The cat.

I finally let the muse into my heart. Or did I let the cat out of the bag?

I had noticed my non-fiction writing growing more lyrical with each passing year until eventually, in early 2023, I acknowledged the call. After writing seven non-fiction books on dreams, it was time to write a novel.

The urge was there, in my nightly dreams, and many a media interview concluded with the question, ‘If you weren’t a dream analyst, what would you be?’ I kept saying ‘a novelist’ and then batting the idea away. My commitment to helping people find intelligent, meaningful insight in their dreams was strong – and still is. But I knew I needed to find room to let my typing fingers dance to a different tune. I wanted to write a fiction that was light-hearted but insightful. Entertaining but meaningful. Quirky in a chuckle-inside kind of way. I wanted to sit, type, and be surprised at the words that appeared on the page, the story that unfolded.

I also wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to write a book that didn’t mention dreams or dreaming. I succeeded. But my dreams played their part in the storytelling in another way. They problem-solved story dilemmas. They helped me to process my feelings and beliefs about my ability to write fiction. Understanding my dreams nourished and sustained me during the more challenging aspects of the writing. And although I didn’t mention dreams, I did pop a couple of symbols from my dreams of that period into the book. One of those symbols was a centuries-old topiary of a reclining woman. While I understood the dream and what the symbol meant to me personally, I liked the idea of dropping it into the garden featured in the novel. I didn’t know it at the time, but it turned out to play a key role in the story.

Ah, the story!

When I made the commitment to write the book, I had no story in mind. I enrolled to do a course in novel writing, since writing fiction is very different to writing non-fiction.

The week before the course began, I mentioned it to a school student I had been mentoring while she completed a final year creative project. We had just finished our work together, and I told her I was going to write a novel, but that I had no idea of the story yet. ‘Ah,’ she said. ‘When you wrote Bird of Paradise you wrote, ‘One morning the flowers laid themselves at my feet. “Write about us,” they seemed to say.” Maybe this time, an animal will ask you to write about it.’

Her comment only came back to me the day after this happened:

I was doing some strength-training exercises in the kitchen while listening to a podcast. The podcast host was interviewing a psychic medium whose messages from spirit seemed highly dubious to me. The moment I had that thought, a tabby cat I had never seen before strolled into the garden and paused to stare at me through the window. In an instant, the idea for my novel – Ninth Life – dropped from the heavens.

Within the first few days of writing, I realised the cat was going to be the main character in the story. Talk about giving myself a challenge! Fortunately, my tutor was very supportive of this approach: everything in the story is seen, heard, or felt by the cat. Don’t worry! It’s an easy read! The cat listens in to a lot of dialogue and finds her own way of conversing with humans, so much so that you may forget, from time to time, that she’s a cat.

No spoilers!

The book was published last week. It’s available on Amazon, where you can also read a sample.

As a taster, here’s the back cover blurb:

Ninth Life

Cat has one mission: to keep the unruly human practitioners of the Serene Lotus Centre for Health and Wellbeing in line and find the mysterious Silver Crescent Nest, so that she can graduate from her ninth life to become a spirit mentor.

But when a scandal rocks the centre, everyone’s livelihoods are at risk, and it’s up to Cat to guard and protect them against harm. Or should she be enforcing the rules?

Cat knows one thing – she needs to make her last life count. But how far will she go to do that? And how far will the centre’s practitioners go to save their jobs?

A charming, beguiling story full of quirky characters who keep Cat on her paws as she uncovers the secret of her first life and why she is so driven to get this – her ninth life – just right.

Available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.


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Jane Teresa Anderson

Graduating with an Honours degree in Zoology specialising in developmental neurobiology from the University of Glasgow, dream analyst and dream therapist Jane Teresa Anderson has been researching dreams since 1992, and developing and teaching dream alchemy practices that shift perspective and reprogram unconscious limiting beliefs. Jane Teresa is a multi-published author (her latest book is her debut fiction, NINTH LIFE), and is a frequent guest in the media. She is also host of the long-running podcast, 'The Dream Show with Jane Teresa Anderson', and offers her online study and certificate courses through The Dream Academy.