ANIMALS IN NOVELS
Before I get started, I want to thank Jersey Girl Book Reviews for hosting me today. Since she is allowing me to blather on about any subject I choose, I've decided to share a couple of thoughts about the use of animals in novels. A subject that came to mind after a writer friend pointed out my penchant to include animals in my storytelling. By the way, I write contemporary romance with light humor and mystery.
In my current release, Teed Up For Love, the reader meets a West Highland Terrier, Malcolm. He's cute and little but I give him a big job. He gets my story rolling and is instrumental in the happy ending. Although he's not central to the story, when he does appear, he helps reveal the personalities of my characters in a humorous light.
My next release, due out in February 2012, includes a male cat named Tinkerbelle. He's macho but has a young female owner oblivious to any gender trauma such a name might cause him, as is the cat. You have to love that about animals. You can scratch their ears while cooing "Kitty Witty Dumbo Ears" in baby talk and be rewarded with affection. The story I'm presently developing has a Betta fish, Sampson. He's my heroine's confidant, is there a more perfect male than one who doesn't offer his opinion? Uh, for my heroine, I mean.
What all this has me wondering is whether readers who prefer an "animal free" lifestyle are able to enjoy novels that incorporate animals into the storyline? Does an animal on the cover deter you from picking up the book? I'm not talking about a book that uses the animal as its main focus, I am talking about "cameo" or "small presence" ... BUT, and I capped this for a reason, please know that I don't throw in an animal because he/she is cute on the cover. My animal characters must have a purpose and personality or they won't walk, slink or chirp onto the page.
In closing, Id like to share one of my pet peeves (yeah, just had to go there). Although admittedly frivolous, it disappoints me when there's a cute critter on the cover, but you'll not find him/her anywhere in the story. What's up with that? Maybe it's because I'm hopelessly drawn to creatures, big or small, providing color and interest to my life as well as the characters in my books. Hence, I'm disappointed when their cute factor is nothing more than an empty lure.
Do you have any thoughts about the use of animals in novels? Or tell me what your pet will find under the tree from Santa and why ... let's have a little fun as we head into the hustle and bustle of the coming holidays.
BUY THE BOOK: Teed Up For Love
PUMP UP YOUR BOOK! 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16, 2011: Appearance & Giveaway by Barbara Weitz