Friday, December 20, 2013

I get down and dirty with HAMLET, star of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (by Ali Brandon!)


Today my guest is HAMLET, the star of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries by Ali Brandon (aka Diane A.S. Stucklart)!  If you haven’t tried this cool series, yet, you are really missing out!

Ali Brandon is the national bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Writing under her real name, Diane A.S. Stuckart, she penned the popular Leonardo da Vinci historical mystery series—also from Berkley—which has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as a Florida Book Award. Additionally, she is the author of five critically-reviewed historical romances which will soon be re-released as ebooks. A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Diane a/k/a Ali now lives in South Florida. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Cat Writers Association. Visit her at or

HAMLET is the black cat extraordinare star of Ali’s Nationally Bestselling Black Cat Bookshop mysteries.  The latest, WORDS WITH FIENDS, debuted on November 5th!  Hamlet enjoys lounging on bookshelves, chasing mice, stirring up trouble….in other words, he’s a real cool cat!

And now…I interview HAMLET! (courtesy of Ms. Ali Brandon/Diane Stuckart)!

R: Purr…welcome, Hamlet! For all our interested readers out there – particularly the female felines – describe a typical day in your life.

          H: Thank you for having me, ROCCO! As you know, I am a very busy feline, since I am in charge of Pettistone’s Fine Books (even though the human, Darla Pettistone, claims that she owns the establishment). After a breakfast of kitty kibble, I go down to the bookstore and make sure that all is ready for the place to open. This is exhausting work as I must lie down on multiple shelves to be sure that no books are out of place. Afterwards, I take a mid-morning nap to regain my strength.

          Later, if I am so inclined, I may greet a customer or two and make certain that Darla is not slacking off in handling store matters. This is also strenuous labor and requires an afternoon nap. In the evenings, I usually have some free time, which means pretending to play with the toys that Darla brings me. And do not tell her, but some nights I sneak out of the brownstone to wander the streets a bit. After all, you cannot keep a free spirit such as myself trapped inside all the time! Purrrr!

R: How did you and Darla get together?

          H: I have lived at the bookstore for most of my ten years, ever since I was a kitten. Darla arrived almost a year ago to take over when my previous caretaker, Dee Pettistone (her great-aunt) went to that big litter box in the sky. Darla is a pale substitute for Dee, but she attempts to do her best.

R: Tell us about you and Darla’s latest adventure, WORDS WITH FIENDS

          H: This is a very exciting story. Darla decides that, since she has no proper claws, she must learn to defend herself from evil humans in another fashion. She takes what she calls martial arts lessons, but unfortunately things do not go well in the dojo. Murder ensues (though this time I was not there to witness it…I had to learn the details from a canine). Darla and the police are not able to solve the murder that happens, so once again I must employ my keen feline intellect to point a paw at the killer. Oh, and I am subjected to the most embarrassing situation. Because I am slightly off my kitty kibble, I am forced to speak to what Darla calls a cat whisperer.

R: How do you cope with Darla’s penchant for getting involved with murder?

          H: She is a human. That is enough said.

R:  What do you love most about Darla?  Dislike most?

          H: Love is an extreme term. I do admire the fact that she has an almost feline ability to stick with a problem, even when she is not clever enough to solve it on her own. And I do not dislike anything about her, though I do find it annoying that on occasion she will refer to me as “Hammy.” That is NOT my name, hisssss.

R: What’s the story behind your name?  Are you a Shakespeare fan?

          H: I started this particular life as a kitten living in a nearby alley, but I got hungry one day and decided to see if I could convince a human to feed me. Dee let me in the store and gave me a nice bit of her lunch. Of course, that required a nap afterward, so I pulled down a volume from one of the shelves and proceeded to sleep upon it. It so happened that the book was one of the human Shakespeare’s plays, so Dee decided that Hamlet should be my name. She said something about an “inked cloak” that I do not understand.

R: So tell me how you feel about this woman, Ali Brandon? Does she portray your adventures accurately?

          H: Ali Brandon is quite clever for a human. I believe that she portrays me in a very positive manner. Purrrr.

 R:If you could change one thing about Darla,  what would it be?

          H: She would be a feline, Meow Out Loud!

R:  Any chance of your getting a “sidekick” in these stories- like maybe a handsome tuxedo cat – anytime soon?

          H: I know that Ali Brandon likes tuxedo felines; however, I’m afraid that if I get a “sidekick” it will be a, growwwwl, canine!

R:  Just for fun…

Catnip or scratching post? Catnip is undignified. Scratching post.

Tabbies or Tuxedos? Both are equally fine.

Fish or Steak? Fish!

Shakespeare or Stephen King?  Do you need to ask, Meow Out Loud!

Thank you, Hamlet, for a great interview, and to your creator, Ali Brandon as well!

You can find out more about Ali/Diane/Hamlet and the Black Cat Bookshop mysteries here:

Folks, Hamlet and Ali will give away a copy of WORDS WITH FIENDS to one lucky commenter! Leave your comment and email address below.  For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 3 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/

* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 3 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 3 point)

Follow Ali/Diane on Twitter or FB!  (+ 1 point) (Link:

Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!


  1. Dear Rocco and Hamlet, Delightful interview. You both are clearly "the cat's meow"!

    I follow the blog and we are friends on FB

  2. We're friends and I follow on both FB and Twitter...and I tweeted.
    I have to love Hamlet,(ALSO, Rocco; you know you are in my heart!)
    Great interview! Loved the q's and a's, Meow Out Loud!

  3. Follow Ali Brandon FB & just signed up to follow bog by email. I do love a,i's series.