Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Can't write without Animals sneaking in...

I am one of those unusal people who really didn't grow up with a pet of my own. There were some attempts - some kittens that had distemper and disappeared, a big german shepherd who loved us but stayed in the yard and Dad gave him back to the breader when it became obvious that we didn't know how to train him and incorporate him into the family. My mom took care of my piano teacher's chijuajua for a few months before she gave it back. My sister's siamese cat died after being stepped on and almost throwing one of us down the basement stairs, and the dogs and horses the family had when they moved to the country were never mine.

So I had a very cautious relationship with animals during the first 50 years of my life.

Then one day, when a mama-cat had kittens in our woodpile, my teenaged daughter  wanted to keep two of them. I said, no, her dad didn't really want pets. She asked the fateful questions, "Why do we let him decide." Three cats (one that went with the same daughter when she married) a dog and a bird later, all rescues, I am without question a committed pet owner.

Now the animals are finding their way into my books. The found kittens are a part of Paige's recovery in More Than A Job. My little Calico is a key character in Animal Instinct. The bird has just found itself in the draft of the sequel, Survival Insttinct. My dog has a cameo in my third release this year, Return of Joy.

Oliver, my dog, is amazing. I really had no idea a person could love an animal so much, and always thought it was a bit odd. Then I walked into a local pet store to get cat food and walked out with an animal who has changed my life. He is also a certified therapy dog, one who visits people in hospitals and rehab and is a Tail Waggin' Tutor at a local library.

I have been careful to not include people I know in my books, for the most part. Now and then there may be a flash of some characteristic, but I attempt to steer clear. Animals, on the other hand, can't complain if you portray them differently than how they perceive themselves. And they have so many interesting behaviors that I can't resist...

So, authors, what is your animal story and do your pets find their way into your books?

1 comment:

  1. Huh, funny but animals never play a part of my writing. They probably should because I've had a dog that literally literally saved my mother's life; a dog whose last act was to lick my hand goodbye, and my last dog which in reality is a timber wolf and just as wild. I mean a real timber wolf--I looked them up and my "dog" and the wolf picture looked identical!
    I wonder why I've never thought to include my animals in my novels?
    Odd, I'll have to think about that!
    Great question!