Sunday, October 17, 2010

Animals in Fiction

At the moment I have animals on the brain. My husband rescued a 10 day old kitten 10 days ago and my life has turned into a round of two hourly feeding, toileting, and loads cuddles. It’s like having a newborn in the house. But I love it. She is the cutest little creature. We have named her Miss Kittiana but she also gets Miss Kitty and Miss K as well.

I have always had a soft spot for animals. I grew up in a semi-rural environment where we always had dogs, chickens, pigs and other farm animals. Being on a farm meant some of those animals were for eating, but I loved talking to them and playing with them.

This is Miss Kittiana having one of her 2 hourly feeds. Isn't she cute.

When I wrote my first book, I had several animal characters. Some were eventually dropped from the final draft but a malamute named Cerberus, did make the novel. He remains one of my favourite characters.  In DEATH’S SWEET EMBRACE my characters are shapeshifters and I get to flex my animal loving muscle. But I also have a character who is a Humegetarian, which means he will only feed on the donated blood of human vegans and vegetarians (a true vampire vegetarian unlike the animal murdering Edward and his family from Twilight). He is also a member of the Parahumans Against Animal Abuse and is inspired by a friend of mine.

I love stories with animals in it. I think one of the reasons I read ANIMAL FARM when I was a teenager was because it had animals in it. Okay – it was a little different than I thought, but I still enjoyed the dystopian drama, even if I was expecting something more like CHARLOTTE’S WEB.

But one of the things I love about paranormal is that we can do strange and wonderful things including what we can make our animals do. They can talk, they can change in and out of human form, they can give in to their animal instincts. They can be used to show off characteristics of our hero or heroine or they can be characters in their own right,

Tell me some of your favorite animal characters from books, movies or TV and why you connected with them.


JenM said...

I love animals but unfortunately, I'm horribly allergic to cats and dogs so I can't have one of my own. Your little kitty is so adorable.

I just read a book called Cattitude by Edie Ramer about a psychic woman being chased by a murderer who accidently exchanges bodies with a cat named Belle. Belle was hilarious - she totally had the cat attitude, regardless of what body she was in. At first, as a human, she's totally dismayed at the loss of her fur, her four paws, her stalking ability, and her ability to fall from a height and land on her feet. It's a cute PNR that any cat lover would like.

Sara M said...

Good luck with the new kitten. My family has taken in 3 strays over the years that were very young and needed bottle feeding. I always ended up as the designated "middle of the night" person, and I loved the bonding I got to do with each kitten (even if I'm not their favorite person anymore).

I also enjoy when animals are included in the UF/PNR I read. They don't even have to be magical or key to the plot. Just mentioning a pet every now and then makes a story filled with paranormal creatures or magic feel more real.

Judit said...

I love animals; I'm a biology major and wanna continue my studie sin the ecology-zoology field. I practically grown up on Steve Irwin and Brady Barr documentaries so obviously I love crocs. The first book i've read was a story about dogs from Thomas Brezina; than other books about cute animal tales and farm animals. When I was 13 or 14 I saw Jaws and believe or not, I fell in love with sharks and I'm still obsessed with them; they're my fav animals. After I read night's Cold Kiss I decided when I'll have my own place and will have a dog I'll call her/him Cerberus; that name was so ironic that it just stuck in my head. And I really like the cat, Medea from the Mercy Thomson novels too, that cat has personality liking the big bad wolfs :P I think your new kitten is adorable; wish I could have a cute furball like she is but my dad is afraid of cats......weird if you ask me :)

Judit said...

Oh and forgot that we have a dog, Sarah. She's our little princess and she can play that role really well :P

Patricia Lynne said...

When I was little, I had this book called Blitzcat and it was about a cat's journey to find her owner after her owner moves during WWII. I just loved it, loved that it was from the perspective of the cat, but wasn't over the top. The cat was just a cat, but her mission was amazing and that book is the first thing that popped into my head when I read this blog. I think I still have the book somewhere.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

First... congrats! :) So cute!!

The first one I remember from my childhood was Black Beauty. I also loved Lassie re-runs and Benji movies. My pit bull used to watch Benji movies with me when it was on tv and he would react to what was going on. It was too funny.

Nicole Murphy said...

We always had at least one dog and cat when I was growing up. Now we rent and can't have pets and it's very sad :(

The first animal I fell in love with was Rin Tin Tin. Then I came across some books that were also about a german shepherd (the name escapes me now) but it cemented my love of the breed. I will have one one day.

I think my favourite animal character at the moment is Brian from The Family Guy - I love that dog, the only sane one in the family :)

Helen Lowe said...


Good on you and your husband for rescuing the kitten! I always loved the animals in the Narnia books and The Incredible Journey was also a favorite of mine as a young kid.

Tracey O'Hara said...

JenM - darn about being allergic. That bites.

I have Cattitude on my TBR pile - Edie is an awesome writer.

A non-PNR read is Love is a Four Legged Word by Kandy Shepherd. Very cute and funny.

Tracey O'Hara said...

Sara M - that bonding is really good isn't it. In my household - my cats prefer my husband and my son - they have this weird cat-whispery thing going on and they gravitate toward them.

And I agree about that pets give a story more realism.

GB said...

As a kid, I loved the Canadian show The Littlest Hobo about a dog that travels from place to place, mostly helping out the humans he comes across.

Why did I connect with that show? I have no idea. I guess I was hoping someday he would find a forever home. Maybe there was some wishing on my part that I'd get a London (the name of the dog) of my very own.

I only ever had budgies as pets as a kid and I blame that show for my adoration of big dogs. I have a cat now and I treat him like a dog!

One day, when I get my own place and am not paying someone else's mortgage, I'll get a dog. Until then, my puppy-cat fulfills that role nicely!

Tracey O'Hara said...

Judit - both crocs and sharks are some of my favorite animals. I was going to become a marine biologist specialising in them. I had a maths teacher that used to tell us about working with a croc tagger/hunter (not Steve Irwin).

Thanks for reading NCK - and yes Cerberus was one of my fav characters

Tracey O'Hara said...

Paticia - Blitzcat sounds really cool. I will have to look that one up. Isn't it great when something brings to mind a child treasure.

Tracey O'Hara said...

Melissa - OMG that is so funny - your pit bull wathcing Benji movies and digging it. I can almost hear is other bull-doggy pal giving him a hard time ;)

Tracey O'Hara said...

Nicole - pets are essential for sanity - it should be illegal to ban pets. I loved Rin Tin Tin - and did you ever see the Littlest Hobo on TV.

And Brian is such a crack up - the most human character on the show.

Tracey O'Hara said...

OMG - I forgot about The Incredible Journey. That was fabulous.

Tracey O'Hara said...

GB - it's funny, reading Nicole's post above reminded me of the Littlest Hobo. I loved the that show too - though I never wanted him to find a forever home because he could help so many others if he kept going.

Though I was hoping one day he'd come to my town and beat up the bullies that harrased me. :)

Puppy-cat sounds awesome - I have one of those - his name is Gizmo.

Katie Dalton said...

Would have to be Tigger from winne the pooh! :) Because tops ARE made out of rubber. And bottoms no doubt made out of SPRINGS. ;)


donnas said...

Aww. My favorite animal character has always been Tigger. He just gets no love. I always wanted a kitten to name Tigger too but that hasnt happened yet.

Sharon S. said...

Humegetarian, lol. That is a new one. Looking forward to reading it.

I usually avoid animal stories like the plague. They are always sad. I listen to Marley & Me on CD and I was sitting in my kid's carpool line bawling like a baby! I did see all the Benji movies when I was young. I also loved Marmaduke that came out this summer. Too funny!

and you kitten video sent my daughters into fits of "aw"

Merrie Destefano said...

Hi, sweetie! I love Miss Kittiana! I grew up with cats and, for me, it just doesn't feel like home if there isn't a cat here. There's nothing like cuddling up with a purring kitty on a rainy day while reading a book.

I can't think of a novel with animals, but I loved the James Herriot series, especially All Creatures Great And Small. I really enjoyed his stories about life as a country vet in Great Britain. It sounded both romantic and noble.

Miss Kittiana is blessed to have been found by you and your husband. She will have a great home!

Best wishes on your next book!

Abby Minard said...

Miss Kittiana is SO stinkin cute! I was never a big fan of animals as main characters in books, but I did love animal farm. Do dragons count? The Dragonriders of Pern series is one of my favorites- and the dragon characters are so wise yet still can act like humans with mistakes and all.

heatwave16 said...

She is just beyond cute!!! We have 3 rescued pups in our house. 2 from shelters, and one from the side of the road. We've reached the limit, but I'd have a 1000 if I could.

Crystal @ RBtWBC said...

She is sooo...cute. I just love all the pics you post on FB of her. Adorable.
We have a kitten who is growing fast, a dog and some fish. I've always had cats growing up though and they were always following me home as well. ;) I took in two as a teenager that Miss Kittiana reminds me of, Salt & Pepper. Unfortunetly Salt didn't make it, she had kidney problems, but Pepper lived a good life and he was such a cool cat.

My favorite animal character from a movie & book is Black Beauty. I fell in love with him as a little girl and I still have the book & VHS that my daughter today loves.