Welcome my friend and fellow Story Garden member, Trish Jensen to the ‘vert today!
I have a confession to make: if I were given a Sophie’s Choice between my dog and a human, I’d choose my dog every single time. I’d choose my horse, my cat, my birds in the back yard, who I faithfully feed and water.
I’m an animal lover. Cannot stand to watch ASPCA commercials because they break my heart. Animals, especially domesticated ones, are so innocent. They love without question, and count on their slave humans to keep them safe, happy and fed.
This is why in most of my books my humans are dog owners. Or owned by dogs, if you’re anything like me. It says something about them without having to be said…like they’re compassionate and want the unconditional love their animals give them. There’s no nasty divorce, no bitter battles (well, unless you don’t feed them on time). They just plain trust you and love you.
People who know me know I’d make that Sophie’s Choice. So when I was grasping for a new book idea my critique partner, Sandra Hill, handed me a newspaper article about a dog spa. “Write something like that. That’s right up your love alley.”
And it was. But I wanted to write something where a big bad FBI guy – who happens to work in the Fraud Division — is not only skeptical about the whole concept of a dog spa, and the owner who’s calling herself a dog psychologist, but agrees to some outrageous terms to check this shyster out.
First, of course, he has to agree to taking over ownership of his aunt’s beloved English Bulldog, named Muffin, for crying out loud. Second, he must agree to taking Muffin to this scam spa for two weeks every summer for as long as the dog lives.
He doesn’t want the dog. The dog doesn’t want him, either. He does not want to spend two weeks of vacation time at this place, but it’s set in stone in her will. He doesn’t take the dog, he doesn’t take the dog to the spa, then ownership of the dog (and all of the rest of the aunt’s many homes and millions, which she willed to the dog) will go to the dog shrink upon the mutt’s demise.
And his suspicious nature, honed during his years at the FBI, tell him this woman has shyster written all over her scheming backside.
To say the two (man and dog) don’t bond is like saying “Hey, oil, meet water.” But what this man finds at this spa isn’t a shyster woman, just a passionate pet person. And through her he and his dog finally come to terms (of course the dog wins most of them).
The big bad FBI guy falls for his dog, while he’s also falling for the dog spa owner. Many readers say they can’t decide which love story they fall for most. And that really feels good. Because even writing it, I couldn’t decide either. Jake begins doing the math about how long this damn dog will be around. He ends up hoping his dog will live forever, which is how I feel about all of my animals.
Jake is me, in a male body. LeAnne is his forever. But Muffin is truly the love of his life. LeAnne sighs and lives with it. After all, she’s me, too. She’d pick a dog any day of the week. But she’ll take Jake, too. He comes with the dog.
AGAINST HIS WILL will be available late July from Bell Bridge Books
Tell us about the animals in your life or the most memorable animal character from a story you’ve read. Or ask Trish anything! One name drawn from among the comments posted will receive either an e-book or trade paperback version of THE HARDER THEY FALL.