Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Christina Hollis: My Latest Writing Aid...

…has four floppy paws and a wet nose!

I Used To Have A Garden...
Meet Alex, a golden retriever/yellow labrador cross. I’ve written about our determination not to have pets here, and Alex's early days on my blog. Like the arrival of a new human baby, he turned our lives upside down. 

Alex is now seven months old. The adjustment process was tricky, but that was my fault rather than his. Despite a teddy he’d shared with his litter mates, a ticking clock, nightlight, secure den and radio playing softly, he screamed for nights on end until I realised he was being disturbed by deer walking through the garden outside. He couldn’t move away to find a spot where he couldn’t hear them, because I didn’t realise his puppy cage should be left open at night.  Once I’d moved it to a quieter spot and given him free run of the room, we’ve had peace and quiet.

...And An Insulated Box!
The next problem was the destruction of my dreams. I imagined a dog who would sleep under my desk as I worked, caper along beside me on my running sessions, or lie alongside while I worked in the garden. Wrong on all three counts—at least to begin with. Whatever he did under my desk in those first few weeks (distracting me by licking my toes, or chewing through the landline) it wasn’t sleeping. As you have to be very careful with the developing bones of puppies, it’ll be almost a year before he can pound along the forest tracks for long distances beside me. And as for watching from the sidelines while I’m gardening…no chance! He’s so good at the basics such as digging, trampling soil and thinning plants, he always dives in to help. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Let’s just say he’s banned from “helping” anywhere I want to look half-decent!

On the other hand, although I may not be running any more, three short walks a day (not to mention chasing missing slippers etc around the garden!) keeps my Fitbit step-count easily over 10,000. Not that Alex puts in anything like that mileage. There are lots of circular routes through, and around, our wood. He knows them all. I find walking in the fresh air is a great aid to writing. It inspires me, and gives me the peace and quiet to develop ideas. Alex doesn’t like to lose sight of me, and he’s good at coming back when called. This means most of his exercise in the forest is done off the leash. He can charge around or not, as the fancy takes him. When he gets tired, he heads for the pool at the hub of all our woodland walks.  If the jingle of his ID tag goes quiet, I know where to find him!

What funny little ways does your pet have?

There’s a signed book from my backlist for a comment picked at random on Thursday, 22nd September.

When she isn't cooking, gardening or beekeeping, Christina Hollis writes contemporary fiction starring complex men and independent women.  Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and she’s sold nearly three million books worldwide. You can catch up with her at, on Twitter, Facebook, and see a full list of her published books at

Her current release, Heart Of A Hostage, is published by The Wild Rose Press and available at  worldwide, and from in the US.


Mary Preston said...

I'm without pets right now, but my neighbors dogs continues to amuse. He runs over to the fence in the morning to watch me hang out my wet laundry. I say Good morning Ralph & off he trots. One morning I got distracted and did not say Good Morning. He stood there until I turned my attention to him and said my piece. Happy with that he trotted off.

Christina Hollis said...

That's lovely! We see a little black dog called Ralph on our walks—his coat gleams like satin. Thanks for commenting, Mary.

jcp said...

He's darling!

alysap at yahoo dot com

dstoutholcomb said... pets--allergies


Christina Hollis said...

Thanks, JCP—he's got a lovely nature, too.

Christina Hollis said...

Thanks, Denise. I'm sorry you have allergies. My mum was the same, which is why I wasn't allowed pets when I was a child :(

Christina Hollis said...

Congratulations to JCP, who won a signed book from my backlist!