I love animals; always have. They’ve made me a better and more complete person. If you don’t like animals there’s something wrong with you. Something inside you is broken, and I doubt if it can be repaired.

Animals play an important role in my writing. Beyond the enjoyment I derive in creating these characters and bringing them to life, they serve the following functions in my books:

  1. There is a strong element of family drama in each of my novels. The animals in these books add texture to the family dynamic and make all the characters more relatable and real for the reader.

2. They facilitate “showing” rather than “telling.” I don’t have to tell you that John Howard is a strong and proud man with a soft heart. I can show you by writing a scene with him and his horse, Jubal. I may even be able to make you cry. I can do the same thing with Salem Matthews and his dog, Henry.

3. Animals add warmth and emotion to the narrative. They can make a reader smile, laugh, or cry.

4. It makes it easier for the author to show the good in his characters through their interaction with animals. It also makes it easier  to transform bad guys into horrific monsters.

5. It creates more opportunities for the author to build misdirection and sub-plots into the narrative.

6. Animals help you better understand the human characters in the book. Salem Matthews, for example, is a retired Army Special Forces veteran, a man you would expect to own a German Shepherd or maybe a Lab or a Doberman. Henry is a Yorkshire terrier who weighs approximately five pounds, most of it heart. He is also Salem’s Monopoly partner, as well as my favorite character in this series.

So, this is why I write animal characters. By the way, everything I’ve said also holds true for children. Thanks for reading.

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