In Conversation With Anne White
Anne White and I met earlier in October at an Indigo in Hamilton where she was promoting her children’s book, The Cat Who Thought He Was a Mouse.
“The mouse was a cat who’d been abandoned as a kitten. This is his story from being a mean bully of two cats, to becoming a loving friend and also what he learned about disability.”
The title of the book pulled me in, the front cover pulled me, and Anne’s personality pulled me in. We recently spoke again on the phone and chatted about her inspiration, the writing process, and more.
Here’s what she had to say.
Tell me a bit about yourself!
I’m a retired physician!
The cat, the main character in the book [who] thought he was a mouse, was a real cat. He only lived to be four years old – he broke my heart. He came from a rescue situation. It took me a while to get him to settle down. But he really did bully the other cats.
My interests now are very limited because I’ve had a recent back surgery. But I used to be into scuba diving. I’ve worked in the Caribbean teaching medicine. I’ve taught medicine in the Middle East – I moved to the Middle East on a two-year contract and loved it. [I] came back to Canada in February and [there] was about four or five inches of snow and I thought, I couldn’t scuba dive in Canada because the water was too cold. And so, I got jobs teaching medicine in the Caribbean.
Anne has lived abroad quite a lot – in the Caribbean and Africa, just to name a couple places.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I was good at writing in school – I always got A’s for essays. I enjoyed writing but I really didn’t apply myself until more recently, and I wrote [an] anthology about the woman [who founded] the nursing part of the Canadian Military – a celebration of the First World Ward. That was probably about 5,000 words.
This cat that I had, I was really very, very attached to him. And I really felt I wanted to tell his story. And he really did think he was a mouse. I just thought [it] would make a good story about bullying because he was a bully and then settled down with love and kindness. It was a good analogy for what’s going on in schools at the moment.
What was the writing process like for you with this children’s book?
I really enjoy writing.
That was the first children’s book I’ve written. So, it was it was a bit of a challenge because I had to keep the language at a certain level. I just I love writing and I love looking at language. I did speak a lot of foreign languages, [so] the etymology, you know the origin of words and language itself, is very precious to me.
I enjoy using language in the best possible way to try and get the message across. Whatever the message is.
The Cat Who Thought He Was a Mouse can be found at A Different Drummer Books in Burlington and select Indigo locations (Ancaster).
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