Four-Legged Writing Partners

Speaking of my dog and drafts, I have to give credit where it’s due. Method and motive are two key ingredients to crime fiction. So are red herrings. As I wend my way through early drafts it’s not unusual to hit a snag where logic breaks down. This is where Emma comes in. When I get stuck, I take her for a walk. I’ve learned that she has little patience for me to suddenly stop and jot down ideas in a notebook so I take my phone to dictate instead.


I figured that I’m not the first author with a four-legged writing partner. This brought to mind a question for my fellow Miss Demeanors.


Dogs or cats?




Alexia: I prefer dogs but like dogs and cats. Saying I prefer dogs is sort of like saying I prefer chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to moose tracks. I’m not saying no to either but given the choice… I don’t have a concrete reason for the preference. Maybe because dogs seem more social. Having a cat would be like having two extreme introverts in the house. Dogs provide me with social interaction and force me to get out of the house.


Cate:I have an eight year old puggle (half pug, half beagle) who acts like a cat for half the day. Westley loves attention and affection, but also loves sitting in his favorite spot and sleeping away most of the day. He is very good company as I write. Petting him helped me distress from the more intense scenes in The Widower’s Wife and my upcoming book Lies She Told.

            Paula:  We have two dogs: 1) Freddie, the inspiration for FIXING FREDDIE: The True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle (Adams Media, 2010) and 2) Bear, our Newfoundland-retriever rescue, the inspiration for Susie Bear, the search-and-rescue dog in my mystery SPARE THESE STONES, coming in 2018 from Minotaur. We also have a tiger tabby named Ursula, the 8 1/2 pound Queen of All She Surveys, including dogs and humans. You’ll find both cats and dogs in my work, as well as in my life. They also keep me company as I noodle on my stories. Dogs are good for walking and hiking and snowshoeing and paddle boarding; cats are good for naps and reading and binge-watching British mysteries. All good for fueling my process creative process! Susan: I have two little cockapoos and they are my obsession. (They’re a mixture of cocker spaniel and poodle.) They keep me company when I’m writing and they take me for walks when I’m not. I also have two rescue cats with whom I have an amicable relationship. They don’t scratch me, and I feed them. When I was writing Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency, I knew I wanted her to have a pet. Maggie Dove seemed to me to be a rescuing sort of person, and so over the course of the novel she absorbs two cats. I’d love for her to take on a Golden Retriever, but I need to think more about that.               Michele: We have always had cats and dogs. At one point, my three children seemed to believe they were each entitled to their own individual dog and cat! The dogs were always golden retrievers, except for one little blonde cocker spaniel who crept into my heart, and the cats often tabbies. We lost our thirteen year old golden, Cheddar, in September. Three weeks later, our sixteen year old cat, Miss Dingle named after the town in Ireland, died of a broken heart. They were inseparable. Ours hearts have huge holes right now as we ponder how to continue to have pets when we have sprouted our own wings and travel.              Tracee: I have two Jack Russell terriers – Alvaro and Laika. Alvaro is the one who demands a walk, which is usually a good thing, although sometimes he wants the walk at the very worst time. Laika – named for the terrier sent up by the Russians in Sputnik – only wants lap time, sometimes I think she wants to be a cat. She certainly wants to be better friends with the neighborhood cats….our favorite is Malcolm who literally runs across the yard when my husband arrives. Ever faithful even though he’s technically the neighbors. We also have a Flemish Giant rabbit named Guinness who came with the house! She is perfectly lovely, a very very dark brown. When I need a completely understanding companion she’s the one to visit (she has her own house in the back yard). She is quiet and undemanding but always ready to cozy up in exchange for a carrot. The Jack Russells pretend they want to be friends, but based on their attitude to the squirrels I think it would end badly!  

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