Interview with Zvonek O8
Zvonek’s stories are typed for him by his mom, author Anne Petzer, a South African who moved to Prague to pursue her dream to live in Europe as a writer. Both books were published in 2011 by Gypsy Shadow Publishing
For more purchase information about the books go to GypsyShadow.com
Today I have the pleasure of intermewing an author who is known in the kitty litterary community as the feline James Bond. Zvonek 08’s meowmoirs consist of interlocking stories of his adventures as an intel operative in his native Prague and are most intriguing.
K.B.: Welcome, Zvoni. Now, first of all, you are a RETIRED agent of Feline Intel, am I correct? I must ask you please not to tell me anything that would make you have to kill me. (nervous laugh)
It must have been difficult to sort through the classified material you’ve been privy to and find memoirs that would not violate any secrecy laws. What other factors determined which incidents from your fascinating life you’d reveal?
Zvoni: Not to worry you will be safe during and after this interview. (Zvoni smiles). Thank you so much for inviting me. Yes, I am now retired from the service. Well I chose a series of international and domestic missions that don’t delve into the deep workings of FI. The ones that I have and will be, writing about are those that appeared in the local and international press at the time. The others that I am not at liberty to ever reveal I wouldn’t even be able to give a hint at. That would jeopardize both of us, including the other felines mentioned. To hear about Vladimir and Clawdette is fine as they both are international felines in the security arena.
K.B. I found the character of Clawdette fascinating. I’m assuming you used noms de guerre for your colleagues in FI. If you were going to cast your book as a human story, which actress would play Clawdette?
And how about yourself?
Zvoni: Mmmm that’s a very interesting question. Clawdette is a very unique feline and I’m not totally sure she could fit into a human character. Well, my Mom watches a lot of CIA and FBI films a bit of James Bond. Now that I am retired and spend most of time taking care of her, I get to watch them too. Honestly, if only these humans knew exactly what espionage was really like! So, if I had choose it would probably be Alberta Watson from La Femme Nikita. Alberta plays the character of Madeline in this show and does it superrbly in my opinion.
I quite fancy being represented by Daniel Craig. As he already had played the human agent, James Bond I feel that he could represent me very well. He has also filmed in the Czech Republic so would not feel very strange here. Of course it would have to be filmed Prague, wouldn’t it?
K.B. You live and work in Prague primarily, although as an international cat of mystery, you must have traveled widely. Could you tell us a little bit more about your native city and country?
Zvoni: Yes, I was employed in the Prague HQ of FI, although there are operatives working in all the main cities of the Czech Republic. Czech is a wonderful country filled with many traditions and folk lore. We are in the heart of Europe and have a rich heritage that includes the best of European nobility. Prague is dubbed as the ‘jewel in Europe’s crown’. However my home city is approximately 64 km (39,7 mi) northwest of Prague. A city called Litoměřic. It’s one of the oldest Czech towns and was established in the tenth century and in 1219 we were granted a royal town statue. We have a really lovely town square and very elegant Bishop’s Palace. We also have our own crest of which can also been seen in the palace in Kutna Hora among all the other crests of note. My Mom promised to do a blog on it soon, so you will be able to see it more detail. It really is lovely.
K.B. So, with that much background, could you tell us a bit more about your first book and how the second one relates to it. Is it a sequel or an independent set of adventures?
Certainly. The first is my beginning in FI. As you will know having read it, it was arranged by my uncle and FI for me to have a post in Prague. It gives details of the beginning in Prague and my first brush with my Russian counter agent, Saskia. Also tells of the lucky chance of saving Vladimir who is the head of operations in CZ. This also raised my status in FI. The second and following books are sequels in that the stories follow on in order, after one another, telling the story of Metaxa and my lives.
K.B. Your second book is composed of three intertwining short stories. Can you give us their names and a teaser about their plots?
The first one is Mau-ow, it is the story of how Metaxa entered and changed my life. It was one of the missions I received directly from Clawdette. Quite daunting in itself. Clawdette only gives the most important and secretive missions so you can imagine my surprise when I received this from her. The mission reveals far more than it was supposed to and definitely more than Claw–er, Clawdette was comfortable with.
The Return of Rats is horrible even to remember. The rats in Prague 10 are, and probably always will, our arch enemy. They are an aggressive group of renegades constantly trying to take over the city. They pulled a stunt, revealed in this story, that lived long in the memory of all of FI.
The Miracle of Carp I included as it shows something of my national traditions. It also tells the very touching story of how after targeting stray cats in an awful plot to get rid them, a vengeful human, comes round and is able to forgive and love again.
K.B. In your second book, you also introduce a new character, your lovely little sister Metaxa. She’s a very compassionate kitty and gets involved in a couple of your adventures by her sympathy for others. But there is something very special about her, isn’t there? Would you like to give our readers a hint?
Dear Metaxa, yes. Metaxa had to be introduced as FI’s story cannot be told without her, as will unfold in future episodes. She does turn out be very special, more I think that any of us realized at the time, least of all her. She bears an ancient mark, something that she shares with Clawdette. This mark, dating back to ancient Egypt and its traditions and customs, is what will eventually determine Metaxa’s future.
K.B. If you can, could you describe a typical work day and who your associates might be, your leisure places and work environment?
Zvoni: Well, being an operative there really is no typical day as much depends on the mission of the moment. But off mission is maybe easier. I would wait till Mom has gone out or to work. She is very predictable and never varies her routine, which is why she was chosen I guess. Then Honza would invariably meet me and we would trot around the town. Whiskers is big favorite of ours. It’s our local pub that is owned by a tom called Mr. Whiskers. Unfortunately he is now retired as wel,l and the pub is run by a Maine Coon. Lovely tom but so slow! The Mau, our top feline hotel, is where we usually go when we take the queens out. Bobi, who is Vladimir’s secretary, is a good friend of ours.
A lot of off mission time is spent relaxing though during an operation life can get really stressful. To relax Honza and I spend time in my garden in the good weather or he comes inside if it’s cold or wet. Providing Mom is out of course.
K.B. Does your mother ever know you’re out?
Zvoni: Don’t get me wrong I love my Mom a lot but she is very naïve. All through my working life I managed to get in and out safely. I wouldn’t want her to worry and close the loose part of the net. That would have just cause problems that FI would have had to deal with
K.B. My mom especially likes the little Czech Christmas story at the end, the one with the carp. As mew know, we also just wrote and published a Christmas story (Father Christmas, Spam the Cat’s First Christmas). Can you tell us a bit about how your Christmas celebrations vary from those in other places?
Zvoni: Christmas Carp is of course the best part of a Czech Christmas for cats. Carp is a fish that is found in our lakes. They are bought fresh and then cooked for Christmas, fried with after being wrapped in flour egg and breadcrumbs. This is served with potato salad. The potato salad is made with eggs, peas, carrots and onions and few extras ingredients depending on the individual family. Throughout the festive season little biscuits are eaten and shared as little presents among people. On all the squares in Prague are Christmas markets where you can buy presents and food and drink hot spiced wine to warm you. ( well the humans, that is) We celebrate Christmas on the 24th and instead of Santa, little Jesus brings our presents.
K.B. It’s been wonderful intermewing you, Zvonek. We understand you just finished a third book as well. Would you care to share the title and something about it?
Zvoni: The third book has just been sent off the publishers and also contains two stories. It tells about the time Honza and I were called in to straighten out strange events around the top feline beauty contest in Prague and a second mission surrounding strangers in the city. Again thank you so much for allowing me to share all this with you. And I am looking forward to read your Christmas story and your follow up to Spam vs the Vampire.
K.B. And that concludes out interview. Thank mew, retired agent Zvonek 08 of Feline Intel, Prague, Czech Republic.