March 19, 2018 by Renee
I don’t often talk about where my stories come from. Maybe it’s because I don’t really know most of the time. They just “are.” However, that’s not true of some of the books scheduled for publication in the near future. Today, I want to share the inspiration behind CATS LIKE CREAM, which will be published by Unnerving Magazine April 10th. PS: You can pre-order it now. Go on. I’ll wait.
So, a few years ago, our friend and realtor, Dave, sent me a message on Facebook. He had a book idea he thought I’d find amusing. The pitch: A realtor who spies on his clients by installing cameras into the houses he’s selling. Becomes obsessed. Hilarity and weirdness ensues.
Now, he sold us our home, and that kind of made me look at him sideways, so I thought, yeah, that’d be creepy. And then I made sure there weren’t any cameras in our house. I’m still undecided on that one.
Originally, he envisioned it as a dark comedy. So did I, and I outlined a little something, promising myself that I’d write it as soon as I got that “feeling” I get when I’m ready to tackle a particular project.
Then it sat in a file for about two years. I completely forgot about it, actually, until Dave passed away suddenly. This man was a vibrant, funny and unique personality. The kind of person you could meet once and never forget. Special, is a word I’d use to describe him. He also had some pretty cool ideas. (this wasn’t the first pitch he tossed my way, but so far, it’s the only one I’ve done something with) I’m not sure why he never tried writing them down himself. Yes, I did encourage him to do so. I think the idea of sitting anywhere long enough to do that wasn’t something he was capable of doing.
Anyway, when I heard of his sudden and tragic death, I immediately thought of the conversations we had about this idea. Why didn’t I write that story? I mean, the outline I came up with was quite funny. So, I dug it out. And I tried to write it, but something didn’t quite feel right.
I put it away for a few days, and then went back to it again. I realized the comedy angle was the problem. This story wasn’t meant to be funny. It was meant to be disturbing. The funny could be there, but it shouldn’t be the focus.
And I tossed the outline and started with the premise: realtor spies on his clients… and then what?
I was overthinking it, as I tend to do, so I decided outlining was a bad idea and I just started writing. The first line I wrote, for reasons I don’t know, was “Cats like cream and little boys dream.” And the story unfolded from there. I added a gross fetish (which is a nod to a teacher I had in high school who had a similar quirk) and Elwin was born.
So, the idea of realtor watching his clients is perfect, but we all know watching is never enough.
I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. While it’s not a comedy, it’s pretty dark and weird, so I think Dave would approve.