When it comes to dogs, I’m a certifiable nut. What can I say? I just love them! In the 39 years of married life, my husband and I have been the proud parents of four wonderful pooches. Fritz (officially Fitzgerald Oscar Longfellow), Corkie, Bandit, and now Sophie. In addition, we have two granddogs, Alfie and Nash. We also were very close to my mom’s dog, Jack, that passed away only a short time ago.
We believe in spoiling our pups. They sleep in our bed. They travel with us as much as possible. They have wrapped gifts under the Christmas tree. They have middle names. We have professional portraits of them adorning our walls. Yes, we love our animals.
Just take a peek below. Aren’t they adorable?
Why the post about dogs? What do these (or any other) dogs have to do with writing?
As writers, we’re told to ‘write what you know’. I know dogs, and I know country. So my stories will usually include (if not star) dogs and they will most often be set in the south.
My two newest middle grade novels are about children from the south. The most current one is about twelve-year old Eliza from the mountains of Kentucky and “stars” a dog named Bandit. This is not coincidence.
We had a precious dog, Bandit that was smart as could be. We had had him for several years when my hearing worsened and I qualified for a service animal. Our beloved Bandit went to school weekly (he did love the trip, training, and every hamburger) until he received his certification. We were devastated to lose him to cancer.
Back to writing. The first picture book I had published, The Best Baker in the World, had Bandit, the hungry dog next door, in it. I was fortunate to be able to meet with the illustrator, Glori Alexander, and request that she make the fictional Bandit resemble the “real deal”. She did a great job!
In the Mila Denton Chapter book series, first grader, Mila, has a dog named Alfie. Alfie is modeled after my granddog, Alfie. They have the same quirky personality (yes, every dog is unique!) I don’t recall if I requested that illustrator, David Barrow, draw Alfie like the real one, but it happened and cartoon Alfie looks like the real thing!
Back to my most recent work, For the Love of Bandit. In a nutshell, it’s about the love shared between a girl and her dog. That’s all I can say for now. I hope someday to see it on library shelves and in bookstores everywhere.
When you write, are you writing what you know, or are you able to write about places you’ve never been or random experiences? Great for you if you are able to do that. I haven’t mastered that ability. So for now, I’ll keep writing about my people and of course, dogs.