‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays 2017 with Lianne Oelke

‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?” You can find a complete list of this year’s participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Lianne Oelke

Lianne Oelke has a degree in philosophy and works in the film industry — which may explain a lot about her debut novel, Nice Try, Jane Sinner. Or not. She lives, camps, and thinks about cats in Vancouver.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

The end of the year is always a time to reflect on what we did or didn’t accomplish. For me, the struggle was – and still is – writing Book Two. I really thought that I’d finish the first draft in 2017, but boy, was I wrong. Looking back this year it’s easy to think I haven’t done enough. Haven’t accomplished my goals. Haven’t made a difference. And then I come home from work and Alley Cat is there at the door to greet me, rubbing her face against my legs, purring louder than I’ve ever heard a cat purr before, and I remember that she sees things very differently than I do.

Four years ago, I lost my first cat, Margo. She was spirited and vocal, always looking to sneak outside for an adventure, making friends with anyone she came across. One day she came home wearing a collar that I hadn’t given her. Then one day she didn’t come home at all. My heart broke into a million pieces, and I’ve felt her absence ever since. I’ve always loved animals; there’s something about taking care of a cat that brings me so much joy.

The other Christmas, before my boyfriend left for a ski trip, he told me “If I come home and there’s a cat here, that wouldn’t be the worst thing”. The next day I went to the pet store to get all the supplies I’d need, and two years ago to this day I ended up at the British Columbia SPCA. I saw so many wonderful cats there. There was Margery, the senior sweetheart with medical needs. Ninja, who had been waiting for a home for a while because black cats are often overlooked. Snowball, the mostly blind cat who loved to play with pipe cleaners. I did what any rational person would in that situation: I broke down in tears because I couldn’t adopt them all.

And then I saw Alley Cat.

Alley had been at the shelter for months. Originally a stray, she had been adopted and returned twice. Alley didn’t seem particularly happy to see me, or any of the other cats she shared a room with. She was big, beautiful, long haired, and had the most incredible resting bitch face. I knew right away she was the one.

I noticed a change in her as soon as I brought her home. She was friendly but shy, and spent most of her time hiding behind the couch or under the bed. So I was patient. I gave her space, along with treats, toys, and all the head scratches she wanted (which turned out to be a lot). After a few months, she started to jump up on the couch next to me. Now, she falls asleep beside my pillow and wakes me up with gentle head butts. She’s the first one to say hi when I come home, always ready for a good brush or snuggle or conversation. She’s my best bud, and one happy cat. Alley doesn’t care if I haven’t written Book Two yet. She doesn’t care that I don’t always like my job or haven’t paid off my student loans or still haven’t learned how to ski. All she cares about is that I feed her, deal with her poo, and love her so much it hurts my heart. And yeah, I’m tearing up as I write this because I have ZERO CHILL when it comes to cats. All it takes is one look at Alley to know that I’ve made all the difference in the world to her, and that she means the world to me.

Instead of looking back at all the things we haven’t done this year, why not focus on the difference we have made? No matter what happens next year, I know that caring for Alley Cat will be one of the best things I do.

Happy New Year from Alley Cat and I!

PS. If anyone is thinking of getting a cat this year, please consider adopting an adult cat from a shelter. They often have the most gratitude and love to give. <3

Title Nice Try, Jane Sinner
Author Lianne Oelke
Pages 432 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published January 9th 2018 by Clarion Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school…what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world — or at least viewers of substandard TV — that she has what it takes to win.

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