An Interview with Haee by R.S. Vern

This is an interview with Haee by R.S. Vern. Haee is a middling cat from book collection “Haee and the other middlings” created by R.S. Vern. Silent and pensive most of the time, this is the first time he has granted an interview to a human being. After the interview, R.S. Vern revealed she thought she knew Haee, but actually, she does not now. The interview ended abruptly with Haee walking away.

Minuted by Middling Industries

R.S. Vern: So how do you feel now that people are reading about you?
Haee: *blink *blink *purr….  Life goes on. I still eat, sleep, poo, daydream, wait for death.

R.S. Vern: What’s your favorite drink?
Haee: Root – beer. Preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

R.S. Vern: What’s your favorite food?
Haee: Chopped chicken liver is my all time favorite. Occasionally, I like nibbling on prickly plants… just to tickle my throat.

R.S. Vern: Favorite song?
Haee: Currently, it’s “Bad Guy” by Billie Ellish.

R.S. Vern: What’s your favorite TV channel?
Haee: MTV.

R.S. Vern: Do you have an all time favorite book?
Haee: “The Outsider” by Albert Camus. I am intrigued by the character of Meursault. I respect anyone who would die for truth, even if the truth is hard to bear or accept.
When Meursault was sentenced to death at the end, he told the chaplain he had naturally wished for another life sometime. But it meant nothing more than wishing he was rich or could swim faster. It was the same thing and he said finally, “One which would remind me of this life.”
That’s one intriguing statement.

R.S. Vern: Any literary hero?
Haee: Quasimodo, the tragic hero from Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo. He’s romantically humane beneath that totally deformed outer body.

R.S. Vern: Is there a particular book you enjoy reading during rainy days?
Haee: “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Reading it always reminds me the importance of simple things like a piece of bread, a book, a match, a string and most importantly, what freedom means.

R.S. Vern: What do you plan to read next?
Haee: I was just picking up “Down and out in Paris and London” by George Orwell.

R.S. Vern: Ok. Getting back to favorites. Do you have a favorite colour?
Haee: Are you trying to be funny? I’m color blind.

R.S. Vern: Em… ok. Sorry… (Embarrassed)
Haee: Don’t be sorry. There’s nothing to be sorry about. I’m still alive.

R.S. Vern: Oh… ok. Yes. So do you have any favorite food?
Haee: You asked me that earlier.

R.S. Vern: Oh… sorry…
Haee: Stop saying sorry.

R.S. Vern: (Clears throat) If there’s one thing you can change about the world, what would it be?
Haee: To have better and cleaner air in the city.

R.S. Vern: Have you ever wished you could be something else other than a cat?
Haee: I don’t mind being a cat. But sometimes I wish I could walk on 2 legs and not 4. Like you.

R.S. Vern: Why is that?
Haee: Then I can be a bit more normal and perhaps taller.

R.S. Vern: Huh?
Haee: (Rolls eyes)

The interview ended abruptly here as Haee walked away.

Beautifully Illustrated and Thought Provoking Modern Day Allegory

This is the simple but poignant story of Haee, a cat with a crooked tail who lives a comfortable and worry-free life with his loving family.

One day, curious Haee goes exploring in a black hole and gets lost. Haee is discovered by Tom and Jane. Tom and Jane take Haee home and give Haee everything he could possibly need or want. Though they appear to be a perfect couple living a perfect life filled with good jobs, exercise, organic food, sleep, a nice car and everything they need, Tom is secretly dissatisfied with the busy urban life and wishes for clean fresh air and Jane wishes she were a bird and could fly away and see the world.

Haee, in spite of his pampered life, treats and his part in making the house run smoothly, discovers that he, too, is missing something. So one day Haee decides to go play with the cats in the alley and make friends with Whie – the one cat that all the other cats ignore because of her big red nose.  Haee enjoys being with Whie so much that he does not return to Tom and Jane.

The first in a trilogy, this story centers on the themes of need versus want, self-fulfillment and motivation. Author R.S. Vern introduces the concept of “Middlings” to the reader in the introduction, explaining that Middlings are those who appear to have it all, are independent, respect non-conformists and the environment but feel “apart from it all”. They also often ask themselves: “Are we not as happy as those who are much better off in this world?”

Haee, Tom and Jane are all Middlings who appear to have everything they could possibly need and want to be comfortable. But, as the evocative and enticingly detailed pen-line illustrations show, there is an underlying sense of dissatisfaction that grows in spite of all “needs” being met. Realizing this, Haee acts on his desires leaves the comfort of home in search of more satisfying life.

The ending comes somewhat abruptly, leaving a sense that the story is incomplete, however Vern does effectively brings to light the question about whether or not having it all is really the paradigm for the middle class working Tom and Jane, and whether Haee, or any other Middling, is really living more if they are less “comfortable”.

Vern’s story is engaging on many levels and the mostly-black-and-white illustrations add a contemporary and stylish elegance to the clean, crisp layout of the ebook that also features pop up text boxes when narrative is double clicked.

HAEE is a beautifully illustrated and thought-provoking modern-day allegory suitable for older children and grown-ups alike.

Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader.

R.S. Vern wins the IndieReader Discovery Awards 2013!

Haee The cat with a crooked tail book cover wins

Middling Industries proudly announces “Haee The cat with a crooked tail” as the winner of IndieReader Discovery Awards 2013 under kid’s category. First published in June 2012, this is the first book in its series “Haee and the other middlings”.

R.S. Vern, creator and author of this series, says she is deeply encouraged by this win. When she first started writing this series, her purpose was to deter children from wanting to grow up too fast and furious. Through the ingenious eyes of a cat, she pans out a story about the endless frustrations and dilemmas grown ups face in this middling world of the 21st century.

R.S. Vern calls herself one serious middling – urbanised, bored, most of the time, confused. She recounts a particular incident at a dinner party which left her a deep imprint that fueled her writing on middlings.

“I was at a dinner party surrounded by great friends, drinking myself silly when I suddenly looked around me and I felt very alone. I was listening and not listening at the same time when the hostess was giving her speech and I had all kinds of silly thoughts running through my mind. What if I was born differently? What if this was the 1940s? What if George Clooney truly asked me out for breakfast? Would I say yes? What if Lady Gaga was my girlfriend? Would I start wearing her underwear? But there wasn’t any what-ifs. There was only as-is. The present, the truth and you.” – R.S. Vern

Middlings, as R.S. Vern defines, almost always wish they can have a different life. Even when you drive a fast car, have a great career, a great bunch of friends to hang out with, you’ll still think of having another life. And you feel trapped when 99% of the time, you are almost never going to have that other life. You go on searching for new experiences, at times feeling lost and aimless. But Vern believes there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So for you alone, bored and lost people out there, take on chance on this very peculiar indie read.

About IndieReader Discovery Award
The goal of the annual IndieReader Discovery Award (IRDA) is to find talented writers and great books and is open to all self-published books with a valid ISBN. Judging is based on the quality of writing and the originality of the story. The judging panel includes top agents, traditional publishers, PR people, bloggers, and book reviewers. More information here.

Not a Classic in the Canon of Illustrated Kid’s Fiction

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The art of children’s fiction lies in its emotional resonance and imaginative scope. Quite simply, a book without either of these factors is simply an illustrated waste of time. “The Unconventional Life of Haee” is the story of a cat who leaves a comfortable home in search of adventure. He wanders into a back alley where other cats hunt insects, vermin, and chew on the leftovers from a poorly-run pizza shop. An outcast cat named Whie temporarily manages to convince the other cats to give up their hunting in favor of a vegetarian, all-pizza diet, thus creating a utopia known as “Green Alley.” Eventually, a huge, somewhat thuggish interloper cat named Samzie invades the alley and refuses to abide by the rules. The pizza shop closes, the cats scatter, and Haee, the titular cat and hero of our story, moves on.

In terms of emotional resonance, “The Unconventional Life of Haee” is immediately engaging to the reader. The cats humorously impersonate feelings of wanderlust, unconventionality, and stubbornness. The imaginative quality of the story is less stellar, in part because many of the accompanying illustrations are repeated. Whether this repetition occurs in order to save the effort of coming up with a new image or as part of a weak stab at humor is unclear. However, when the cats interact with one another, the book is funny, if only because the interactions hint at the complexity of real human societies.

While “The Unconventional Life of Haee” is bold in its attempt to tackle serious issues of conservation, group dynamics and the importance of hygiene in the work place, it is not a classic in the canon of illustrated kid’s fiction. However, it does provide a welcome chuckle, even to the most hardened reader.

Reviewed by Julia Lai for IndieReader.

“One of those books you can turn to again and again and find different things, dependent upon your mood.” – Kindle Book Review

Book 1: Haee The cat with a Crooked Tail

This is an interesting book, focusing on the ideas of need versus want, what is self-fulfillment and exploring our motivations.

It’s a short read, interspersed with beautiful images of Haee and the other characters.

I’m not sure that I really ‘got’ this book on the first read, and I suspect it is one of those books that you can turn to again and again and find different things, dependent upon your mood.

It is thought provoking as we see the human characters stuck in a life they think they should lead, rather than the one they want to lead. I suspect that a young adolescent would take the most from this book as they sit at a crossroad in life, making choices that will impact their future.

All in all an intriguing, well designed ebook. It is well edited and a well thought out and put together package.

Book 2: The Unconventional Life of Haee

Another wonderfully illustrated book from R.S. Vern, again following the life of Haee, the middling cat.

This book again observes those that are not quite pursuing a ‘normal’ life but also looks at the consequences of everyone being a middling… it doesn’t quite work, everyone (and thing) has a place in the world, and they contribute, each in their own way, no matter how trivial that contribution may be!

The images in the book are again wonderful, and really capture the idea of Haee and his other friends.

Certainly a quick and easy read that will provoke different ideas each time you pause to read it.

Reviewed by Sarah Burns for The Kindle Book Review

5 stars for “Haee’s Quest for the Greater Prairie”

“Haee’s Quest for the Greater Prairie” received another 5 star book review rating from Readers’ Favorite. Read and reviewed by readers, this 3rd book from trilogy series “Haee and the other middlings” is an endearing and poignant story about a cat’s life in a middling city. Through the eyes of  black cat Haee, this final book sums up what many of us experience in life’s various stages – our constant thirst for the extraordinary mostly, out of boredom and curiosity; only to culminate in a much poignant view on a somewhat very un-extraordinary middling life.

“This book is appealing to all age groups. The simplicity and originality of the theme is endearing. It is the kind of story that everyone will enjoy reading. Middling City, Haee, and the beautiful illustrations make the book exciting to readers. Those who have already read the first and the second parts will definitely love this book. The black and white sketches are beautiful, thought provoking, and original, and they give a personality to the characters mentioned in the story.” – Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite

Read full review here.

A 5 Stars Book Review by Readers Favorite

A 5 star book review for "Haee The cat with a crooked tail" by R.S. Vern

“Haee The Cat with a Crooked Tail” received a 5 – stars book review.

“Are we not as happy as those who are much better off in this world?” After this statement I was hooked! Then seeing that first cat just blew me away! I love all the artwork! Haee gets restless with his life and decides to go looking for adventure and through his adventure he gets lost in a black hole but he meets a new family. He stays with the new family for years observing what they do and how they live their lives. He then again gets restless and decides to go on a new adventure with a street cat. This is where book two starts.

This book was very cute. I loved the wonderful drawings. The only drawing I had an issue with was the one on smoking. The drawings are really what make this book so cute. I can’t wait to get a hold of the rest of them and I think I am a middling as well!” – Reviewed by Jessica Porter for Readers Favorite