by Sandra Elzie
How many times have you read a book where there’s a pet that steals the show?
I’ve read a couple over the past several decades of reading romance, but usually an author tosses one in and then you seldom see that animal again.
Stop and think how involved your pet is in your daily life and then consider how often you mention that pet in the book you’re writing…if you’ve added one…or how often other authors mention the pet in a book. You’d think the poor darlings are starving to death since they’re never fed…even in passing while the hero and heroine are talking. We won’t get into the fact that they’re seldom, if ever, let outside to do their private business…they’re just a convenient tool to bark when the bad guy is sneaking around at night.
Since I’ve got everything ready for the releases I’m doing the rest of this year, I’m hard at work on next year’s releases. I have a series about some sisters and in the first one, the hero owns a dog. Not just any old dog, but one who knows how to steal a scene. In one scene of Watch For The Dawn, (Book 1 of the upcoming Dawn series) the pooch did exact that on numerous occasions. I didn’t originally plan it that way, but the dog took over and his personality slipped out onto the page.n I’ll give you a little example of Rusty and his scene-stealing techniques.
Heroine is driving in the mountains during a blizzard that arrived sooner than expected and slides into a snowbank & is knocked unconscious. Hero, who is an off-duty cop, and his trusty dog, Rusty, are on the way back to a borrowed cabin after buying food. They come upon the wrecked car. He loads her into his van since she needs medical attention and she needs to be warmed up…fast.
Before starting the engine, Steve twisted around one last time to check on his patient. He chuckled at the sight of Rusty stretching as far as possible toward the rear seat so he could sniff the person laying there and yet stay in the front as ordered.
“Rusty,” Steve gently admonished. Rusty turned innocent eyes toward his master before dropping his gaze and rearranging himself to more-or-less fit in the passenger seat. With his chin on his paws and his eyes watching for any sign that his master might change his mind, he finally heaved a big sigh and closed his eyes.
Steve continued to smile as he watched one hundred pounds of golden Lab hang over the edges of the seat, while giving the appearance of being content and comfortable.
Rusty is constantly in the story and later warns them in time for them to escape danger without injury. The point is, Rusty didn’t just get mentioned in the beginning and then bark on cue where I needed him to warn them of danger. Because the dog was going to be in the story so much, I wanted him to be lovable…and I don’t think Rusty will disappoint the reader.
Have you ever put animals in your stories? Do you like to read stories that have animals?
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