Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Does Your Writing Bark, Purr, or Neigh?

A recent poll of users of social media had a bit to say about pets. Almost two-thirds of pet owners claim they post two comments or photos of their pets on social media weekly. Half of these pet owners claim photos and notes on pets draw more comments and likes than their other posts.

Are these bits of trivia relevant to fiction writers?
I think there are at least three reasons for including animals in novels.    

 Authors may increase the appeal of their novels to a wider audience by including dogs, cats, and other pets in their tales (Pun intended.). Consider all the cozy novels built around clever dogs and cats. Come to think of it, Westerns would be pretty blah without horses.

·       Authors can often show a different side of human characters in their novels by allowing characters to talk to or interact with their pets. Asta in Dashiell Hammett’s The Thin Man, Cat in Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Argos in Homer’s The Odyssey demonstrate pets belong in serious adult fiction.

·       Pets are fun to write about. I enjoy including Bug, my Japanese Chin, in my thriller series (Coming Flu, Ignore the Pain, Malignancy, and I Saw You in Beirut). Besides being beautiful, he’s smart. He deserves attention for his work as pet therapy at local hospitals for more than eight years. (Don’t I sound like the typical pet owner in the survey?) And he definitely allows me to show a soft side to my world-traveling scientist and heroine, Sara Almquist.
Maybe, you should include a dog or cat in your next novel. Or be creative and give your human character a more unusual alter ego, like a fish, raccoon, or elephant. 

All my books (paperback & Kindle versions are available on Amazon.
• In I Saw You in Beirut, a woman’s past provides clues for the extraction of a nuclear scientist from Iran. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1610092201
• In Malignancy, a woman scientist tries to escape the clutches of a drug lord and accepts a risky assignment in Cuba. http://amzn.com/1610091779
• In Ignore the Pain, an epidemiologist learns too much about the coca trade and too little about a sexy new colleague while on a public health assignment in Bolivia. http://amzn.com/1610091310

• In Coming Flu, is the Philippine flu or a drug kingpin caught in a quarantine is more deadly? http://amzn.com/1610090985