How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin – 10 Random Things Blog Tour Stop


Every Friday the 13th, 6th grade genius and inventor extraordinaire Nate Bannister does three not-so-smart things to keep life interesting. This time, he taught a caterpillar math, mailed a love letter, and super-sized his cat Proton before turning him invisible.

As Nate and his new (well, only) friend Delphine race to stop Proton from crushing everyone and everything in town, they come face-to-face with Sir Jakob Maculte (the twenty-seventh lord of Mayberry Castle and leader of the nefarious Red Death Tea Society). Known for its criminal activity, killer tactics, and impressive tea brewing skills, the Red Death Tea Society will do anything to get in their way.

Nate and Delphine must pull out every mind-blowing gadget, half-perfected invention, and unproven but theoretically sound strategy they’ve got up their sleeves in order to survive to see Saturday the 14th!

Eisner winner Paul Tobin’s extraordinarily madcap middle grade debut features black and white illustrations from film talent Thierry Lafontaine and is the first of five novels in the series. – See more at:

Genius Factor vol. 1: How to Capture an Invisible Cat

Writer: Paul Tobin


1: I don’t trust cats. I like them. I like them very much. But I don’t trust them. They’re the friend that calls late at night to say that they want you to come out and do “something,” but they won’t tell you what. But… you go, because, well… the mystery I suppose. That’s why I chose a cat to be the giant invisible menace in this first book because, well… you KNOW a cat will misbehave.

2: Nate’s name is very simple, because I wanted him to just be a regular person. I wanted to make sure that his name didn’t become some “special” name, because then he feels almost less special to me. I really admired how J. K. Rowling had this fantastic world of wonder, full of strange and imaginative names, but… moving through this world was the young bespectacled boy… Harry Potter.

3: I’ve never worried TOO much about Friday the 13th, but I love the slight touch of superstition on Nate’s part. He’s a completely rational mind, so why did he choose such a date to schedule himself to do things that will, in all likelihood, cause chaos? I like this aspect of his personality, because I never believe that anybody is 100% anything.

4: Delphine, the story’s narrator, owes a lot to my early readings with Nancy Drew novels. I’ve always been fascinated with her adventures and characters, and she comes out in such projects as my Bandette series of graphic novels with my wife, artist Colleen Coover, and in the character of Patrice… Crazy Dave’s niece in my NYT best-selling “Plants Vs. Zombies” graphic novels, and of course in Delphine. Pippi Longstocking is another inspiration. I love me a good flippant adventurer.

5: I used to write Fantastic Four comics, and of course one of the characters is the super-stretchy Mr. Fantastic, who is far and away the smartest man in the Marvel Universe. He was HARD to write, because I am myself not a particularly smart genius. Because of this, when I began the Genius Factor novels, I knew I wanted the narrator to be NOT the genius, but the adventurer, because I personally understand adventure and curiosity far more than I understand how to harness the power of a miniature black hole into a jetbelt.

6: I definitely wanted both Nate and Delphine to have not only both their parents, but happy homes. I suppose I’ve read just a few too many “orphan” or “outcast within their own family” stories to feel any particular need to add another.

7: My wife drinks tea. A lot of it. I can’t stand the taste of it, and often even the smell makes my stomach uncomfortable. Because of this, the Red Death Tea Society was born into my novel. For the record, I do understand that tea is not actually a source of evil, so if you are a tea drinker I apologize for this inclusion.

8: I love cats, but I’m probably a dog person. Some of Bosper the dog’s personality is based on my favorite pet when I was a kid, a black Labrador that we named Red. For much of my life I had a ready answer for why we had named a black dog, “Red.” It was because we’d had an Irish Setter named Blackie, so it just seemed to fit. Then, one of my friends asked, why did you have a red dog named Blackie? I had no answer for that. Still don’t.

9: I think my first notions of combining a middle readers book with science came about when I was working at the big Powell’s Bookstore in downtown Portland. I was in charge of the sciences at the time, but the sciences shared the room with the children’s books, so I had to know all about them, too. And my thoughts of books that would combine these two interests was born.

10: Delphine’s name comes from a series of comics I’d been reading, the Delphine series by Richard Sala. The stories are a dark and mysterious supernatural murder mystery, and nothing at all like my Genius Factor stories, but the name of Delphine stuck in my head. It has connotations of mystery to me, but also adventure and a relentless search for knowledge. The Oracle at Delphi, of course, is connected, in some way. It’s all a big mess in my head. I love working with messes.

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