The main reason I created this blog at the beginning of 2017 was to have a place to document my journey to become a novelist as I moved towards publication of my novel, Panic Cat. As frequent readers of the blog may have noticed, there have not been very many posts specifically on my novel. That is because I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to go in, publication-wise.
So now that I am for sure pursuing the self-publishing direction, this blog will be a place where I will be putting content related to my novel and the release process. I’m going to start out today by telling you about it. You can see my first post about it, a tiny back cover blurb, by clicking here.
Panic Cat is obviously hugely a work of fiction, as you may be able to deduce from that blurb. The main fantastical element is that while Cayla Catherine “Cat” Leeds, the main protagonist in the book, has suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for years, when she is 24 and experiences a significant loss in her life, for the first time she has a vision that accompanies her panic attack.
However, while it is a fantasy novel, Panic Cat is also an incredibly realistic emerging adult coming-of-age story, and one of the most personal works I have ever written, with a strong focus on mental health. One of my largest attempts with writing and publishing Panic Cat is to help erase the stigma around mental health issues.
Cat’s first panic attack, detailed in my book’s first chapter, triggered by a major trauma in her life when she was eighteen years old. The book then skips ahead and finds her at 23. Now, Cat is a mother, student, and works as an assistant director at a preschool. She is not defined by her anxiety, though she sees it as both a reality and a major weakness and a major weakness in her life. However, throughout the book and especially the series, her anxiety and panic attacks are reframed as a learning experience and something she can channel into a strength.
Most of the book is set in Israel and Palestine. A little over two years ago, I traveled to this region as part of my cross-cultural requirement for my Masters of Divinity degree. Like myself, Cat is a Divinity student traveling to Israel. Unlike myself, Cat has a vision of a powerful politician being murdered in Israel, reveals that vision to a police officer friend, and becomes embroiled in an international investigation: and her greater true calling as someone with greater power, and a greater job in the grander scheme of the universe, than she could ever possibly imagine.
Other than Cat, there are several other very significant characters to this narrative, all whom you’ll get to meet in future posts. These include David, a classmate of Cat, who traveled to Israel with her and her class; Elias, Cat’s husband; Marlowe, Cat’s daughter; Emily, Noag, and Cole, police officers working the case alongside Cat, and Nadia, Noah’s fiance.
The novel is first in a four-book series. While I have not written the other three books, I do have an idea of where the general arc is going to take me, though a character or two always ends up surprising me during the writing process.
Panic Cat was a joy for me to write, and I hope it is equally wonderful an experience for its readers once I release it out into the world (though obviously no book will be everyone’s cup of tea).
Much more will come about my novel in future posts. I look forward to continuing pursuing the self-publishing process, and I look forward to you all journeying along with me!