On pets and prose

The great menagerie of animals as literary devices grows ever larger.

From their function in allegory (think Orwell’s Animal Farm) to their beloved status in children’s books—think Aslan the lion in the CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia—literary pets and their wilder counterparts have made their way into our hearts and minds and stayed there.

Image courtesy Francesco De Tommaso

Like our own pets, these creatures have taught us about politics, the environment, courage, loyalty, relationships, resilience and so much more.

Horse books for adolescent girls remain so popular they may be a genre in their own right. My personal favourites were The Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell and the My Friend Flicka series by Mary O’Hara, not to neglect the popular Canadian Heartland series by Lauren Brooke.

Image thanks to Helena Lopes

In the realm of fantastic pets, who could forget Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, in which every child was permanently accompanied by a “daemon” which settled into a particular animal as they reached adulthood? Or the magical creatures of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, from owls to horrific giant spiders and snakes?

Thanks to Blake Snyder’s classic writers’ and screenwriters’ guide to plotting a story, Save the Cat, animals will be immortalised for years to come.

Blake’s premise is that a sure-fire way for an author to convey a character is “good” is to show them saving the cat.

Confession time. The dog on the cover of House of Hearts is one such animal. His role is minor, but essential.

Meet Rossco!
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About House of Hearts

House of Hearts is the latest in my international House of Jewels series, featuring the romantic fortunes of the extended Huntley family.

Opposites attract in House of Hearts, a modern love tale set on the edge of Las Vegas, in the US midwest and in Sydney, Australia. 

Gambling addiction therapist Dr Lisa Bakker, 28, never breaks rules. 

Her bad boy client Will Huntley, 29 — handsome youngest heir to an Australian jewelry business — breaks them all. 

The one rule neither can ignore is the American Psychological Association’s two-year dating ban between clients and therapists.

​Well might Will call sweet divorcee Lisa his “Queen of Hearts.” Her hard-won career hangs in the balance.

And if Will becomes addicted to her, what might it take to win her hand and be lucky in love?

House of Hearts is a fast-paced exploration of lust, trust, planning and patience — and a heartwarming celebration of love.

I hope you enjoy it!

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