"Last night I experienced broken sleep in short half-hour bursts, during which I had the most vivid of dreams. I dreamed about hoards of cats fighting in a society; some for supremacy and others for survival and acceptance. It was essentially a dream about striving for equal rights.
I am often asked as an author, which works I most relished writing, which story was my most popular, which was my personal favourite and which am I likely to be remembered for after my passing. My answer to the first question is 'whichever one I am currently writing'. The answer to the second question is the two books endorsed by the late Princess Diana and which she used to read to her 7-9 year old sons, Princes William and Harry at bedtime, 'Douglas the Dragon' and 'Sleezy the Fox.' These books sold in their tens of thousands. The book I most enjoyed writing was the one about redundant miners which was dedicated to my late father and which represents my favourite Christmas-Day story of all time, 'Tales from the Allotments.'
The book or rather trilogy of books I shall no doubt be remembered for when I am no longer alive and which deals with discrimination across the world is undoubtedly, 'The Kilkenny Cat Trilogy.' It was these works and two other story books that brought me to the attention of the late Nelson Mandela who was to later phone me personally to describe three of my books which he'd read as being 'wonderful stories.'
The personal endorsement of Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela, along with 860 famous celebrities of national and international fame who read my books in Yorkshire schools between 1990 and 2002 ensured that I continued to receive as much ongoing press and media publicity that any author has a right to expect in one lifetime. I was introduced to collaborative work with the Jamaican Minister of Education and Culture in 2000 and worked in a unique trans-Atlantic pen-pal project to help produce greater understanding of different cultures and to reduce racism and discrimination between black and white pupils within thirty-two Jamaican schools in Falmouth and thirty-two schools in Yorkshire during 2000-2005.
The books which spearheaded this vital work was my 'Kilkenny Cat Trilogy' and because the stories represented my core beliefs upon discrimination and its evil, particularly those embracing racist views, I considered these three interlocking books to be a duty to write, along with being a privilege, as I know that they touched the minds and hearts of tens of thousands of black and white people in Jamaica, Ireland and England and hopefully encouraged some to think twice about their expressed words and intended actions at future times.
Another burning reason for me writing and publishing these three novels involved my historic need of recording changing times in our history. There was a period during the 1990's when a clash of cultures between the people of Northern England, especially between black and white residents, threatened our very stability and tolerance that as a nation, Great Britain has always displayed. I saw this disturbing development at the time as 'a sign of things to come.'
These three books are available from www.lulu.com and www.amazon.co.uk in hard copy and from www.smashwords.com in e-book format. All profits from their sales will be given to charity, tp accompany the £200,000 book profits given to charity from my book sales since 1989. From all my sixty-six published books, this trilogy represents seven years of writing and research by me to bring into production.
When first published seventeen years ago, over two thousand copies were given to schools in the old slave capital of Falmouth, Jamaica, and was placed on their school curriculum. For the following two years I liaised with the Mayor of Falmouth and all thirty-two of their schools, along with the Jamaican Minister for Youth Culture and Education in a trans-Atlantic pen-pal project between thirty-two Jamaican and thirty-two Yorkshire schools. This project and trilogy were reported on 'News 24' after it had come to the attention of the late Nelson Mandela, who phoned me personally to praise my writing in this field.
The stories are a must for all cat lovers and people who believe in the equality of all peoples and creatures in this world and the discrimination against none. This saga is suitable reading for anyone above between teenager and adult. The three stories are allegorical and deal with all manner of discrimination that can be found throughout the world today. The background to each story is Ireland, Jamacia and Northern England during the riots towards the end of the 20th Century respectively; and while all three books are linked in the family of cats over the generations, they can be read independently if preferred.
The story is told through the eyes of a travelling group of gypsy cats who encounter discrimination wherever they go; particularly in Ireland, Jamaica and Northern England during the riots towards the turn of the New Millennium. The lives and experiences of the cats mirror those of people in society today who happen to find themselves on the bottom rung of the ladder or who are in a minority that are discriminated against when they migrate from place to place.
This trilogy is thought-provoking. Being representative of the harsher side of life, it is often hard to stomach, as is life for many of today's citizens. I am proud to have penned it and I hope that any who read it, enjoy. William Forde. June 5th, 2017.