Starting, of course, with the kitten himself. Yes, there was a real Finnigan in the family. That’s actually him on all of the book covers, a digital version drawn from a photo of him perched on my shoulder after climbing up my side like I was a tree. Those claws were like tiny needles!
And yes, he was also a rescue kitten. My youngest son and his wife brought him home at Christmas one year, and yes, he was the tiniest kitten I’d ever seen. I got to play with him for the next week and a half before the kids returned to the university, and I was enchanted.
And so Finnigan’s brash, young, boisterous personality got woven into the story and also the art right away. As often as I could, I drew from photos of Finnigan to illustrate the chapters, whether as a wee kitten sleeping in my lap or his lanky, inquisitive “teenager” edition.
So whether “art imitates life” or “life imitate art,” Finnigan the Circus Cat has plenty of “life” to draw from. Where the one ends and the other begins…well the magic is somewhere in between!