By Dane McCaslin
Writers get inspiration from ordinary life and the people around them. Sometimes they spot the perfect model for their fictional pets, and I was no exception. When I spotted a terrier mix pup at our local rescue shelter adoption day, I was a goner. No, I wasn’t able to take the darling thing home with me (allergies prevail in our home, unfortunately, much like my protagonist Gwen Franklin), but she stayed on my mind until I simply had to put her into a book.
Sometimes inspiration happens quickly, as that did, but sometimes it takes a while. In fact, I had no intention of putting a second dog in the book at all. It occurred to me, though, that dogs need friends too, and Aggie, the terrier mix in “Doggone Dead” (you can see her on the cover) needed a pal. With that in mind, I created another rescue dog, this time for Gwen.
Hercule, or “Herc”, as Gwen calls him, appeared one rainy night on her front porch. The inspiration for this happened on a very sunny and hot day here in Arizona, but I’d been thinking about Portland (Gwen and Nora’s stomping grounds) and how I’d love to bottle the weather there. I’d also recently read an article on the plight of the local rescue shelters in that city and the need for more volunteers. Stormy weather there can be bad at times, with strays cold and scared, and I knew then that I needed to help Gwen rescue just such a dog.
Aggie and Herc have become great friends, and you can count on seeing more of them in future books featuring Gwen and Nora. In the meantime, consider what you might do for your local pet shelter. Not everyone can give time, but maybe you can drop off food or treats for the animals. Toys are always welcome, too, as are old blankets. Whatever it is, nothing is too small, and Aggie and Herc thank you from the bottom of their furry hearts.
Retired high school teacher Gwen Franklin has a new pet valet business with her BFF, and a whole new leash on life. But a killer is about to come sniffing around . . .
Gwen Franklin is looking forward to spending her retirement drinking her favorite coffee and reading mystery novels. Those peaceful plans are brought to heel by her best friend, Nora. Sporting stiletto heels, leggings, and a “more is better” makeup routine, fifty-something Nora Goldstein has a penchant for marrying—and divorcing—rich men. Now that Gwen’s got free time, Nora figures they should start a dog-walking and pet-sitting service together.
But it’s far from a walk in the park when the corpse of Linda Fletcher is found in Nora’s kitchen. Linda was Nora’s nemesis, and the large knife protruding from her chest points to murder. With no doubt that her bestie’s being framed, Gwen puts her sleuthing skills—acquired from reading every Agatha Christie mystery—to the test as she digs through suspects, including four disgruntled ex-husbands, ten greedy ex-stepchildren, not to mention all her exes’ exes. But with death threats and another body surfacing, can Gwen curb a killer before her own (dog) days come to an end?