Monday, May 7, 2012

about Cats Have No Lord

Cats Have No Lord is my first novel. I had tried to write several more ambitious—meaning, more pretentious—books and gave up on them because they were awful, so I finally decided to learn how to write by writing something with everything I'd loved as a kid. If I missed any fantasy cliches of the '70s, I don't know what they were: this book has a spunky female thief, a mysterious swordsman, a magician, and a big barbarian. Oh, and a talking horse.

It sounds awful, but my love must've shown through, or maybe readers were more desperate or more kind in those days. Booklist said, "The first-rate world building, the unique cast of characters, and the author's clever whimsey make it absorbing reading. Recommended."

"Unique" must mean they thought I did good things with the characters, but every single one began with a trip through Central Casting to see who was available. Literally. I wrote the first draft of the first four chapters without a clue where I was going. I just thought, "I need a cool swordsman," and wrote a chapter. Then I thought, "He needs sidekicks," and wrote the big barbarian's chapter, then the magician's, and finally the love interest's. But something happened that I hadn't expected in what was originally the fourth chapter. I gave her a telepathic horse because she needed someone to talk to, and the two of them stole the show

So I began again with Lizelle and Darkwind as the stars, and made Catseye, Thraas, and Merry their sidekicks, and soon my first novel was done. I wrote an odd prequel to it a couple of years later. I really should write a proper sequel someday, because I still love those characters.

I've put the book back in print. The CreateSpace page, where I get the biggest share of the cover price, is here: Cats Have No Lord. It'll also show up sometime soon at Amazon and other "discerning booksellers."

The ebook's also available from discerning ebooksellers for $2.99: Cats Have No Lord

BARNES & NOBLE | Cats Have No Lord

Smashwords — Cats Have No Lord


  1. Oh, hurrah! I need a new copy of this. Excellent.

  2. Searching for where to buy _The Cats Have No Lord_, because my old copy fell apart, I arrived here....

    Mmm, I think you underrate this book. The characters are all better than one dimensional; Lizelle, Catseye, and Thraas strike me as three dimensional. More importantly, to my mind, the novel is morally complex. For example, there is plenty of sex, as was expected in 70s fantasy novels, but the novel portrays exploitative sex in a non-reductive fashion -- that was very unusual in the 70s (let alone today), when sex was either Free Love And All Good, or Evil Men Exploiting Powerless Women -- and sex actually drives the plot line, instead of being included gratuitously.

    Maybe I'm wrong, Will, but I think of you primarily as a moral writer, someone who reflects on the consequences of human decisions, and explores the way human beings have to live with the consequences of their decision -- as well as someone who reflects on injustice and how creating justice is never simple. To me, _The Cats Have No Lord_ looks like both and adventure story and a moral novel. No wonder Booklist recommended it.

  3. Well, it's been a while since you posted this! I read Cats have no Lord many many years ago when I was much younger, and it's always stayed with me. I don't recall much about it, and I'm inspired to read it again. I remember it as a more difficult read as a kid, so following Dan's comments. It will be interesting to read it again.