From Cat-lit to Chick-lit by Faith Bleasdale

For the last few years I have been lucky enough to write cat fiction as Rachel Wells. It’s a series, for adults, about Alfie, a doorstep cat – the first book is named just that – and I love writing it, being a huge cat fan. Bringing Alfie to life has been something that was at first a huge challenge but now it’s like he is part of my family. Perhaps I am officially the crazy cat lady. But I haven’t always written cat fiction, and now I have gone from chick-lit to cat-lit and back to chick-lit!


My first foray into writing, under my own name, Faith, was female fiction and I published many books a while ago in the chick-lit vein. However, after a bumpy divorce I felt a little bit jaded with romance and struggled to keep any romantic hopes alive both in real life and in my fiction. I worried my books would just be full of broken hearts, and despair, depressing my readers and perhaps myself at the same time, so I put that to one side and Alfie and Rachel Wells began their journey together, a journey they are still continuing and very much enjoying!


However, last year I decided that as well as Alfie, I wanted to return to women’s fiction, and I felt ready to do just that. In January I published A Year at Meadowbrook Manor, the first in the Meadowbrook series. It’s about a family, siblings who have to live together after their father passes away. The themes explore, grief, family, friendship, self-realisation and of course love. Love and relationships between my characters were important and of course there has to be a love story. I won’t go into detail, in case you haven’t read it yet. However it was a joy to write, as was the second book, Secrets at Meadowbrook Manor, which is out this August.

It has been a wonderful way for me to return to writing this genre and as my characters fell in love, so did I, with writing about romance once again.

It might seem a strange jump from cat lit to chick lit but actually, it makes perfect sense in my head. All my books have love at their core, not always romantic love, but life always comes back to that. Interestingly, it isn’t as different as I first thought it was. In my Alfie books, love, including romantic crept in, despite my initial idea that it wouldn’t. Love between cats, between cat owners, relationships formed, friendships cemented and people brought together by a very clever cat. After all love is what makes the world go round. As well as cats, they make the world go round too of course.


And in turn, returning to female fiction, animals managed to sneak their way my new books in quite a big way. Central to Meadowbrook is an animal sanctuary where the animals are huge characters in their own right. It’s important to the place and to the story and to the characters. I believe animals can teach us a lot about unconditional love, and, I’ll just put my hands up, I am an animal lover. Of course, there may be a cat or two in Meadowbrook as well.


What is lovely is that the Meadowbrook series has meant that I have fallen in love again. Gone is the jaded post-divorce woman wanting to swap romance for cats. Don’t get me wrong, I am still single but I have fallen in love with writing about romance again, and I plan to continue to do so.


By Faith Bleasdale

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