By Liz, happy to welcome Amy Lillard, a fellow animal lover – and of course author- to the Wickeds! I love Amy’s post about how, despite her love for cats, her books usually have dogs in them. Take it away, Amy!
Readers are always asking me if the characters in my books reflect the people around me and how much of myself do I add to the story. A lot, I tell them, and sometimes not much at all. I agree with Tennyson who said, “I am a part of all that I have met.” Writing is very much the same. It’s impossible not to add little pieces of yourself along the way. Though sometimes as writers we add more (or less) than we do other times.
A few years ago I happened to notice that I tend to add dogs to my books. Which is not earth-shatteringly innovative. I’m not sure how it started, just one day I realized that almost all my books have one canine or another. I guess that’s not too spectacular except…I am not a dog person.
All of my adult life (and most of my childhood) I have had a cat. Currently I have two. But I am surrounded by dog people. Everyone in my family including my son has a dog, or two. My older sister has four! But not me. I’m all about the cats. Oh, I’ve had a dog. I had a great beagle that I supposedly got for my son, but who ended up being a wonderful family pet, adored by all.
The first book I purposely added a dog to was a romance. The dog was Bruno from Can’t Buy Me Love. He was patterned after Kizzy, the dog my dad’s girlfriend had when I was in high school. Bruno (and Kizzy) were both black Tiny Toy poodles. I adored that dog, Kizzy, that is. But I have say Bruno was a lot of fun too, if only on the page. Then came other dogs in my romances: a sheepdog in one, a Chihuahua in another, a German shepherd with separation anxiety, and on and on.
Fast forward a couple of years and I start writing mysteries. By now my precious beagle had crossed the rainbow bridge. What better way to commemorate him than by adding him to one of my series? That’s how the puppies came about in the Kappy King Mystery Series. The main dog in the book is Elmer. My dog was Ammo. Now, Ammo didn’t seem to be the best name for an Amish dog. But what could I change it to? When we would tell people Ammo’s name, a lot of them thought we were saying Elmo. For obvious reasons, I decided to alter it a bit more for my books. That’s how Elmer was born.
That was fun, adding my dog to a book. So I decided to add more real-life dogs to my fiction stories. My Main Street Book Club Mystery Series has a very large and very talkative Airedale named Dewey. In real life Dewey’s name is…well, Dewey, and he belongs to my best friend. I also added my next-door neighbor’s hyper hyper hyper (did I mention he was hyper?) Jack Russell to Marry Me, Millie. (Sorry mystery readers, we’re back at romance once more.)
My latest mystery, Dairy, Dairy, Quite Contrary has the cutest cover with the cutest dog up front and center. In the book he’s Duke and in the dedication you can learn how he got his name. In real life, he’s Bentley, a.k.a. Batman. Batty is my younger sister’s dog. He’s the perfect sidekick for my mystery-solving, advice-giving, table-waiting heroine, Sissy Yoder. Duke (and Batman) are Yorkies. Very small Yorkies. Like three pounds of love and fur…I mean, three pounds of ferocious canine. (Well, they think they are ferocious. Who are we to tell them any differently?)
So I guess you could say that I’m a dog-loving cat person. And I have more dogs I want to add. My neighbor’s Shelty, the pit bull across the street, and my son’s ginormous Great Pyrenees, just to name a few. So why dogs and not cats? I have no idea. The dogs are just there. Like they were part of the story before I even got started.
I have added cats to a couple of my books. The project I’m working on now has a cat, though he won’t take a big part in the story for a while. If at all. (And it’s a proposal which means maybe it could be a book someday, or maybe it won’t.) And I haven’t gotten into the story far enough to see if there’s a dog lurking around a corner somewhere.
I suppose cats are a little harder to add in because they sleep like thirty-nine hours a day. Maybe it’s because they can’t (or won’t) fetch the paper or learn any tricks. Or maybe, just maybe, dogs can be more fun. What? Who said that? Certainly not me, because I am a cat person.
Readers, what about you? Cats or dogs? Leave a comment below.
Amy loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family…and maybe homemade tacos…and nail polish. But reading and writing are definitely way up on the list.
Born and bred in Mississippi, Amy is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband and two spoiled cats. ^..^
When she’s not creating happy endings, she has a variety of hobbies, but her favorite is whatever gets her out of housework.
Amy is an award winning author with more than fifty novels and novellas in print. She loves to hear from readers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, TikTok, and Pinterest.
I’m definitely a cat person. I have a bad back and am unable to take a dog for walks. Cats practically take care of themselves but the 3 of them are waiting for me to feed them when I wake up, watching my every move. I enjoy the company of a cat or 3 when I am laying down to read even when I have to take breaks to give them some lovings.
Welcome to the blog, Amy! I’m definitely a cat person, but I’ve also added a dog to more than one series. I’ve also included all of my real cats. Birdy, who is no longer with us, even makes the cover of every Country Store mystery.
Love both, Amy. I was a dog-only fan until little Rusty stole my heart. The tabby torments my dog Rango, but he loves it. Rusty shows promise of learning tricks as he comes when called (by my wife, not me — he must sense my prior dog-only penchant).
I used to have a cat that would come when I called. But now they both come running when I open the cabinet where their food is kept! LOL
Definitely a cat person here. I’ve memorialized several of my beloved felines in my books. I have a new series coming that (gasp!) has no pets in it! At least not in the first one. I’m pretty sure there will be a stray moving in by the second one though.
What? No pets? You must add a stray! I can’t imagine a world without pets. Even a make-believe one!
I adore both but, in books, dogs are especially fun. Put a dog (or cat) on the front cover and I’m hooked!
Cat lover here!! But, like you, I love dogs – well, all animals really, and I’m thinking maybe dogs work well in books because they really need people like allll the time! I’ve been watching videos of dogs using these mats with word buttons on them, and it’s fascinating to hear what they’re thinking. I’ve seen some with cats too.
The JRT is smaaarrrtttt. Like the smartest dog I’ve ever seen. I can imagine him hoding entire conversations on a mat like that!
I don’t have any pets anymore but I’m definitely a dog person. I had a number of dogs over the years. Cats weren’t possible because my mom developed a later in life allergy to them but even when we were younger we never adopted cats.
Also, the doctors think a cat scratch was the cause of me developing an infection that nearly killed me (within 36 hours) when I around 10 or so. That left me with a bit wary of cats as a whole.
I’m a total cat person, Amy. I like dogs, but have lived with cats almost my whole life. Regardless, three cheers to our non-human companions!
Hip Hip Hooray to the third power!
I love both cats and dogs, but I have only had dogs, only German Shepherds since I became an adult. When we visit other people with pets, their pets are drawn to us (my husband, too) for whatever reason animals adopt strangers. I have been known to sit with a lap full of cats that my friends have assured me are totally standoffish, at best.
They must be able to tell that you love them! <3
Love both cats and dogs and even had a Parakeet once.
Welcome to the blog! I’m fascinated that you are a cat person writing about dogs. I couldn’t do it. I’m a dog person all the way. Although a couple of cats have wandered through my life and I loved them both.
Thanks! I didn’t realize the whole cat-dog thing until a couple of years ago. I was actually writing one book and all of the sudden this dog runs onto the scene. The hero looks to the heroine and says “where did that dog come from?” I was asking myself the same thing. LOL Dogs seem to have a mind of their own in my books!
A fun blog. My two cents on cats in books? Well, my mystery series does star a cat, Dusty, based on my first cat. Being a cat person, I can say that there are some issues with cats that don’t lend themselves to mystery plots. Case in point, my WIP takes place in a huge mansion in an isle off the New Hampshire coast. Dusty would have to travel to a strange new place where she wouldn’t be the center of attention and it would be too easy for her to get disoriented, lost, or maybe eaten by the island’s legendary Devil Dog. However, in other stories where she is in her regular stomping grounds, she’s free to chase mice, offer the heroine comfort, and provide accurate and necessary input on whom to trust. Of course, if you’re writing in a supernatural genre, your magical cat is most likely impervious to getting lost, being eaten by coyotes, or being hit by a car.
Dog person here 100% and love Amy Lillard books!!!
Definitely a cat person. I’ve had both in the distant past, but cats are king (or queens!) in our house. We’ve had as many as 3 (4 for two weeks when our daughter was living with us), but right now we are catless. That will change before long.
I’ve already asked for a kitten for my birthday in September. My husband pretended he was deaf. Don’t think he’s going to go for it. 🙁
I grew up around cats and will always love cats more than dogs. Dogs can be wonderful friends, and I certainly understand why others like them, but they require a good deal of attention, and rightly so! Both dogs and cats have such special qualities. Still, in my opinion, there is nothing like a cat!
Nothing. I’ve had all sorts of kitties through the years. I can’t imagine life without one.
A cat person after my own heart! I’m all about cats, but admire the dogs who live with other family members and with friends, and I’ve put some of the best of them in my books. Cats, always, but what good dogs there are out there.
That’s a hard one! I love both! Growing up we had more cats than dogs through the years. Now that I’m married we have a couple dogs. No cats…yet!
You need a cat to round it out! 🙂
Love both dogs and cats. However, I’m definitely a cat 🐈 person. I have two cats, Hamilton and Jefferson.
I am team both. Currently we have three cats. My husband and I are disabled so it is easier to take care of the cats. We also feed the stray cats and kittens. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.
Been a dog lover from day one, but I love all critters. Our best friends have a cat and we are it’s godparents. I’ve just only been owned by a dog. Sadly our furbaby, Snickerdoodle, crossed the rainbow bridge on June 30th. The 17 years, 7 months and 17 days weren’t enough.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
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