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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Clowders by Vanessa Morgan - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Anniek

Aidan lives in America with his wife Jess and daughter Eleonore. Aidan has always been a nomad and is used to moving around a lot. When he gets a job as a veterinarian in Clervaux, Luxembourg, they pack up their belongings and move to Europe. Clervaux is a small town that has more cats than human residents. It's also know as 'cat haven'. Tourists go there all the time to meet the cats and to buy cat themed souvenirs from the local shops. Having a cat themselves you'd think that Aidan and his family would fit right in. Aidan soon finds out that the cats are worshipped by the local residents. Is Clervaux really their new home like they thought it would be?

Jess and Aidan are very different. Jess likes to stay home and is perfectly fine with being with her own little family. If it would have been up to her the move would never have happened. She follows Aidan to keep their family together and is trying to make a new life for her and Eleonore. Aidan works long hours, because there's always a cat that needs medical care. Jess feels watched, hears strange noises in their house and food mysteriously disappears. When she gets into a car accident that cost the life of a cat, their new found friends change their behavior and stay away from them. Legend says that for every cat that doesn't die of a natural cause, nine human lives are taken as punishment by the protector of the cats, Tengu. If this legend is true Jess's days are numbered, who will be safe and who will be taken by the Tengu?

Aidan thought he was doing the right thing by moving to Europe. He needs this change to feel alive again. In the beginning he thinks that being in Clervaux will help his family to go back to the loving unit they once were, but in reality he's more away than at home. If Clervaux teaches Jess one thing, it's that she'll no longer stay quiet just to please others. She has her flaws, but she's learning to be strong and independent. Eleonore is a bright and sweet young girl and I loved how she connects with other people. Aidan and Jess love each other deeply, but they need a wake up call to remind themselves why they fell in love in the first place. I was really hoping that it wouldn't be to late for them to work through their differences.

Clowders is a bone chilling story about cats and their protector. I loved that the story takes place in Luxembourg since this is a country I've been to myself. Clervaux is an existing place and this made the story come to life even more. I love animals and we had several cats when I was a young girl. Cats are animals with a mind of their own and this suits the story perfectly. Vanessa Morgan's vivid descriptions of the town and the cats made it easy for me to picture the story in my mind. The creepiness never leaves the story and I was eager to find out how it would end for Aidan and his family. I'm a big fan of creepy stories and loved this surprisingly scary book.


If you love to read frightening stories about animals Clowders would be a perfect choice.

About Vanessa Morgan

Celluloid Diaries is a lifestyle movie magazine, focusing not only on movie recommendations but also filming locations, movie night ideas, film festivals, exhibitions, movie premieres, and behind-the-scenes coverage.

After graduating, founder Vanessa Morgan launched her career as a freelance film critic and journalist, writing for over a dozen Belgian magazines and newspapers. She has since also published a horror movie reference guide, a memoir, a novel, a short story, and three screenplays. Three of her stories have become movies.

When she’s not writing or watching movies, you can probably find her photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats.

She lives in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe, Belgium.


Guest post by Vanessa Morgan

I have a confession.

It often happens that I base the main characters in my supernatural thrillers on actors and actresses. As soon as I have the right actor in mind, I basically write the part for them. It really helps in having a clear vision for what the characters look like, their body language, little quirks and behaviors, etc.

For Clowders, I took this concept (unconsciously) a step further. When I started plotting and writing the book, I used the actors' names in my manuscript as a reminder of what those characters should be like. The idea was to change the names later. But after a few months of writing the novel, I couldn't imagine the characters with other names anymore.

If you've read Clowders, can you guess on which Hollywood stars the characters are based? Otherwise, let's dive right into the actors and actresses that I used as a basis for my novel.

Jessica Chastain as Jess

There was no doubt about it that I wanted Jessica Chastain to play the lead. She has that ideal combination of sexy, kind, grounded, yet vulnerable that characterize this part.

Aidan Gillen as Aidan

Most of you will know Aidan Gillen as Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish in Game of Thrones, but that's not the type I had in mind for Clowders. However, I imagined him a lot like Aidan Gillen's part in Wake Wood. He had to have some kind of arrogance about him, yet the reader should also be able to see him as the family man.

Lorenza Izzo as Lorenza

Lorenza had to be beautiful and sexy. She knows how to seduce men, but at the same time, she had to get under your skin in a negative way. That's why I thought of Lorenza Izzo's part in Knock Knock, but without all the torture and evilness. As I found her so unlikeable, I had a hard time making her relatable. Why would someone even react this way? To solve this problem, I used some of my own fears and traumas - things I'm not proud of but have luckily overcome - and made Lorenza react in the exact opposite way of what I did.

Seth Rogen as David

David had to be instantly likable - the smiling guy who's always ready for a joke. I don't think Seth Rogen would be as whiny as David, though. And I also don't think he's wearing cat T-shirts every day. Also, I had to change the name in this case as Seth is rarely heard in Luxembourg.

Ed Harris as Mr. Debaillie

Okay, this character wasn't based on an actor, but Ed Harris fits the bill perfectly. His face is very much what I had in mind for this Clowders character. And I can easily imagine Ed Harris as the righteous cop who can become quite nasty and even frightening in certain situations.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Clowders by Vanessa Morgan.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Clowders sounds like an atmospheric and original story that is both riveting and chilling.

  2. I love that she chose Ed Harris. Perfect for the character! This was a deliciously wicked story.

  3. Sounds really mysterious and frightening. I am imagining the film with the dream cast, i am sure it would be great.

  4. Just the cover is chilling. A book I will definitely enjoy.

  5. I entered The Territory paperback giveaway instead of giveaway 3 on the sidebar. I didn't know that it was over when i hit enter on the form. Sorry about that.

  6. As I called my eldest son Aiden 21 years ago, I always love when I see it used on tv or in books - really makes me wanna read it!!

  7. I've seen this book before and it gives me the chills lol

  8. I love the cover.

  9. This sounds very mysterious and I love the cover. Be on my TBR mountain range now.

  10. Michelle FergusonApril 8, 2018 at 9:22 PM

    This looks like a really good read, fingers crossed

  11. I'm a cat lover and have been tolerated by quite a few over the years but that cover is really creepy!

  12. I really enjoyed this guest post and it was very interesting. Pairing actors with your characters is a great idea.