Can Our Furry Companions Enhance Genre Fiction?

It’s no secret that I love animals and I share my household with two Labrador retrievers and two cats.  My top dog “Sarge” (photo above) is enjoying a nice swim at the beach.  Life just wouldn’t be the same without some type of furry companion included in my day-to-day routines.

It actually got me thinking about how animals and pets can influence a novel.  It can be any type of genre, like mystery, romance, and even sci-fi where a fido-type of character can be integrated to enhance a character or storyline.

Many years ago, I read my first Dean Koontz novel called Watchers What made me pick up this book was the interesting storyline with a smart canine wrapped up in a supernatural thriller, along with a government conspiracy.  One of the important supporting characters was a stray dog.  Needless to say, I was hooked on Koontz’s books after that story.

I was recently introduced to a fun mystery series by Spencer Quinn.  I laughed out loud when I picked up the book Dog On It and read the first few pages.  This story actually has the dog’s point-of-view as a character in the book.  I highly recommend this series for anyone who loves a good mystery, many laughs, and the best sidekick any main character could ask for in a story.  It’s a steal on Amazon Kindle for  99 cents.

 In 2011, I was inspired to write a thriller, Silent Partner, with a California police K9 unit on the heels of a serial killer.  It definitely adds another dimension to your story, but I loved the challenge.  When I created the Emily Stone Series, I included a large Labrador to add to vigilante detective’s reclusive and covert life.

I’m in the process of creating another thriller/mystery series where the protagonist has an eight-foot Python as his home security.  Now, I have you thinking again!

I think that any type of animal friend, whether it is a dog, cat, bird, or even a tarantula can always add to the storyline and create more character depth.  These four-legged (or eight-legged) friends don’t have to be a main or supporting character, but it gives another dimension to the story that readers can relate to.  It can up the suspense, create a nice pause in a stressful story, or give that unexpected laugh.

Some examples of furry and even feathered characters could be the happy dog that greets the homicide detective when he comes home from a hard day, the two Siamese cats that inspire the horror writer in the midnight hour, or even the parrot that mocks the serial killer after he’s returned home with a fresh victim.

What’s your favorite book with an animal character?

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Author Blog: http://authorjenniferchase.com/
Crime Watch Blog: http://emilystonecrimewatch.wordpress.com/
Book & Crime Talk:  http://blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-chase
Books: Compulsion  Dead Game  Dark Mind  Silent Partner  Screenwriting

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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6 Responses to Can Our Furry Companions Enhance Genre Fiction?

  1. Jennifer, Great post. I have started writing some blogs now that are interviews with my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Caddo. He comes out with some of the funniest stuf,f and readers are really getting into the swing of it. I just had a comment from a lady who was delivering the counterpoint to Caddo’s opinions from her two cats. I haven’t used animals in my books yet, but you have spurred me into considering the best way to do it. Thanks. I hope all is well with you. Regards, SW

  2. That’s awesome Stephen! I love that! Can’t wait to hear more when you incorporate furry guys into your books. Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. donnagalanti says:

    Yes, Watchers is one of my all time fave books and fave books with a dog in it. I’m waiting for a cat to come along and make it interesting!

  4. Readers of my blog this week will see my featuring cat characters…As I was working on them, I noticed that there were more views and feedback…so, yes, I’d love to see you add animal characters…they might wind up as guest reviewers on my blog too. LOL

    • Love that Glenda! Thanks for sharing. I have ragdoll cat “Buster” that is a fabulous character — if I had more time I’d write a series of children’s books based on his adventures… LOL

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