Behind the Scenes: The Cats

IMG_5681No, not these cats.

Part 3 of the story of how my upcoming psychological suspense–ghost story–historical trilogy came to be, starts off rather mundane, but then, all the pieces fall into place so bear with me…

(Read Part 1, Read Part 2)

Recently, my mother was passing by Los Gatos High School where I spent three of my four high school years. She took a photograph of the transformed tree near the edge of the massive front lawn.

A Sequoia Redwood that stood near the front of the school had become a victim of the lengthy California drought. Shortly after the tree was removed, leaving twelve feet of its trunk as a reminder, a self-taught artist from Germany transformed it.Los Gatos High School Cat - Cathryn Grant

When I saw the photograph my mother sent, I realized the cat carved from the remains of the Sequoia mirrored the cat statues standing at the entrance to The Cats Estate just outside of Los Gatos.

I Googled an image of those cats to verify my impression. I was then reminded of my fascination with this estate. Part of my interest came from the secretive nature of it…the property looks magnificent, but it’s private and nothing is visible but those two regal cats and that road leading up into the foothills. Today, a gate stands beteween the cats. cats estate Cathryn Grant

Because the property was recently sold, some images of the buildings are now available on Google.

The Cats estate Cathryn GrantThe other reason for my interest was because, during high school, I worked at a sandwich shop that was owned by the woman who also owned The Cats property at the time, so I’d been curious about it most of my life.

Memories led me to check when the estate was built — 1925. When I read about the couple who built it and lived there until the husband’s death, my imagination stirred the back corners of my mind.

As fast as Google could fly, I discovered that Agnews opened in 1885, and the mental ward at the San Francisco Presidio Army Hospital opened in 1918. Suddenly it was clear! A single character — a nurse, perhaps — could be associated with each setting in the course of her lifetime.

And now, I had the thread for a trilogy based on three settings that have haunted me for years.

If all goes according to plan, I expect the first novel to be published in 2019.

Through this blog, I’ll record my journey into history. I graduated from college with a degree in History. A degree that’s been sadly unused since the day I accepted my diploma (aside from this dip into the past with my previous ghostly trilogy). Not that my degree will help me much, but it seemed worth mentioning.

I expect a lot of what intrigues me and sends me into obscure corners of the past won’t make it into the novels, but the trip will be a blast.

 

 

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