I’ve always been an adventurer at heart, ready to go on a moment’s notice. Much like those intrepid heroes, Familiar and Trouble, I’m usually game for anything. From flying down to the Florida Gulf Coast just for a day of sand and surf, to jumping up on stage to sing backup for a friend’s band when one of the guys got the flu, to moving to Washington, D.C. from Mississippi with my husband and 5 month old baby to moving back to Mississippi a couple years later with my husband, a 2 ½ year old and a 1 ½ year old, to beginning a new career in the newspaper business at the age of 49, then beginning a new career as a writer at the age of 54. Life is an adventure and I’m happy to jump right in.

We were surrounded by animals growing up — dogs, cats, birds, even a spider monkey and a pet deer for a while. These days, I have what I call my third child, my fur baby, Tippy, a dog we rescued from the local animal shelter.

When I was little, my favorite pet was a stray cat we named Felice. When she came to us, she’d been abused horribly. She’d been burned on her tail, was rail-thin and someone thought it would be funny to spray paint this beautiful cream-colored long-haired Persian blood red. Apparently, she got the heck out of that situation and came crying to our back door way out in the country. Of course, we took her in and loved her for the next several years. She was constantly disappearing for a few days at a time and I always wondered what adventures she was qqup to.

One time, she came straggling in soaking wet on a hot, dry summer day, looking thoroughly disgusted. She actually sulked for a day or two. That adventure really had my imagination going! Unfortunately, she went off one time, never to return. My sister, Anne, and I were heartbroken. We continued to look for her, to no avail, but I always hoped her last adventure was amazing.

I am looking forward to contributing, along with my fellow writers, to the life of that second-generation adventurer, Trouble the Cat Detective. He and his dad, Familiar, are just like any other family, human or otherwise, in that they are polar opposites in some ways, and just alike in others, such as their love of adventure. Trouble will definitely be kept on his toes, just like his dad. Who knows, maybe Trouble will come across an exotic blond beauty named Felice who likes a life of adventure, herself.

Hope Harrington Oakes is a writer who lives in Columbus, Mississippi, a city steeped in literary tradition. It is the birthplace of Tennessee Williams and home to the Mississippi University for Women, which hosts the Eudora Welty Symposium each autumn. Hope has always loved to write, and now makes her living as a columnist and reporter for a local newspaper. She is married to Ed, and is mom to college students Jared and Emily Anne, as well as their fur baby, Tippy. Trouble in Caledonia will be her first book.