Friday, 20 January 2017

Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet


Welcome to the shadowy and not-so-shadowy space behind Sally's books. That's Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. This preamble will be pasted to the top of each post, so feel free to skip it in future.

 The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist.

Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet (Post 20)

Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet (2015) scurried into my life a few years ago, squeaking excitedly and informing me he was Indiana Jones... sort of. I told him he wasn't because he didn't have a hat. He just looked at me and said, in the most sarcastic squeak ever- "Lady, I'm a rat. Why would I want a hat?"

Okay, so it didn't quite happen like that, but Ramses did pop into my mind fully-fledged one day. We were driving into town to do some shopping when his name arrived by express from somewhere in the depths of my brain. As soon as my husband parked the car, I nipped into a newsagent and bought a small pad and pencil to write it down. A few days later, I wrote the first story.

Ramses is a rat, living in ancient Egypt. As with any self-respecting rat, he is clean, intelligent, adventurous and curious. He is dedicated to the search for food, but he wants more than that; he wants his place in the world. Having been born in a VIP (Very Important Pyramid) gives Ramses a high opinion of himself, so when he goes to find his fortunes in a city, he heads for the temple.

Here, he befriends old Ka, an ancient rat living by the Nile, makes the acquaintance of Tau, the young scribe, rouses the enmity of The Rats of the Nile, and has a truly whisker-shaking encounter with Bastet, the Great Cat, who threatens to eat him. Impressed by his courage and quick-thinking, Bastet grants him the boon of human speech for as long as he is within the temple. This allows Ramses to make friends with young Tau, who undertakes to write down his adventures.

As well as being an adventure story, I wanted Ramses's world to be as accurate as possible. He explains terms in his glossary, using information from Tau as well as his own keen observation.
I already knew quite a lot about Ancient Egypt owing to a childhood fascination with the Greek, Roman and Norse pantheons and later interest in books by Elizabeth Peters, Eloise Jarvis, and various gee-whiz publications on mummies, pyramids and tombs. I also knew quite a lot about rats, as we used to keep them as pets. Much of Ramses's expressed opinion and philosophy comes directly from my experience with these pets.

I wanted illustrations for Ramses, so I hired a few illustrators to do me character sketches. Most failed to get Ramses's character right; he would look too servile, or too humanised. Finally I found someone who drew cartoon-like illustrations which I thought caught the personalities of the characters. You can see Tau with Ramses on the mug on the left of this picture.

I also hired a musician to write me a theme tune for Ramses. You can hear that by going to THIS SITE and clicking on the sound link at the top.
Ramses Rat and the Great Cat Bastet is available as a paperback, ebook and audio book (though I haven't worked out how to distribute this yet!) and his image appears on mugs and tee-shirts.

A new Ramses story, Ramses Rat and the Guardian of the Crown is in the works as of January 2017. To buy Ramses in paperback or ebook, click on the BUY ME link under the cover picture, or go to
To order a tee-shirt or a mug, write to me at sodgers(AT)


  1. I'm enjoying these 'behind the scenes' stories about your many books, Sally!

    1. Thanks! I'm having fun going down Memory Lanes


Thanks for reading