I have a fun return guest blogger today. She’s Jannine Corti Petska and she writes historical romance in unusual and very cool settings like Medieval Italy (although she has been known to write the occasional Western historical, too). I’m going to turn the blog over to Jannine, as she happens to be writing about one of my favorite subjects–dogs!
My Dogs Inspire My Characters
I’ve been a dog lover my entire life. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have at least one or two (or three or four). So it’s not surprising that my dogs inspire how I write my characters.
It’s a proven fact that petting dogs (maybe cats, too, but I’ve never had a cat) help lower blood pressure. No matter what is going on in my life, good or bad, my dogs have been there for me, a valuable source of comfort. They’re non-judgmental and ask for little. And the unconditional love they have is something most humans don’t. So how do my dogs inspire me when my characters are mostly judgmental and demand (mainly in the first half of my books) to have their way?
When I began writing historical romances 30 years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom who suffered from panic attacks. Just the thought of leaving the house triggered an attack. I was also agoraphobic. Looking back, I was somewhat of a recluse. When my husband was at work and my three daughters in school, dogs were my constant companions. And my sounding boards.
How’s that, you ask? Without being part of a writer’s group back then, I had no one to bounce ideas off of. So my dogs became not only my plotting friends but also great listeners—a captive audience. Occasionally when one lifted his head, I understood that as “You’ve got to be kidding!” So I rewrote the scene or came up with a new idea.
After years of writing, I realized my heroes and heroines are a lot like my dogs. Here are a few examples.
–Dogs give unconditional love. By the end of my story, my hero and heroine also give unconditional love to one another.
–Dogs mark their territory. My hero does this with the heroine, and without lifting his leg. His is more hands on.
–Dogs eat out of your hand. Before long, the heroine has the hero eating out of her hand, although real food is seldom involved.
–Dogs are loyal. My hero and heroine are very loyal to each other and do not stray. Okay, dogs do stray, but that’s only to mark their territory.
–Dogs lift my spirits when I’m down and see me through tough times. My hero and heroine do this throughout the entire story in subtle ways. Although, they don’t lick each other’s face.
–Dogs chase cats. My hero chases felines…the two-legged kind.
–Dogs lie on their backs to get their stomach scratched. No need to compare this one.
–Dogs sniff private parts. Let’s not go there either.
Dogs have so many other behaviors: gobbling their food: humping legs (we’ll leave this one alone, too); drinking from the toilet (hero hanging head over the toilet); biting and playing (you be the judge of this one); cocking their heads (I wonder if they can raise a single eyebrow too).
The list goes on and on. However, the single most trait dogs have that my hero or heroine do not (and never will—thank God for that!)—saying hello by peeing.
Do your pets have human characteristics? If you’re a writer, do you use them in your writing? If you’re not a writer, which human characteristics do you most see in your pet?
And here’s some info on Jannine’s latest books:
THE LILY AND THE FALCON, book 1 of the Italian medieval series
Bianca degli Albizzi is outraged when sworn enemy Cristiano de’ Medici asks for her hand in marriage. With her father’s blessing, she weds the handsome warrior to end the war between Florence’s two powerful families. But headstrong Bianca vows to teach her husband that loyalty cannot be bought…not even by seduction.
Cristiano, a well-known warrior with the wealth of a king, could have any woman he desires. But for the sake of peace he ends up with a defiant bride who awakens his deepest passion. Her vengeful scheming puts them both in peril, but is he prepared to sacrifice his life to safeguard the woman who has stolen his heart?
SURRENDER TO HONOR, book 2 of the Italian medieval series
Prima Ranieri seeks retribution for her family’s death and loss of home and land. Her plans go awry when the heir to the powerful Massaro family returns home. After only one glance, Prima’s attraction to him undermines her furor toward those she blames for her plight.
After a fifteen year absence, Antonio Massaro returns to Palermo to find a war raging between his family and the evil Falcone. His refusal to accept his rightful position as the head of the Honored Society carries serious consequences. The welfare of the people of Palermo is at stake. But one look at the beautiful woman Prima has become costs him his heart. She’s a deadly distraction…one that jeopardizes her life as well as his own.