Who is Charlemagne?

Since we started this project, I have had a lot of emails asking who the mysterious grey cat is hidden in each of the main paintings for the story.  So, I thought I would take a moment to talk about Charlemagne, or as he is referred to in the studio, Charlie. 

I adopted Charlie about nine years ago.  I had seen him several times at the open adoptions they held at my local pet store each weekend. I would go on Saturday to pick up pet food, or look at the animals. I was not intentionally looking for a cat, but Charlie had a certain mystery about him. The shelter said he had been returned to them a few different times since arriving in their care.  I was intrigued! Weekend after weekend, there he was.  A big grey, regal cat.  

On the third weekend I had decided if he was still there he was coming home with me.  I will admit I was disappointed to find his kennel empty.  His name tag was still hanging, but there was no Charlie.  I started to walk away, when one of the volunteers asked if I was looking to adopt.  I told them I had seen Charlie a few times, but was apparently too late.  But to my surprise, she pulled me into the back room where this cat king had somehow mind controlled all of the volunteers into not making him stay in his kennel, and feeding him copious amounts of treats. I took him home that day.  

All of the animals in the studio while I work on this series. Charlie takes the best seat in the house, of course.

All of the animals in the studio while I work on this series. Charlie takes the best seat in the house, of course.

Charlie was an old cat when I adopted him, and I often wonder what his life as like before he came to live with us. He reigns in my bedroom, under the bed.  While the other furry residence in our home gather by us for meals eager for scraps, Charlie silently watches from a distance.  Once he is assured that we are occupied, he will return to his domain.  Where we will hear (for nearly an hour straight every single day) banging and thumping.  Running.  Jumping.  As if he is fighting his own secret cat battle against unknown intruders in our home.  But when we enter the room, he is always still.  Silently watching. 

So, Justin and I wrote a book about a mystery surrounding an old mirror, an old man, and an old cat.  There is nothing more interesting to me than the secrets of the past.  And I know that cat of ours has some of his own.