There’s a good reason that dogs play such an important role in the lives of my characters. It’s because they have always been so important in my own life. Since birth, I’ve been in the company of dogs. If I grew up thinking that I was a dog, I owe that obvious misconception to a small, brown mongrel named Dusty. Throughout childhood, he was my constant and only companion, my littermate. Wherever I was, that was where you’d find Dusty, and I was as devoted to him as he was to me.
In adulthood, my dogs have been present in good times and bad. Through illness, loss, and even danger, I could depend on my canine companions. My basset hounds, Daisy and Bubba Gump, were howling with joy right along with me when I received the offer to publish my first novel in the Beanie and Cruiser Series. All eight bassets I’ve had over the years, seven of them rescued, have provided me with endless inspiration for a dog lover’s series. Many of my experiences with them have ended up in the novels, and their endearing personalities, humorous antics, and devotion are immortalized in Cruiser and Calamity, the rescued canine sleuths in the series. As Cruiser does for his beloved mistress Elsie “Beanie” MacBean in the Lake Tahoe mysteries, my basset hound, Beau, saved me from real danger while hiking on a Tahoe trail. True to the easy-going nature of his breed, Beau was never an aggressive dog, but when I heard him growl a warning, I knew I’d better make tracks. He was alerting me that a predator was lurking in the woods. In my murder mysteries, that could be one with two legs, not four. Beau, the dog that was terrified of thunderstorms and leapt into my bed for protection, showed no fear when it came to protecting me. Of all my dogs, none was as devoted to me as Beau. He was my soul mate.
Although the dog in my latest standalone novel, “The Secret of Bramble Hill,” is not a basset hound, Gemma the English Springer Spaniel also provides comfort and support to young heroine, Tessa Field. Like Cruiser and Calamity, Gemma plays a role in the plot and even in crime solving.
From an early age, I knew that dogs would be an important part of my life, and they certainly have been. Writing about them has earned me two Maxwell Awards from the Dog Writers Association of America for the best writing on the subject of dogs. Those medallions are pretty swell bling for a dog writer, and I’m proud to say my work is recommended on the American Kennel Club’s list of Best Dog Books. I never imagined that having one’s career go to the dogs could be so doggone wonderful.