When I was a child, cats followed me wherever I went like children chasing after the Pied Piper. I nursed injured butterflies back to health. One day, I tearfully convinced my fourth grade teacher to let me release the winged grasshoppers she’d accumulated for the science class’s dissection. I’m pretty sure the grasshoppers were happier about my success than the school’s groundskeeper.
Not much has changed since then. When I see a drowning earthworm, I relocate it. I move caterpillars off walking trails so they don’t get smashed. I save snails and slugs. (Don’t tell my neighbors!) If it weren’t for my husband, I’d surely be locked away in whatever prison they use to hold well-meaning hoarders.So it’s not surprising that animals play prominent roles in my mysteries. How could they not? After all, I write what I love, and I love nothing more than animals. The mystery in Karma’s a Killer gave me the perfect opportunity to weave in some unusual animal characters. The story revolves around an animal rescue group, a wildlife rehabilitator, and a group of animal activists who clash with deadly results.
|Animal rescue and animal activism collide in Karma's a Killer|
As always, my writing is fiction, but it’s strongly informed by my life. Many of the animals in Karma’s a Killer are based on real-life creatures. Bella, the German shepherd, is in many ways a carbon copy of my own special needs German shepherd, Tasha. Blackie—a rehabilitated crow who plays a prominent role in the story—is modeled after a wild crow that has befriended her. Their relationship has touched me and changed my opinion of crows forever.
|Tasha and a murder of her crow friends at Green Lake--one of the pivotal locations in Karma's a Killer.|
Mister Feathers, the pigeon that “decorates” the entrance to Kate’s yoga studio, is similar to a pigeon that roosted above my own yoga studio, Whole Life Yoga, a few years ago. I saved him from a hawk attack, and the experience changed me in a profound way. If you're interested, here's a blog I wrote about that day.
Raising goats is still a pipe dream, but I’m chiseling away at my husband’s resolve a little more every day. If I have my way, pigs and a few chicken-girls will soon join the menagerie. ;-)
How about you? What animals are important in your life? Tell me about your favorite furred, feathered, scaled, and exoskeletoned creatures in the comments. Who knows? Maybe they’ll end up in my next mystery!