Thursday, February 01, 2007

Houses and Dogs

Big changes coming at Casa Delany. The house is up for sale – there is a big sign on the lawn. To have a look, go to and enter the MLS number 1081186. It’s already getting tiring having to clean the house every morning before going to work. Normally, no one would ever mistake me for Martha Stewart. Then I have to take Shenzi to doggie daycare. She seems to like it there – the second day she sprinted up the path to the front door with great abandon. Last night and tonight people are coming to see the house so Shenzi and I have to vacate. I am up against a tough deadline to get the revised copy of In the Shadow of the Glacier to Barbara, so I’ll take my laptop to a bar somewhere and work.

Thinking about Shenzii… people are always asking me how much of myself is in my books. The easy answer is “not a single bit”. I had a very pleasant childhood, and come from a totally functional family, I like to think my own kids are pretty well balanced. Don’t tell them I said so. Pretty boring material for a book, in fact. But if the questioner pushes, I can start to think of little bits of myself that creep in. As I mentioned in my last post, I am somewhat food-orientated. My readers might get the feeling that I am a Lord of the Rings fan. I think there’s a LOTR reference somewhere in all my books. But perhaps the biggest part of me that comes out in my books is that I am a dog lover. All my books have a dog character. That wasn’t even intentional; it just seemed like a dog fitted into the story. A reviewer kindly said that Sampson in Scare the Light Away was the best portrayal of a dog she’d ever seen in fiction. (In interests of full disclosure, another reviewer heaped scorn on the ‘Timmy’s fallen down a well” dog actions). In In the Shadow of the Glacier the dog has a very, very small part. He’s just a family dog who lies on the floor and catches crumbs. But I wanted the main character to have a fairly normal family life, and for me a normal family means a dog. I also find that the use of a dog helps the character’s thought process achieve some credibility. Taking the dog for a walk, helps the cop to sort out details of the case in her mind. Not to say that books without dogs are missing something, but I find it works for me.

Woof, woof…


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