mischief he causes by inspiring (and starring in) his mistress’s creative endeavors. The chapter where the author talks about her traumatic childhood is unexpected and emotionally jolting, but necessary. It justifies her strong attachment to the cat and weaves the rest of the story together. Avalon contains many hilarious anecdotes, as well as tear-jerking moments. It is a quick, easy read. I highly recommend it to all the cat lovers out there!
I got a chance to ask the author a few questions, as well… Here is my interview with Vanessa Morgan.
- How long ago did you write Avalon?
I started to write Avalon a few days after his passing in July 2013. I wasn’t ready to let Avalon go and the book was a way to keep him alive through my writing.
- You normally write thriller and suspense. Was it challenging for you to write a book that was not only nonfiction, but highly personal and sentimental?
The parts about Avalon were VERY easy to write. The personal parts on the other hand were pure horror. I knew I needed to talk about my insecurities, weaknesses, and failures in order for the book to work. I told things in these pages that I never told anyone before because I was too ashamed. Most people see me as the happy, confident girl who knows what she’s doing and where’s she’s going. However, this book shows the side that I tried so hard to hide all my life. It was extremely confrontational.
- How many different books and screenplays have you published that contain a cat character inspired by Avalon?
I wrote two screenplays in which Avalon had a major part. In the tragicomedy A Good Man, Avalon played a vampire cat that bites kitties instead of humans. In Next to Her, a serious drama, he’s a ghost cat that visits his mistress in the hospital. Next to Her will be filmed this summer and will be part of an anthology feature. Though Avalon is not amongst the living anymore, he will be very much present in the film. Apart from that, Avalon had a starring role in the horror movie The Strangers Outside, which was based on a short story of mine.
- Do you currently have any pets?
I didn’t want another cat after Avalon, but I forced myself to get one. Last year I decided to give a poor shelter cat a home for Christmas. No one was interested in him, probably because he was too old. His previous owners had left him on the street when they moved houses. Looking at the cat’s reactions, they also hit him. His name’s Romero and he sleeps all day long, hardly even moves an inch.
- What new projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently putting together a movie reference guide on animal attack movies, containing essays from several writers. The contributors are a mix between film historians, filmmakers, screenwriters, bloggers, horror fiction authors, film critics, film festival programmers, film distributors, and writers of movie reference books.
You can follow Vanessa’s blog, Traveling Cats, here: