I’ve always grown up with dogs – except for the three years when we had our first house, because the front and back garden were both pocket-handkerchief and it wouldn’t have been fair to have a dog. But the second we moved to a house with a bigger garden, I started the ‘I want a dog’ campaign.
Enter Ben: our first springer spaniel. He could be grumpy, and there was the time I had to ring up my editor to ask if I could have another advance cheque, please, as my dog had just eaten it… but he was definitely my office dog. When he wasn’t bouncing around in poppy fields :o)
Eighteen months later, Ben’s original owners called us to say that they had more puppies, and we could take Ben to meet them. One ball of fluff detached herself from the others, grabbed his lead and took him for a walk round the kitchen. It was obvious that Sally was going to have to come home with us when she was old enough…
When we lost Ben, I was pretty distraught – I was used to writing with a dog’s head on my knee, and the house didn’t feel right without two spaniels.
Enter Byron. We saw him as a tiny pup, fell in love with him, and brought him home a month or so later.
After we lost Sally, he became my office dog – he has a bed in my office, and I write to the sound of a snoozing spaniel. Until it’s lunchtime, when he wakes up and reminds me that (a) it’s time for lunch and (b) he is expecting to share the salmon…
I’ve borrowed him for quite a few books. Occasionally I’ve turned him into a cat (Titan, the cat in Good Girl or Gold Digger, is actually a spaniel who pats people on the head to get their attention). He’s even been a shortlisted-book dog – he tends to steal shoes and soft toys, so he inspired Saffy in Sold to the Highest Bidder. And he’s in this month’s book, The Brooding Doc’s Redemption, as a chocolate Labrador who likes bouncing through the woods :o)
I’m planning another at the moment where he’ll get the star spot. Hopefully my ed will see it the same way and he’ll get to shine again!
Kate’s very first Harlequin Romance, Ballroom to Bride and Groom, is out now in the US (also available at the M&B website in the UK now, or in UK shops in March). Her latest Medical Romance is also available this month, The Brooding Doc’s Redemption. You can find out more about these books, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/)