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Friday, August 13, 2010

Mack and other muses - Kandy Shepherd




Meet Mack—he’s big, handsome, dark-haired, with soulful eyes and a serious fast-food habit. He’s the canine hero of my second book (released last month) HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. With his injured knee and craving for a fur-ever home, he wins the heart of my heroine, doggy daycare owner Serena Oakley. PI hero Nick Whalen soon succumbs too, though he wasn’t looking for a dog like Mack or, indeed, a woman like Serena.
Like other authors, I’m often asked are my characters inspired by people I know. But I’m also asked are my doggy characters inspired by real, animals.

The answer is the same to both questions: while there is no one person or one dog behind the characters I create, there are elements of many of the people (and dogs) I have met over my lifetime. That’s the way writers are: it all goes into the brain, is seasoned by the imagination and comes out on the page scrambled and shaken to find life as a unique fictional character.

The
kernel of Mack came from my friend Melinda’s dog Mate. Mate (left at top) is a large, friendly mixed breed dog who think he’s still a tiny puppy. Seeing this big animal trying to snuggle onto her lap is quite the laugh-out-loud sight! (I borrowed that sight for a scene with Serena.)
Mack grew further in my imagination after Melinda and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Ashland, Oregon for the annual Shakespeare Festival. (We couldn’t get into any plays so saw the movie of Mumma Mia instead!) We also wandered the delightful shops that line the main street. There we encountered the most enormous black dog I have ever seen. This gentle giant was sweet natured and graciously allowed my friend and I to pet him. (Here’s a rather blurry photo of him.) But I noticed some of the other people in the store skirt around him, obviously nervous. That got me thinking further about a dog with a lot to give that maybe no-one wanted.

Soon Mack became as real to me as any of the human characters I create. And then he became a cover boy, along with Bessie a purse-sized Yorki-poo who is also an important character in the story.

Now b
ack to my human characters and the hunky hero of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS, Nick Whalen. For looks, think a young Daniel Craig (James Bond), with elements of Jason O’Mara (Sam on Life on Mars) and David Cubitt (Det. Lee Scanlon on Medium). As to Nick’s personality, I can see aspects of the special, heroic men in my life have snuck their way into Nick—but in the interests of marital stability, I’ve decided not to name names!

Do you know a dog (or cat, or any other animal) with a memorable personality?
Leave
a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS. (Please include an email address so I can contact you if you win.)

http://www.kandyshepherd.com


33 comments:

runner10 said...

We have a chocolate lab who is suppose to help guard our house. She is so timid, but an absolute sweetheart.
csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

cheryl c said...

My parents' dog loves vanilla ice cream. He has learned to "ask" for it at around 8:00 each night. (He has some crazy internal clock!) My mother even feeds it to him by hand! :-)
castings at mindspring dot com

jeanette8042 said...

My cousin's dog Rain has a very happy and bubbly personality and it's hilariuus when she lets us drag her around the floor like a mop.

lilazncutie1215 @ yahoo.com

Estella said...

I had a Pekingese named Timmy until he was 15 years old.
The little(10 lbs) guy thought he was a Great Dane. He once took on a St Bernard and then hid under the dog so it couldn't get him.

PJ said...

Hi Kandy! Love that photo at the top of the blog. That's exactly how I pictured Mack while reading the book.

All my dogs have had memorable personalities. Rachel, my Rottie/Lab mix is a real sweetheart, with a huge smile, funny personality and love overflowing. She happiest when she's sitting in (or alongside) my lap (all 65 pounds of her) with her face snuggled into my neck and softly snoring while she naps. At night, she waits until I'm in bed then she hops up, snuggles her backside right up next to me, lets out a deep sigh and drifts off to dreamland. Yep, she's definitely a mama's girl! :)

PJ said...

He once took on a St Bernard and then hid under the dog so it couldn't get him.

Estella, that is so funny! LOL!

Jane said...

No stories to share. We never had pets growing up, not even fish.

janie1215 AT excite DOT com

Mary said...

I'm more likely to have a hamster or rat than a dog or a cat. One pet rat I had was named Oreo and he would crawl up onto the back of the couch and then slowly make his way beneath my hair and lay on the back of my neck, hidden by my hair. Only his little nose would be peeking out. I would hear him chattering (which means they are happy) and would feed him little bits of food which he would sit and eat and he never did get crumbs...ok, he didn't get many crumbs in my hair. lol

Lil said...

A friend's dog has stolen the hearts of all who have met him. He is a black and white long-haired chihuahua. The little fellow has a big heart and the funny quirk of washing his face like a cat.

Denise said...

Hi Kandy! I agree with PJ; I feel like every one of my pets have had unique and memorable personalities. We had three cats a long time ago, and they were each so different. One was cranky, another was quirky, and the last one was incredibly shy. And then we had a dog who was just the sweetest, smartest girl ever! dyreads at gmail dot com

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi everyone, I'm at the Romance Writers of Australia conference and checking in at the conference business center. The conference has been fabulous. At dinner I sat next to one of the guest speakers, the charming Vicki Lewis Thompson, and talked cats all evening!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi runner10, I love chocolate labs (and not just because I love actual chocolate!) The ones I've met have seemed particularly sweet-natured.

Kandy Shepherd said...

HI cherylC, animal's internal clocks always amaze me--and they seem to be able to adjust to summer time, too!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi jeaanette 8042, Rain sounds like such an amiable dog, and lots of fun too!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Estella, your story about Timmy really made me laugh. I can just imagine him teasing the huge dog and then running under him to hide. Such a cute image!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi PJ, so lovely to see you here! Isn't Mate beautiful? I'm delighted you pictured Mack like that because Mate was my first inspiration for him.(BTW, his owner is thrilled that I mention Mack in the acknowledgement page of my book, she didn't know authors acknowledged dogs!)
You have given me such a beautiful mental image of you snuggling with your sweet Rachel. There's something particularly endearing about a big dog who is so gentle and loving.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Jane, I hope you have some lovely pets come into your life in the future!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Mary, I love your story of Oreo he sounds so cute and very smart, I can guess he must have been black and white. When I was a kid I had a mouse I loved a lot--but I don't think mice are quite in the same league as rats and hamsters as pets!

Kandy Shepherd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kandy Shepherd said...

So true, Denise. It always amazes me how unique each animal is, with entirely their own personalities. No wonder we love them so much!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Kirsten, your cat sounds enchanting. It's so wonderful to have a special animal friend who senses one moods and seems to understand when we need cheering up.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Lil, I would love to see that chihuahua. I have never seen a dog wash its face in quite the same way as a cat!

Alison said...

We have a Mr Pusscat who turns up, turns up his nose at everything we offer, then accepts a cuddle from my daughter. A very dignified gentleman!
alisonjlindsay aat gmail dott com

traveler said...

Bogie, a sweet mix dog we rescued is 16 pounds of energy, love, adventure and tenacity. He will do anything to please us and is always willing to beleft at home without a murmur. He is a dear. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

We have a Maltese, named Guido who thinks that he is an aristocrat. He doesn't play with dog toys nor show any interest whatsoever in any other dogs either. He believes that he is human and above dog behaviour. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

Laney4 said...

Hi, Kandy!
I dogsit Austin, a 10-year-old golden retriever who has hip problems (like most older retrievers) and is quite deaf. I love him to bits.
Austin rarely barks. He no longer cares that there are squirrels or cats walking right by him; he just looks up at them and then plops his head back down again. The mailman gets upset if I DON'T bring Austin outside to say hi (as we are required by law to keep animals tied several feet away from our mailboxes). If I don't take Austin out when necessary, he will walk to the front door and then turn around to look at me. If I choose to ignore his "instructions", THEN he'll bark.
I could go on and on, but suffice to say that we understand each other quite well and I wouldn't want it any other way.
seytype [at] hotmail [dot] com

Michele L. said...

My husband's family had a Pekingnese named Mike that loved to jump on brooms. When Al's mom started mopping the floor, Mike would hopping on, and fly around with the mop!

Also, my husband took care of his sister's dog for a while. It was a great dane name Duchess. Duchess was a such a good dog and very obedient. When she was outside in the dog pen, she would bark at people as they passed by. We would tell her to "Hush your mush!" and she would look at us with this odd look, with one ear pointed forward and the other pointed to the side. Then she would promptly quit her barking.

I loved taking her in my small car which was a wagon. She would get her butt stuck in the back, with her front paws on my back seat. We had to push her butt out of the back into the back seat to get her out when she would do that.

It was fun taking her to fast food drive thru's. I would always get her a small hamburger. The girls at the window would laugh because Duchess would hang her head out the window, with this big grin on her face, probably thinking of the hamburger to come! She was so much fun!

Michele L. said...

Forgot to leave my address
deseng(at)crown(dot)net

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Kaetrin said...

We have a 9 month old Cavoodle who's pretty cute - loves a cuddle but is a bit of a ratbag. Can't wait til he gets over the chewing stage!!

kim h said...

i did nto have pets

Kandy Shepherd said...

The winner of the signed copy of HOME IS WHERE THE BARK IS is Kirsten. Kirsten please send me your snail mail address so I can send you your book.
Many apologies for the lateness of this announcement. I was aaway and posted the winner weeks ago but it obviously did not appear with the erratic hotel internet access.
Thank you so much to Laney4 for pointing this out to me!
I promise to do better next time!
Kandy