Thursday, 29 November 2012

ZOMBIE CAT - The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty

Zombie Cat

The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty   

By Isabel Atherton
Illustrated by Bethany Straker

For all of you zombie fans and cat lovers (well, perhaps I had better rephrase that, for all cat lovers who are also zombie fans) this brilliant book is a sheer delight. It is more than that, we at the West Uist Chronicle believe that it has the potential to be a Christmas bestseller and may well attain cult status.

The book is written by Isabel Atherton, literary agent extraordinaire, and illustrated by talented artist Bethany Straker. It is a short picture book for adults about Tiddles, an everyday cat-about-town who is transformed into one of the undead.

The story is wittily told and beautifully, yet macabrely illustrated. It is short, but merits several readings. Each reading reveals a little more and each illustration tempts you back again. We predict that a copy in your house will gradually decompose, like Tiddles aka Zombie Cat, although not from decay, but from frequent readings by the family, guests and whoever else passes through your abode.

The West Uist Chronicle gives this book an unreserved ***** rating.

And now, here are the creators to tell us about themselves and about their journey among the undead.

Welcome, ladies.

Isabel, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Hello readers! First of all, I am the director and literary agent at Creative Authors Ltd. You can read more about my agency here: 

Creative Authors prides itself on its eclectic list of authors. I only ever take on authors and books that I feel extremely passionate about. I’ve also recently started to write for pleasure myself. It’s been a very interesting experience sitting on the author’s side of the fence with Zombie Cat.

Bethany, give us the lowdown on yourself.

I’ve been illustrating magazines for a number of years now, and started working on books last year. Illustration has always been ‘The Thing That I Wanted To Do’ from an early age. It took persistence, some fairly unhappy years at university and a lot of worry – but I’m happy I can dedicate my career to illustration full time now. I like the weird and wonderful, the creepy, the odd and the funny – and I try to have these things as a base for my work and ideas. I love old scary movies like Robert Wise’s ‘The Haunting’ and their use of light and dark, which often comes out in what I do. 

Isabel, where on earth did this idea come from?

I’ve always been an ideas type of person and I love helping my authors develop their initial concept into strong book proposals. This led me to think what it would be like to experience what it feels like to be in the author’s shoes. I therefore decided, at the next stroke of inspiration, I would jot down the idea and follow it through. A little while later, just as I had been bemoaning to my husband about my own lack of personal creativity, and as I started to drift off to sleep – the words ‘zombie’ and ‘cat’ jumped into my head. I leapt out of bed and promptly sent myself a text, so I would remember the idea in the morning.

Bethany, these illustrations are spectacular. How did you choose this style to illustrate Zombie Cat?

Thank you! Firstly, I decided on a colour palette. I wanted it to be grimy – so when it came to drawing it up I wanted the grime to be reflected in the amount of detail, too. I enjoyed adding little extra elements of humour and, of course, as much grisly gore as I could fit in! 

Isabel, what else have you got in the pipeline? Is Zombie Cat going to rise again? I think everyone will want to know what happened to good old Jake. Are you collaborating again?

Zombie Cat may rise again. It all depends on sales figures and whether the publisher feels they’d like to see a sequel. I wouldn’t rule it out. Right now,I am moving over into children’s picture books.

I have a title called ‘The Bad Easter Bunny’ out in February next year and I am working with a wonderful French illustrator called Stephanie Rohr. You can see a little more description here about the book:

Beth and I are also collaborating again on a few more titles (we love working together!), which are coming out up until 2014. These include ‘Smelly Ghost’ (pub, Autumn 2013) - this is a story of a ghost who gets the toots from eating too much scary junk food, such as eyeball pizza, fizzy snot soda and beetles blood ice-cream.  ‘Springy Chicken’ (pub, Feb 2014) is the story of Martha, a Bantam chicken, who was so savaged by a fox she lost her legs. Her owner saved her by fitting her with springs for legs, so she is able to boing! around the place. Sadly the other hens don’t like the fact she’s different. Finally, Beth and I are collaborating on ‘Mr Cow’s Deep Sea Adventure’ (pub, Summer 2014). This is the tale of Mr Cow, a Friesian cow, who can’t make cheese or yoghurts and has no desire to. He wants to explore Aztec Mountains, scale tall sand dunes, but more than anything he wants to be the first cow deep sea diver. This one is inspired by Whitstable, my hometown, a small seaside town in Kent.

Bethany, if you are collaborating with Isabel again, will you be using the same style? What else are you working on?

Isabel and I make a great team. We are collaborating on several children’s books, which Isy explains above. All of them have my signature style, although I have made simplifications for each target age group. Of course, I have also left out the gore! Smelly Ghost will be out in 2013 and I can’t wait to see what the response will be. I love working with an author like Isy as she has such a great imagination and sense of humour in her work. I also have another picture book out in late 2013 – this one is called The Lonely Curiosity Rover and is about the Mars Rover. I’m collaborating with a new author called James Duffett-Smith and we’ve been influenced by the style of 1950s Soviet propaganda posters.

Ladies, it has been a pleasure. We wish you the greatest of success with Zombie Cat – and will be looking out for your next work.

Thanks so much, Keith and Calum!

We really love this book and if you would like to hop over to the Amazon opposite, you can order your copy!

Keith Souter
Associate Editor

Calum Steele

Monday, 22 October 2012


As all our readers of The West Uist Mysteries will know the Padre is a keen 8-handicapper. And our local St Ninian's course is one of the toughest tests of golf in the Western Isles. We are pleased to say that Keith Souter, who pens the West Uist Mysteries as Keith Moray, has just had another book published by The History Press, entitled THE LITTLE BOOK OF GOLF.

It is an ideal stocking-filler.

Full of interesting anecdotes, history and trivia about our national game.

Keith is no Nick Faldo, but he's a keen golf historian.

It is out now in hardback and Kindle.

And we are pleased to announce that Death in Transit, the fifth novel in the series has been accepted for publication by Hale.

Calum Steele,

Friday, 27 July 2012


We are absolutely delighted to have received a copy of Keith Souter's first children's novel THE CURSE OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, published by G-Press, an imprint of Golden Guides Press.

It is set in Victorian London and is the first in a series The Adventures of Jack Moon. We predict that youngsters of 8-13 will love it and scream for more! And with much of the novel taking place in mist-covered graveyards, with ghosts, ghouls and spectres on the loose, screaming is an apt word.

Have a look at the 55 second video clip.

And if you want to purchase a copy, then it will be available in all good book shops, including our very own West Uist Bookshop at the bottom of this blog. Alternatively, hit the button to the left and go straight to Amazon.

Calum Steele

Thursday, 16 February 2012


At the Chronicle we have come to the conclusion that books are a bit like buses. Nothing for ages then three come all at once. Indeed, Keith has three new books that are all coming out at about the same time.

Here is one of them - MEDICAL MEDDLERS, MEDIUMS AND MAGICIANS - The Victorian Age of Credulity. If you are interested in the Victorian era then we think you might find it fun to read.

Have a look at the video clip to see what it is about.



We are pleased to announce that Keith's forthcoming book The Classic Guide to King Arthur will soon be published by Golden Guides Press, a brilliant new publishing house.

If you want to know about all the legends, facts, theories and fantasies appertaining to King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table then read the book.

And as a taster, here is a wee video clip produced by the West Uist Chronicle:


Calum Steele

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Hello readers. We thought you might like to see a novel review of one of Keith's latest books, SCHOOLBOY SCIENCE REMEMBERED. This was published in the Whitby Gazette on 3rd February 2012.
Lab man’s
lunch club
A CAEDMON lab technician decided
that the best way to review a new
science book would be for him to
conduct a series of experiments, with
the aid of some pupils.
Roger Hartley runs the Caedmon
Science Club at lunchtimes and said
that bringing the textbook alive by
conducting such experiments would
be a great way for children to get
enthused about science.
He added: “Practical work in science
is probably more important now
than it’s ever been. It’s what’s going
to enthuse them so they go on to
become scientists. Seeing something
go flash-bang is really what captures
their imagination.”
Using an experiment from the book,
Mr Hartley showed the children how
to make batteries using just twopence
coins, kitchen foil and some
Mr Hartley started the science club
to prove that rocket science does not
have to be impossible and he proved
this by showing the children basic
chemistry experiments, such as firing
fizzy pop bottles across the classroom.
Schoolboy Science Remembered
is a new book by Dr Keith Souter and
Mr Hartley has reviewed it for the
He said: “Dr Souter writes with an
easy style that veils the subject’s
“His heroes, the old chemistry
teacher Prang, Sherlock Holmes and
Patrick Moore help lead us from one
discovery to another.
“With their help we find our way
from “The Kitchen Laboratory” to the
quantum theory, we pass through
cooking chemistry, many good “Eggsperiments”,
atomic theory and the
periodic table, acids and alkalis, and
DNA to name but a few.
“This book is so much more than
a list of tricks, experiments and illusions;
it would give any reader a good
grounding in basic science. So much
so that chapters such as “Magnetism
and Electricity” could have come
straight out of the year 7 curriculum.
“If I had owned this book at the age
of 12 I would undoubtedly have been
banished to the shed at the end of
the yard and I would have loved every
minute of it.”
Schoolboy Science Remembered is
published by Pen and Sword Books
for £14.99.