I try to always include pets in my romance novels. Why? Firstly, we all love them (don’t we?). Also, they are characters in themselves; can help to show a softer side to a heroine or hero; plus they drive and direct the story. As my writing has progressed, I’ve found myself including more and more quirky animal characters in my books.
Before I introduce you to the fictional animals though, I thought you’d like to meet my real pets, Daisy and Dylan!
Daisy is fourteen and she moved in when my son, Charlie, turned two – she’s a real old lady. She’s quite grumpy but very pretty (and she’s very low maintenance as long as she gets fed).
Dylan is six. Each day he has what I like to call ‘a crazy half hour’ when he runs about like a maniac. He loves snow, chasing Daisy and is very affectionate. Often to be found sleeping on a desk. We call Dylan our ‘cat-dog’ because he has many dog qualities – he chases balls and loves his humans.
Pets in my novels
In Summer in the Castle Café, my hero Jay O’Donnell owns a beautiful golden retriever named Zeus. Zeus is a very well-behaved dog and he keeps Jay company. Zeus was the first animal I included in a novel – Jay adores him and they are rarely apart.
In The Little Christmas Teashop of Second Chances, the hero Josh Havellin-Scott adopts a black Labrador named Chester. Chester is stubborn and rarely does as he’s told – a mirror image of Josh. By adopting Chester, Josh proves he’s not quite as irresponsible as he pretends to be. This is a real turning point in the novel and helps the heroine Lily King to trust him.
A cat with a mission
In The Christmas Countdown, the heroine’s aunt – Clara Devine – owns a black cat named Cleopatra who is attuned to various goings on in the house. Cleopatra manages to point the heroine Holly in the right direction a few times, including to her aunt’s business accounts! Bernard, is Clara’s St Bernard and Holly meets the hero Finn while walking him for the first time.
A parrot who loves Simple Minds
The Little Village of New Starts is filled with animals because the heroine Evie lives on a sheep farm! Evie owns a pet goat named Daisy and her grandmother, Nana Agnes, has an African Grey Parrot called Tiki, who is obsessed with ‘Waterfront’ by Simple Minds and ‘hot toddy’s’, especially Evie’s boyfriends.
Loves food, hates snow
If Every Day Was Christmas stars Cooper, a basset hound who HATES the snow. Not good if you head to the Scottish Highlands in December when it happens to be snowing all the time. Cooper brings a lot of humour to the story, he also helps the heroine’s sister rediscover her affinity for animals.
In Summer in the Scottish Highlands, the hero Johnny Becker owns a half-share in a young golden retriever called Mack. Mack is prone to mischief and isn’t very obedient. During the story Johnny falls for Mack – despite promising himself he won’t. This in turn opens him up to committing to life (and love) again…