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Animal Companions

            Happy Sunday—a bright sunny, warm one here in central Florida. Hard to believe it’s the holiday season and the end of 2015 is looming. I’d like to take the remaining Sunday afternoons of this year and talk about a few of my supporting characters.
            Many of us share our lives with animal companions. For an author to write a story in which the main characters do likewise, it’s important to devote as much time and effort to the character development of the animal as it is to a human one. If the author has a pet or has lived around animals, this type of character development is easy. However, if an author doesn’t have the “animal” experience, developing the character traits and personality is more of a challenge.
            In my case, I have had animals all of my life so it is easy for me to draw on those experiences when I write. In my latest release, “Where the Lion Dwells,” my heroine Joanna Sansone has two animal companions—both rescues—a parti-poodle she names Santino, and an Arabian stallion to which she gives the stable name “Tuscan.” As you might guess, I used my own companions for the characters. Today I’ll introduce you to the real life “Santino.”
            He came to me as a very scared, underfed four-year old abandoned puppy. The first time I visited him in the foster home, he cuddled against me—snuggled as close in my arms as he could get, and I lost my heart to him. Eight years later, he is a happy, well adjusted, and (need I say) well-fed companion. While I don’t suffer from ODD (that’s obsessive dog disorder), I do think of him first. He’s asleep in one of his many pet beds here in my office keeping me company while I post this. His quirky personality and loving manner are constant delights in my life and I used those traits as well as his name when I crafted the fictional character for my heroine’s animal companion. Unlike my book where my words have to paint the picture, I’m including a photo with this post that I took several months ago. As you can see, he has become the prince and the world revolves around him!

            If you’re interested in reading about his exploits, “Where the Lion Dwells” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers. Next week, we’ll talk about Tuscan, who sadly the real-life Santino never knew, but through the magic of fiction has become his best friend—next to me of course!    

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