Wednesday, March 18, 2009
That picture is of my beautiful girl, Tasha. We lost her on March 12 at age 14. Anyone who has lost a family pet knows the grief that still consumes my family's heart. My older two sons, Ian and Brennan were 4 and 5 when we got this puppy, my youngest son, CJ hadn't even been born yet. She was every family's dream of the perfect dog.
Not that she was perfect. Not by a long shot. She was way too smart for her own good and got into more antics and trouble then we ever could have dreamed up.
Pets play such an enormously important role in our lives, or at least most of our lives that its only natural that in our writing we occasionallly include pets for our heroes or heroines. But just like when you put children in a book you have to be careful to make sure that the pet plays a backstage role, and not overshadows the storyline. The other tough thing is to remember you put them in there. What do I mean by that? Well, if you put a cat in the heroine's life in Chapter one and never come back to the cat again, the reader is left wondering why the pet was there in the first place.
Its for that reason, I don't often have them in my books. I never can quite figure out the right role for them to play without it feeling forced. In my book, "Beauty and the Geek" my hero, Louie has a huge striped grey cat named "Google". The whole reason that Google showed up in that book is because a very large striped beast of a cat showed up in my life that same month and took hold of my heart. My cat's name is Tom Cat or Tommy for short (yes I"m very original). He demanded to have a part in my book. What happened eventually is Google was able to show the reader the side of our heroine that was at first hard to uncover. But even then I struggled to make sure he was dropped into the story in a few more places. I tended to forget about him as time went by in my book.
On a final note, whether you put animals in your book or not, they simply make sitting at your desk pounding out scenes much more enjoyable by their very presence in our life. Tasha will be missed for years to come. Rest in peace my beautiful girl, you've left a very big hole in this author's heart.