I’m a good way through writing a book at the moment. I know where I’m going. I know how to get there. But I’ve just discovered that something is missing.
No, fortunately not the hero. But I’ve discovered that the heroine needs a sidekick. Or two. She lives alone – in the caretaker’s cottage of her mother’s house. And when her mother and the younger family members are there, she has lots of people around to talk to.
Unfortunately – or perhaps fortunately for the hero – none of them are there at the moment. My heroine is alone.
But in this book at least, it’s not good for the heroine to be alone. She needs to have a strong connection to someone -- besides the hero. Not a girlfriend. Not a neighbor (there aren’t any). Someone she can talk to. Someone she can care about. Someone she loves and shares things with.
This is not a major role (Sid, are you listening? Kate Walker’s cat, who has had several supporting roles in my books, has recently been angling for a bigger part. I’m afraid, Sid, that this is not the book). But it is a pivotal role.
While my four-footed family member is important to the heroine, he – or she – is going to be even more important to the hero. My hero is a loner. He has no baggage at all. Doesn’t want any. Doesn’t want any ties.
Or so he thinks. Of course the heroine will undermine that resolution. But the four-footed family member will have a part in that, too.
But who is this important character? That’s where you come in. I have borrowed and stolen almost all the animals I know – or have ever owned. And I could, of course, do a variation on one or two of them. No doubt I will.
But I’m open to suggestion. In fact I’m begging for them. Do you have a favorite pet you can share with me? Antics? Ideas? Species? Preferably not ones t hat my heroine will have to catch mice or crickets to feed. I’m sort of squeamish that way and I’m afraid she will be, too.
Someone suggested a ginger-colored Maine Coon cat – in a very small role, a walk-on, in fact, so he doesn’t get too big a head. (Thank you, Sid. I’ll consider that). And another particularly princessy sort of cat – a floozie of a feline, really, is lobbying as well (yes, Flora, I hear you).
But before I cave in to the importuning of Kate Walker cats (and cats-to-be), I’d appreciate some other ideas.
No, dear editor, I promise: no menageries. Been there, done that (see Savas’ Defiant Mistress). But animals make people more human. And they always bring out the best in a hero.
Got a favorite furry friend you’d like to suggest? I’m looking to audtion!
In the meantime, for those of you who have time to read (not me, I’m under deadline), if you are in the mood for royalty, please check out my latest Presents The Virgin’s Proposition, which is out now in the States.
If you are in the UK, please watch for Hired By Her Husband, a Mills & Boon Modern, coming in October. No royalty at all in this one, but George Savas is a very sexy physicist and, literally, a wounded hero. Most importantfor his emotional well-being, he has a dog – my own dear Gunnar.