This week, Kristina Stanley is our guest author for #WriterWednesday. Tell our readers a little about yourself and your writing.
Thank you for having me on Pens, Paws, and Claws. It’s exciting for me to post about writing and dogs. My two passions in life. I’m the CEO of Fictionary. I co-founded Fictionary after I had 4 books published and had developed a process for performing my own structural edit.
My mysteries are very setting dependent. They take place British Columbian mountains, the Bahamas, and Loughborough Lake in Kingston Ontario.
Tell us about your pets. Are any of them models for pets in your writing?
Farley Mowat is a 9-year-old Wheaten Terrier. My previous dog, Chica, was a yellow Labrador. Not only are my pets models for writing, I use many other dogs in my novels. In Look The Other Way, there is a dog named Piddles. I met her in the Bahamas and decided she needed a role.
Tell us about any pets you have in your books/stories. Are any of them recurring characters? What are they and their names?
My Yellow Lab, Chica, died when she was four. It broke my heart. At the time I was writing Descent, the first in the Stone Mountain Series, so I gave her a role. It was a way for me to keep her with me.
Farley has a large role in Blaze, a cameo in Look The Other Way, and is a character (under the name of Mowat) in my work in progress, Evolution.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
I’ve finished the first draft of Evolution. Jaz Cooper’s husband dies under mysterious circumstances. Weeks later, Jaz rescues a dog from drowning and is wounded by the dog. The two incidents are linked, and Jaz tries to discover what really happened to her husband.
Did you have childhood pets? If so, tell us about them.
I’ve always had dogs, and I don’t seem to have a preference for a breed. In order of appearance in my life I had Frosty a Samoyed. Toby a Samoyed. Polo a Newfoundland. Mia a Newfoundland. Arf a British Bull Terrier. Emmett a Dalmatian. And Zack a Standard Poodle.
How do you use animals in your writing? Are they a character in their own right or just mentioned in passing?
They are characters in their own right. I’m very interested in how animals affect the lives of humans and how much a human gains from a relationship with an animal. I love to explore this topic.
Why do you include animals in your writing?
I believe in writing about what you love. An author spends an awful lot of time with a novel, so for me, the topic needs to be a passion.
Do you have any working or service animals in your stories? Tell us about them.
In my work in progress, Evolution, the main character is a dog trainer. And yes a service dog appears. Jaz, the protagonist, doesn’t realize she needs a therapy dog until she meets a yellow Labrador named Rose. When I’m writing, I imagine my yellow Labrador, Chica.
What’s your real-life funniest pet story?
When I was a director at Panorama Mountain Village, I changed the policy to allow dogs at work. There was a selfish motive. I brought my dog, Chica, to work with me. She was under 6 months old, and I thought, fully housetrained, so I let her run free in the office.
Unbeknownst to me, a meeting was happening in the conference room.
“Okay, someone admit it. Who did that?” says one of the resort managers. “I can’t take the smell anymore.”
Giggles around the table, but no one admits to the gaseous emissions.
Then, a knock at my office door. “Has Chica been in the conference room?”
“Sure,” I say.
“You’d better come with me.”
So I follow the manager down the hallway. A group of people is moving from one conference room to another.
The manager points to the rug below the table. And there it sits. One big pile of steaming…
Let’s just say everyone had a fun time laughing at me while I cleaned up.
When did you know you were a writer? And how did you know?
Late one night in Unteruhldingen, Germany I was reading MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU by Mary Higgins Clark. The opening—a woman trapped in a grave. Darkness and silence surround her, and she doesn’t know where she is. I can still see her fingers clawing at the edges of the coffin.
Tucked in my bed, I knew a driver would arrive at 4 a.m. to carry me to the Zurich airport for a flight to London, England. The sensible thing to do was sleep. But I couldn’t. I turned pages until the car arrived. I was exhausted, bleary eyed, and excited. At that moment I knew I wanted to write something that forced a person to read and to forget about life for a while.
What do your pets do when you are writing?
Farley is always with me when I’m writing. He sleeps at my feet. When he’s decided I’ve ignored him for long enough, he jumps up beside me. When he truly can’t control himself, he puts his head on my keyboard. Then I know it’s time for a walk.
About Kristina Stanley
Kristina Stanley is the CEO of Fictionary.co. Fictionary is an online tool that helps fiction writers turn a first draft into a great story.
She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series, LOOK THE OTHER WAY, and THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES. She’s published by Imajin Books and Luzifer-Verlag.
Her short stories have been published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and The Voices From the Valleys anthology.
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