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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pets Build Character

When I was growing up, my parents allowed my sisters and me to get a cat when were old enough to care for it. I think they felt that the responsibility for a living creature would build character in each of us. And my husband and I did the same thing with our children. But in my books, I often give one of my characters a pet in order to further build their character, or paint a more complete portrait of who that person is. 

In my WIP, my heroine's father came and went while she was growing up. She never really attached well to him because she was protecting herself from the inevitable hurt when he left. So instead of giving her a dog or cat that she could grow too attached to, I gave her a goldfish!

My heroine in Burning Touch, an erotic romantic suspense novel, Devon, the heroine, rescues cats because her folks died in a car crash and she felt helpless to rescue them. 

In Tropic of Trouble, also an erotic romantic suspense, corrections Sergeant Jason Jones is a tough guy. And he has a tough guy dog - a German Sheppard. 

I often use a pet's name to convey something about their owner. A modern day witch in one of my works in progress has a cat (which isn't the cliche black), named Valiente. A reader might have to dig a little to figure that one out. Doreen Valiente was a British witch who lobbied to repeal the law that made witchcraft a crime in England. 

Our choices in pets are just one of the many facets that make characters and people who they are. I've posted a picture of my sweet kitty below. She's the best, most sensitive cat we've ever had and she is also my writing buddy. 

What about you? Is there a special pet in your life?


Anne Marie Becker said...

Cute kittie. :) I have two cats, and we may be getting two more soon, now that my youngest is old enough to take care of one himself. (And you can't get just one, right?)

I have had pets in a couple of my my first, the heroine's cat, Sigmund (the heroine's a psychiatrist), has a part to play in the storyline. In my third book, there's a dog. In the other two stories, there's some traveling involved as they investigate the case, so it's hard to involve pets...though that might add a new level of tension. ;)

Wynter Daniels said...

Wow, Anne Marie - 4 cats? You're a better woman than I;-) Ah ha - Sigmund for a psychiatrist - purfect!

Rita said...

ALas I wasn't allowed to have pets. That may be a clue to my character problems. My kids had snakes (one grew to over 12ft) hundreds of gerbils, rabbits, parakeets, an iguana, and dogs and cats. Gawd. I was crazy.

Elise Warner said...

Don't have a pet now. I did have Jackie, a toy poodle, who lived to almost sixteen and often sat on my lap when I wrote. I used a goldfish as a pet for Augusta Weidenmaier and in the book I'm writing now the murdered actress was given a toy poodle by one of her lovers. His name is Edwin Forrest.

Wynter Daniels said...

Wow Rita - a 12 foot snake! Sounds like your kids had quite the menagerie!

Wynter Daniels said...

Elise - A 16 year old toy poodle? That's amazing. I love that you gave the actress the same kind of dog. Love his name;-)

Shelley Munro said...

I'm a farm girl, so I have a real soft spot for animals. We have a puppy - actually older than a puppy now since she's almost three - that we adopted from the Humane Society. She's a bright, energetic dog who keeps us hopping and makes us laugh.

I like animals in books too. :)

Wynter Daniels said...

Shelley - glad you rescued a pup. That's how I've always gotten my animals.

Marcelle Dubé said...

I never use pets in my books and you know, until your post, I had never even noticed!

We had cats when I was growing up, but only because they would follow my mother home.:-) The moment I left home, we realized that I was allergic to them, which explained a lot...

Wynter Daniels said...

Marcelle - maybe we'll be seeing an animal in your next book;-)

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