Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pets and Thier Author: Heathcliff the Cat with an Editor's Soul and Michelle Styles

In which PHS editor and Harlequin Historical author Michelle Styles explains about the perils of living with a cat who is convinced he is an editor.

Heathcliff and his dearly missed brother Mr Darcy came into our lives in Christmas 2009. Our other two cats had died the previous March and the house did not feel like a home with just the dogs. They were my daughter's Christmas present but I rapidly learnt that the pair had a fascination for pens, paper and computers. My other cats Tuppence and Penny had ignored me while I worked. Tuppence might recline nearby and occasionally raise her head but the act of writing held no fascination.
Mr Darcy and Heathcliff found plenty to be fascinated by. Heathcliff in particular thinks me writing is  important.
They were handy in discovering pens which had fallen behind the sofa, including my favourite Montblanc pen which I used for revisions.I rapidly learnt to put my work and pens away.
In May of last year, Mr Darcy suddenly died but Heathcliff continued the tradition. In fact he has decided that the best place for him was to lie on my arms as I type. This can make it difficult to see the computer screen. Occasionally he stretches out a paw and suddenly a long line of g's appears.
Heathcliff also has a fascination for manuscripts and has been known to scratch up various pages. Invariably they were ones I was going to cut...
Then there is his policing of my noticeboard. I have started using post it notes and mapping out my manuscript. Heathcliff deems it important that he inspect each post it note and approve them. If he doesn't like them, he bats them down. he has even chewed one or two up.
He also serves as my personal alarm clock.  After Mr Darcy's death, he was given free run of the house at night. He now sleeps in his basket at the foot of the bed as for some reason, he prefers not sleep on the bed. If I don't get up, he puts his cold wet nose on the inside of my wrist.  At night, he will meow at me if he thinks I have stayed up too late. Sometimes I think he considers he is in charge. My husband and children say that he is my shadow but that is because he lives in hope that I will feed him.
And there is nothing better than a cat snuggling up when the writing just isn't flowing.. or even when it is because let's face it, a cat's purr can be perfect.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance for Harlequin Historical. Her latest book An Ideal Husband? has just been published. You can read more about Michelle and her books on


  1. Lovely to see the photos of the handsome Heathcliff. He looks much sleeker than his namesake. His editing skills are obviously well worth listening to - do you pay him in treats? ;o)

  2. He gets paid in food, yes. He is a cat who lives for his stomach. He is also v fussy. Unlike Mr Darcy who loved treats, Heathcliff believes he should only eat from his bowl and that it should be certain types of cat food as a general rule of thumb. He will sometimes go for wraps and occassionally cheese. And I didn't put any pictures up of him being a vampire cat. He will sometimes sleep with his fangs bared...

  3. He's lovely! Sounds like perfect company for writing :0)

  4. What a lovely post! Heathcliff is my kinda cat.

    My purry muse likes to join me when I'm writing in the recliner. She'll curl up on my legs and hold me down until I hit my word count. :-)

  5. Lovely post, and a lovely cat! I like the pictre of him sitting on your cork board - It's like he's helping you plot out your next book. Caroline x