Pens, Paws, and Claws welcomes A. R. Kennedy!
Tell our readers a little about yourself and your writing.
My name is A R Kennedy. I’ve been writing novels for seven years, but the stories have been in my head for as long as I can remember. I have a self-published mystery series, The Nathan Miccoli mystery series. I’ve also written a legal thriller and a cozy mystery (which I plan to expand into a series).
Saving Ferris, a legal thriller featuring a golden retriever, is available for pre-order now. Cover reveal coming soon!
Additionally, I love writing short stories and have won the Writers’ Police Academy’s Golden Donut story in 2016 and 2017.
Tell us about your pets. Are any of them models for pets in your writing?
I currently share my home with a seven pound dog, h, of unknown breed but is full of spunk. Although a cuddler and a love in our home, he’s a spitfire on walks. My neighbors call him ‘killer’ because all he does is bark at them.
Tell us about any pets you have in your books/stories. Are any of them recurring characters? What are they and their names?
Laude, a secondary character in the Nathan Miccoli series, is a beautiful black miniature schnauzer. She is a combination of two schnauzers I’ve had. (Sadly, both have passed). Laude has the beauty and attitude of L while also possessing the lovability and friendliness of H. Laude appears in all the novels.
In Saving Ferris, a legal thriller, Ferris is a golden retriever who has failed out of service training. After Cecilia’s husband dies, she’s forced to become Ferris’s caregiver, something she does not immediately warm to. But when his life is threatened by an intruder, she shoots the intruder to save Ferris. The prosecutor feels that Cecilia has committed murder, not self defense. In the eyes of the law, one can use lethal force to protect themselves and others, but not property. Pets are considered property. Cecilia endures a murder trial where her defense attorney forces everyone to ask themselves, Is the your pet property or family?
What writing projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on upcoming novels in the Nathan Miccoli mystery series and in the Traveling Detective series, a cozy mystery series I’m currently seeking representation for.
Did you have childhood pets? If so, tell us about them.
My parents had a mini schnauzer, Kelly, when I was born. A few years after she passed, after years of begging for a puppy, I picked out C, a miniature-toy poodle. After college, at my first professional job, a co-worker told me her dog was pregnant and I needed a dog. I hesitated but the hesitation flew away when she told me the mom and dad were miniature schnauzers! I met L soon after she was born and we bonded instantly. (She also peed on me!)
How do you use animals in your writing? Are they a character in their own right or just mentioned in passing?
I’ve written an entire novel, Saving Ferris, inspired by the love so many of us feel for our pets. There’s no doubt my dogs are members of the family and I know so many people feel the same. But the law does not.
In the Nathan Miccoli mystery series, although I consider Laude a major character, most would consider her a minor character. If we’re reading Lily’s point of view, Laude is probably right there with her.
In the Traveling Detective series, after book one, there will also be a pet. But because Naomi’s adventures occur while on vacation, we probably won’t get to see her cat, Cher, too much.
Why do you include animals in your writing?
I love animals. For my day job, I visit people in their homes. I always make it a point to say hello to each of the animals, including the birds! People are often surprised how their animals, cats and dogs, take to me right away. On our last visit, I always tell people I’m terrible with names and may not remember them if they call me with updates but just mention their pet and I’ll remember everything about them.
What’s your real-life funniest pet story?
When L was a puppy, my roommate had a cat. L and the cat (it’s been too long I can’t remember her name!) would chase each other all day. After taking L on her midday walk, a neighbor asked for the package I was holding for her. She followed me to my apartment. When I opened the door, L saw the cat and took off after her. Surprised by the quick and strong pull on the leash, and distracted by the neighbor, I was pulled to the floor, landing flat on my face. The neighbor, who I did not know well, just stared at me as I got up. I handed her the package, assuring her I was alright. (Nothing was injured but my pride). The neighbor never passed me again without laughing.
(My ten-pound L pulling down the seven foot Christmas tree is also a good story.)
What’s the number one item on your bucket list and why?
Most of my bucket list items involves travel and animals. I’ve been fortunate enough to view the Big Five while on safari in South Africa (which inspired a cozy mystery novel and birth of my series, The Traveling Detective), to swim with penguins, a shark and seals in the Galapagos, and to observe kangaroos and koalas in the wild and feed them and a plethora of other native animals at a sanctuary in Australia.
A gorilla trek in Uganda remains unchecked on my bucket list.
What do your pets do when you are writing?
h lies on my lap as I write. He often scratches my arm for belly rubs while I’m trying to work. He’s lying next to my leg right now!
Where is your favorite place to read (or write)? Why?
I love to read and write on my couch, with h next to me.
Let’s Be Social: