P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer has been re-released with a brand new cover and a bonus story!
Genre: YA Fantasy
Author: Debbie Manber Kupfer
Cover: Rachel Bostwick
What do you miss most from when you were young?
Oh lots of things: my cats – Kitty and Susie; my best friend – Jenny; New York City and in particular the Lower East Side where I grew up; and most of all my omama. I think about her every day – the things she taught me, the stories she told. And I also wonder about the stories she didn’t tell. About her early life in Vienna and how she escaped from the Nazis. Maybe one day I’ll be able to piece all that together.
What scares you the most?
That I could lose my new friends here at P.A.W.S. I’d like to be able to just enjoy my classes and hang out like a normal teen (or at least as normal as a shapeshifter cat girl can be), but bad stuff seems to follow me around, so I guess I should be prepared.
How did you change as you grew older?
I think I’ve become more confident and a little less likely to trip over my own two feet – I think having four paws helps with that and of course having good teachers – Josh and Danny – also does wonders.
What has been the hardest struggle for you?
Believing that I actually have magic. I mean I’ve met my Uncle David, and he seems about as far from magical as you can get. I know Jessamyn says that my whole family had magic, but it does seem hard to believe.
Who do you hope stays in your life?
Well Danny of course (blushes), but I don’t really see how he likes me. And then I hope I’ll always stay close to my friends at P.A.W.S. – Josh, Sandy, Sean and Joey. Joey’s said that in a few years I should visit him in Australia. That would be a lot of fun.
What do you need to be happy in the future?
Good friends, my books and my writing. I hope someday to write my story and delve into my family’s past so that I can write a history of that too.
What is the most important lesson you have learned?
To trust my friends when they say I’m much stronger and more capable than I think I am.
Thank you Miri!
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What are the traits you wanted in your main characters?
Most of my main characters have traits that are similar to mine – particularly Miri. I don’t really believe that anyone is completely good or bad. We are all complex creatures made up of our past experiences.
Even my villain, Alistair, is the way he is because of his past – and doesn’t truly think of himself as the bad guy. (You can read Alistair’s story in the anthology, Writer’s Anarchy III – Heroes & Villains – and I’ll be releasing it as a short on Amazon in early 2016.)
What are some important themes you tried to touch on in the book?
I don’t really set out to instill a message or a particular, but still as you write they inevitably emerge. Some of the themes prevalent in P.A.W.S. include bullying, abuse, and the importance in forging a connection through the generations.
Which authors do you enjoy?
Many many! My favorites include Douglas Adams, JK Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Chaim Potok, Cornelia Funke, Nick Hornby and David Nichols.
Add to that many cool indie writers I’ve recently discovered including M.A. Ray, Fiona Skye, Misha Burnett and Jen Ponce. Really, if you enjoy fantasy and sci-fi you need to check them out!
What did you learn from writing the book?
That I can do it. I’ve been writing stories my whole life, but never finished anything. Then in 2012 I tried NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and it worked for me. I was able to get the words down and finally finish a story. It took a lot of editing to get it to the point of publication, but finally I got there. And now I have two books in my series published and I’m writing the third, plus have stories in a number of anthologies and have published a puzzle book, Paws4Logic, with my son, Joey.
What is next for your characters and/or world?
The story of P.A.W.S. continues in book, 2, Argentum when Miri returns to New York to try to learn the secrets of her past. Argentum also ventures into Jessamyn’s past life in Ireland and her grueling flight to America.
I’m currently writing book 3, which is tentatively called Maze of Shadows. In this one Miri will visit Israel (a country I used to live in) and we were also go back to where it all started in Vienna.
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