Rita Mae Brown Dishes About Her New Book, “Sneaky Pie for President”
Best-selling author Rita Mae Brown has penned everything from Civil War–era novels to a highly successful cat mystery series. But this is the first time that she’s ventured into the political arena.
Well, to be completely accurate, this is the first time that she and her writing partner, a tiger-striped cat named Sneaky Pie, have done so. The result is a new book aptly titled Sneaky Pie for President, with the catty subtitle, “Ask not what your cat can do for you. Ask what you can do for your cat.”
On the eve of Election Day, Vetstreet caught up with Brown to chat about the new book and her feline sidekick’s political musings.
Q. With the election approaching, how do you and Sneaky Pie view politics?
A. Rita Mae Brown: “I’m sure a lot of your readers feel as we do. We’re tired of all the posturing and the doing nothing by politicians. In fact, we feel that Washington, D.C., should be renamed Egolopolis. Sneaky Pie and I believe that if the politicians just get out of the way, Americans will solve our problems. I don’t care if you are a mechanic, a farmer or you work in a supermarket, you have a lot of practical experience. People don’t always give themselves credit for how smart they really are.”
Q. Why did you start a mystery series starring a shelter cat named Sneaky Pie?
A. “I never dreamed I would be doing this, but it goes back to 1988. I was a classics and English major in college. I read Greek and Latin. I was really on my way to becoming an insufferable literary snob. I was working in Hollywood at the time and doing really great. I loved it, but we went on strike in 1988 and it lasted for almost a year. I wasn’t making any money, but the bills arrived like clockwork. I thought, What am I going to do? And my cat said, ‘Write a mystery series.’ I had always regarded mysteries as the suburbs of literature, but then I read Agatha Christie and PD James, and thought, ‘This really is fiction. Good fiction.’ And the cat said, ‘Just leave it to me.’ So I sat down and basically took dictation.”
Q. This marks the twenty-second book in the Sneaky Pie series but the first with a political theme. Why should people vote for a cat for president?
A. “There is nothing in the constitution that says you must be a human being to be president. You just have to be born in the United States, and be 35 years old. In cat years, she is. In the spirit of full disclosure, this is actually Sneaky Pie II. She was born in a cardboard box and taken to a shelter in Virginia, where I adopted her. She is very candid and genuinely cares about all animals. And Sneaky Pie’s campaign motto says it all: ‘I can’t do any worse.’”
Q. What are some of Sneaky Pie’s platforms for this election?
A. “She wants to promote interspecies friendship and harmony. Sneaky Pie and the other animals on my farm have taught me a lot about interspecies cooperation — they accept nature and accept their own personal natures. We need to work together, really work together, on making this a better planet for all. Sneaky Pie also hopes that people will spay and neuter their pets.”
Q. Is there anything that could hinder Sneaky Pie’s chances during this election?
A. “Sneaky Pie’s best friend is a Corgi named Tee Tucker, but she knows that Corgis are quite attached to the Queen of England. The cat knows that she needs a dog for vice president, but realizes that she needs to name a mutt. This is really hurting Tucker’s feelings, but she knows it is the right decision because most Americans are mutts. The second area of concern is Sneaky Pie’s approach toward enemies. Her mindset is that you hunt them and then eat them. We will have to modify that.”