Friday, October 1, 2010

Pets In Fiction

Hey all,

After several months, it's finally time for another guest blogger and today's author speaks about something near and dear to my heart. 
Critters in fiction.  As you know many of my stories also have animals in them and I believe they very much add realism to any book.  Kelley Heckart should know since it sounds like she's had a few critters in her life.  So let's hear a little bit about Kelley.  

According to her website... Though Kelley resides on the earthly realm with her husband and two dogs, she always has one foot firmly planted in the otherworldly realm of mystical creatures, fierce warriors and magic. A psychic once told her she has an old soul and this comes across in her tales of long ago places. An avid reader, she turned her lifelong passion for Celtic mythology into a way to express herself through writing.

And it sounds like she has some interesting stories to tell.  So please join me in welcoming Kelley Heckart and let's see what she has to say about Pets In Fiction...


I love animals and grew up with pets in the house. We always had at least one dog in the family and I remember a parade of mice, rats and birds in our house when I was growing up. Even after I moved out of my parents' house, I had a dog, and now my husband and I have two dogs. I think this influences my writing because most of my characters have pets.

When I was researching for my latest release, Cat's Curse (Book One in my Dark Goddess trilogy), I discovered that medieval kings usually owned hunting hounds. My hero is an Irish prince and I decided to give him two hunting hounds as his pets. When my heroine first meets this prince, he is arrogant and unpleasant at times, but she discovers he does have a tender side when he shows affection to his hounds. The dogs play an important part in bringing them together. Another character in this book, a Pict king, likes to collect exotic animals like wildcats and birds of prey. This reveals something about the king's personality, and his penchant for collecting exotic creatures plays an important part in the plot.

In another book, Ravenwolf, the mysterious white wolf in the story is based on my beautiful, intelligent American Eskimo. The wolf plays an important part in the plot and the story wouldn't be the same without her. This story is set in Alba (Scotland) in the land of the Picts. The Picts and Celts sometimes kept geese as watchdogs because of their aggressive nature. I have had first hand experiences with geese at a local duck pond and I can verify that geese are, indeed, aggressive. I was chased many times by geese. I thought a goose would make a cool pet for my hero and heroine when they lived in a crannog out on an island loch. The goose added some humor to the story.

Horses play an important part in my stories since my books are set in historical time periods. I like to give them names to show how close the bond can be between human and animal. One of my main characters in my Dark Goddess trilogy is a horse whisperer. When researching the Picts, I came across some information about a secret society of horse whisperers. This unique gift comes in handy during battles. Other animals also appear in this trilogy. A wolf seems like he is a goddess's pet until he shapeshifts into a tall, golden-haired man. Now, that's the kind of pet I like.

I think pets can add something important to a story. They can help show a different side of a character or they can add some humor. Sometimes the story wouldn't be the same without them. Kind of like how in real life pets can make a huge difference in a person's life. My life wouldn't be the same—it would be a lot less fulfilling without my two dogs to entertain, give me companionship and teach me how to live life one day at a time. Have you ever noticed how animals/dogs know how to enjoy life?

Do other writers like to add pets to their stories? Do readers like to read stories with pets in them? 

Kelley Heckart
'Timeless tales of romance, conflict and magic'


Good question, Kelley.  I know I appreciate a story more when there is a critter in it.  What about it readers?  Do you like a story that has pets in it?  If so...why?  Leave your comments below.

And if you want to get to know Kelley a little better and check out some of her work, head over to one of the places below.  You'll find all sorts of goodies there!

Thanks Kelley for being a part of my blog!  Happy writing and many good sales to you!


Kelley Heckart said...

Hi CJ,

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog.

Pat Brown said...

I love pets in stories as long as they serve some purpose. But I don't like animals (usually cats) who help solve the crime and talk, even if it's just to each other. I was enjoying one historical novel once when all of a sudden a dog and a crow started thinking and making observations. That turns me off.

I've used animals in 4 of my stories. In L.A. BONEYARD, I have a rescued Doberman who plays a role in first coming between the two main characters then bring them back together. He also provides humor, something all my animals do. My favorite is the incontinent Bassett Hound who brings Johnny Wager and the dog's owner together when he pees on Wager's leg.

Animals have always played a big part in the lives of people and civilization. It's possible we wouldn't be who we are today without dogs or horses.

Kelley Heckart said...

Hi P.A.,

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and leave a comment.

I agree, the pets should serve a purpose, as should any character in the story. Love your incontinent Bassett Hound. What a way to meet someone.

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

I love putting my pets into my stories. One has a horse I rode when I was a teen. She wasn't mine, but I loved her the same. Another story has a min. poodle I had. She was supposed to be my daughter's but I ended up taking care of her. I want to add my favorite dog to my next story. She was a mutt, but the best dog I ever had.
Ann Ambrosio

Kelley Heckart said...

Hi Annabelle,

I love mutts. All of my dogs have been mutts except for my Am. Eskimo. We adopted her from the shelter and thought she was a mutt because we had never heard of that type of dog before.

Anonymous said...

Hi CJ. Hi Kelley.

I think it depends on the story. If the characters are travelling around a lot in any story set since the invention of the internal combustion engine, I find myself wondering how their animals are coping. Also I can get thrown out of a story badly if animal-related details are wrong.

On the other hand adding a well-written pet to a story (when I'm not worrying about its welfare) can say a lot about the characters who interact with it.