Monday, July 14, 2014

A Cat’s Tale

A guest post by Betty Hechtman.

People often wonder where I get the idea for characters. Well, when it comes to the animals in my books, they are all based on real life ones.

The black cat on the cover of Silence of the Lamb's Wool is based on a cat who lives
down the street, but considers the whole street his domain. Including my yard. Almost my house. The first time I met him, he was on our front porch preparing to come on inside. If he’d been a stray I would have invited him in and let him join the family, but he was wearing a name tag which proclaimed that his name was Julius.

When I decided I was going to put a cat in Yarn to Go, I knew I was going to base it on Julius. I even kept his name since it seemed to have so much personality. He’s a sleek black cat with arresting yellow eyes. He has so much presence it doesn’t seem to matter that he is on the small side. Whenever I encounter him on the street, he saunters past with frequent stops to give me the once over with those eyes.

The fictional version of Julius is a little different. In the books, he’s a stray who chooses Casey Feldstein as his human. He also seems to take pleasure in annoying the manager of Vista Del Mar, the hotel and conference center where Casey puts on the Yarn Retreats by wandering around the grounds.

Casey has never had a cat and it’s all a new experience for her. In Silence of the Lamb's Wool, Julius is doing his best to train Casey in how to live with a cat. Actually she’s a little worried about having a pet since she has a reputation of not sticking with people or jobs. But Julius makes his way into her heart and she realizes that no matter where she goes, he’s going to come with her.

I’m pretty sure the real Julius runs the show at his house, too. He lives with a corgi named Pepper. They are Queen Elizabeth’s favorite kind of dog and have bulky bodies and little short legs. Every now and then I see the man down the street walking the corgi on a leash. And there scampering along behind them is Julius, free to make side trips in everybody’s yard. It’s my favorite image of him and I hope to be able to work that scene into a future book.


Silence of the Lamb's Wool is the second book in the national bestselling Yarn Retreat series that features dessert chef Casey Feldstein who puts on yarn retreats at a slightly sinister hotel and conference center on California’s Monterey peninsula. Betty Hechtman also writes the national bestselling Crochet Mystery series. All books in both series include patterns and recipes. She says it is like a dream come true to be able mix her love of mystery with her love of making things. She grew up in Chicago and has a degree in Fine Art. In addition she has studied everything from improv comedy to magic. She has written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and scripts. She lives in Southern California and Chicago and has yarn stashes in both cities.


Berkley Prime Crime has generously offered a copy of Silence of the Lamb's Wool  to one of my readers. Please comment below before midnight on July 28, 2014. Entries from the US only, please.

Please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win.


  1. Love cats, love cozies, love yarn - a match made in heaven!


  2. So many of my favorite things in one book. Interesting that this knitting book mystery comes as I'm trying to teach my oldest granddaughter to knit, though she's really not old enough yet. She loves the things Grammy has made for her. But she is our super sou chef and she loves to read, all most as much as I do. Love the idea of the knitting book , I've really enjoyed the crochet series so I have high hopes for this one!!! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

  3. Thanks for letting me guest post, Marilyn!

  4. Julius sounds like a delight! I do enjoy your writing, Betty!