The Taming of the Cat

Brie the mouse is a storyteller, caught in the paws of Gorgonzola the murderous cheese shop cat. If Brie can amuse her, she might not eat him… yet. But as he weaves his magical tale of a fierce princess, and an enchanted hill, with a dragon and a giant cat; he gradually realises the truth. He can trust Gorgonzola more than the community of mice that he lives with. But can anyone really tame a cat?

I wrote The Taming of the Cat because I wanted to fashion a modern fairy tale with unusual alliances, and themes of bullying and prejudice. There’s a fierce princess with no intention of marrying anyone at all – and she doesn’t. There are foxes who aren’t what they seem. There’s a magpie, and a magic pudding, and an acorn or two. There’s a mouse trapped between the claws of a cat, who spins this tale using pictures on the cheese labels he sees around him in the shop; while all the while he questions the nature of enmity and friendship. There are constant twists and turns in the tale that are unexpected – because that’s how Brie keeps his audience from being distracted. That, and a lot of cats. Lots of cats and a heavenly feast and a magical herb that smells like catnip… but better.

A great deal of cheese was sacrificed during the making of this book. The Taming of the Cat begins in a cheese shop. The real cheese names and the beautiful pictures on cheese labels, both old and new, inspired Brie the mouse’s own story, and the story he tells within it. I made up the art on the labels, but they are in a similar style to those I looked at. Any super cheese fans out there will know there are so many more wonderful cheeses. There are lots I love to eat (including cheddar, my favourite cheese,) which didn’t make it into the book! (But I have included quite a few, and they are listed at the back of the book for anyone who likes cheeses enough to want to spot them in the story.

The story was mostly written during covid lockdown and unfolded at the length I had always intended. But what was meant to be a few illustrations to go with it, became a great many and I hope my readers will enjoy them too. And for anyone who ever wished to ride around on a giant cat this is the book for you.

You can see more art from this book on my instagram.