The Purrfect Pet Sitter and my Imaginary Menagerie

This week we released our second Ruby Fiction title – The Purrfect Pet Sitter by Carol Thomas. Today on the blog, Carol introduces us to some of the animals in her own life (and in the book!) and talks about the research she did on running a pet sitting business.

I am delighted that my romantic comedy, The Purrfect Pet Sitter, is now available as an eBook. Getting my publishing contract with Ruby Fiction is a dream come true; the fact it is for a book that enabled me to indulge my love of writing romantic comedy in which you can fall in love with the supporting cast of animals as much as the hero makes it even more special.

Anybody who follows me on social media will know that I am a dog lover with a soft spot for Labradors. I lost my two gorgeous old boys, Benson and Milo, within the last few years and now have a slightly crazy, two-year-old Labrador with a penchant for eating things he shouldn’t (he last went to the vets for swallowing a tea towel, whole!).

With Lisa Blake, the lead character in my novel, being a pet sitter, this gave me the perfect opportunity to incorporate a Labrador into her life. Jack is a wonky-eyed black Lab, the beloved pet of Winnie, the first client to put their faith in Lisa and her new business. He is a cheeky boy and, while not a young dog, when the mood takes him, he can achieve the energy of a puppy and the speed of a whippet – many Labs can.

Jack, who was inspired by my Labrador Milo (a handsome, slightly wonky-eyed boy, with an independent spirit, a variety of quirks and a lot of love to give) features throughout the book. One of my favourite scenes involving him is the opening chapter in which he has slipped his collar. In her search for Jack, Lisa has a chance encounter with a mysterious man in leather, Lisa finds him frustrating whereas Jack seems to have him on side.

Another of my favourite scenes comes when Lisa and Winnie take Jack to church, for a service in honour of St Francis of Assisi (patron saint of animals). Writing the scenes in the church was a lot of fun. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that what Jack does to a Yorkshire terrier actually happened. My dog, Benson, was guilty of this misdemeanour in one of his early training classes, in which, being a Labrador, he was much larger than his smaller breed puppy pals.

My insight into the life of a pet sitter came from my daughter. She has been a pet sitter, running her own business for many years. Of course, she is nothing like Lisa Blake; she has certainly never lost a client on her watch. But she was able to provide some great anecdotes, and she allowed me to read her diary, where clients are listed under their pets’ names. It made for a fabulous read and inspired me to come up with names for the three chickens Lisa looks after in my novel. I hope their names will give you a smile, they did me – but then I had been alone in a hotel room writing for thirty-six hours when I came up with them (hmm, you’ll have to let me know what you think)!

I enjoy bringing animals to life in my books; I consider them all part of my very own imaginary menagerie and, as you read The Purrfect Pet Sitter, I hope that you will fall in love with them, as I have.

The Purrfect Pet Sitter is now available to buy as an eBook on all platforms. Click the banner below for purchasing options.

For more information on Carol Thomas:

Christina and Man’s Best Friend

Sykes the Thespian Dog

Sykes the Thespian Dog

I think most of you know by now that I love dogs and have three of the little rascals who more or less rule my life.  (Yes, I know I’m supposed to be the “alpha dog” of the pack, but somehow I got ousted … no idea how that happened!)  Maybe that’s why they keep ending up in my novels?  Not exactly like mine, but just dogs in general.  They’re not always the centre of attention or have huge roles to play, but they are there in the background, doing what dogs excel at – being man’s best friend.

I was reminded of their appeal and why I love them so much when I happened to see the cover of this week’s Country Life magazine. Normally they have castles, gundogs or other such things on the front and portraits of debutantes inside, but this week they’re featuring Sykes the thespian dog. In case you don’t know who he is, he’s an extremely clever and talented little actor, who has appeared in countless films (including some with Johnny Depp apparently!). He also starred in an award-winning advert where he played Harvey, a rescue dog with unbelievable skills looking for a home! (See for yourself on Youtube here if you missed it). Currently he’s stealing the show in the new series of Midsomer Murders – I thought maybe it was just me, but apparently most other people think so too. Personally, whenever he’s on set, I forget all about the Inspector and the grisly murder victims. I’m much more interested in seeing what Sykes is going to get up to. And he never disappoints. He has a very expressive face!sykes2

So am I going mad? Turning into a crazy old dog lady? I don’t think so (at least not yet 🙂). There is something particularly appealing about a dog (or any pet I suppose) who is intelligent enough to help their human owners. Especially if they save the day, sound the alarm when danger approaches or just leans on their human friend to give them sympathy when it’s needed. I explored this in Highland Storms, where the heroine’s dog Liath does his best to get in on the action and I have to admit I loved writing the scenes featuring him. I only wish my own dogs were as obedient or had half his brain cells, but that’s another story …

Any other animal lovers out there? Please tell me it’s not just me!