Living in rural Cambridgeshire as a child for several years, while my parents sampled the ‘Good Life’, we had lots of pets and animals – dogs, farm cats, chickens, ferrets and a pony. But it’s the dogs in particular that deserve a mention. My eldest brother had a tendency to rescue, adopt or foster any four legged canine that needed looking after. Fortunately, we had plenty of land and outbuildings for our guests, which included, a Jack Russell, a Greyhound, an Old English Sheepdog, a Doberman and a German Pointer – although not all at the same time. My mum might have been easy going, but she would have drawn the line at that, I’m sure.
At the time, we also had our own family pet dog, Tramp, so it’s no surprise that I’ve grown up to be something of a dog lover and enjoy it when pets pop up in a novel. They can be a great tool for showing another side to the characters in a book. Despite my dog bias, it’s cats who have appeared in my last two novels. Okay, the first time in Closing In, Scruffs only had a cameo role but in that one paragraph, he allowed the reader see the not quite so nice side of one of the characters. Don’t worry, no harm came to Scruffs.
In The Half Truth, my heroine, Tina Bolotnikov had a pet cat called Rascal who wasn’t there to show another side to Tina, but he helped her solve a couple of mysterious happenings in the house. Rascal in the book was directly taken from a real life Rascal, belonging to my friend and Romaniac pal, Laura E. James. When I visited Laura last year, Rascal and I became firm friends so it was a natural choice for my character’s pet.
My current WIP has a dog in it – he’s a terrier, although I haven’t made up my mind what breed of terrier, so far he’s been a Jack Russell, a Highland Terrier and an Airedale. He’s been really useful as my hero confides in him and tells him a few things that he wouldn’t necessarily want anyone else to know.
Anyway, I thought I’d share a few photos of my own pets, past and present.