Canine Characters in Fiction

Many fictional books include canine characters. They can end up being as popular with readers as their human counterparts. They can evoke a range of emotions, and for those of us who have enjoyed the company of dogs, remind us of those relationships.

In The Abattoir of Dreams, 14-year-old Michael rescues a dog he sees tied up in a yard, adopts him and names him Oxo. This boy and dog partnership created quite an emotional response in readers, with many commenting on it in their reviews.
For example:

‘I have to mention briefly Michael’s relationship with his childhood pet Oxo as well as Liam who he befriends in the boys home. These relationships moved me to tears and are ones that will stay with me for a long time to come.’
(From a review by Sarah Hardy.)

Oxo – although I’m a dog lover – I don’t usually mention animals in my reviews – but seriously – Oxo the dog – the scenes with him and Michael melted my heart – I was literally mush reading them!
(From a review by Sharon Bairdon.)

Every single character will evoke an emotion for one reason or another and that includes Oxo, Michael’s dog.
(From A review by Neats Wilson.)

When I was 8 years old, I overheard that a puppy was due to be put down after its elderly owner couldn’t look after it any more. All day I begged and pleaded with my parents to let me have the puppy. I couldn’t bare the thought of it being put down. The begging worked and Cindy was brought home. Continue reading

Warning! This Blog Post Contains Discussions about Trigger Warnings.

Are more warnings needed in book descriptions?

Is book censorship in danger of limiting creativity and freedom of expression?

 

 

 

I recently watched a discussion unfold on Facebook about whether The Abattoir of Dreams should have trigger warnings in its description. The person who started the discussion stated they had finished the book, thought it was good, but that ‘there really should be a statutory warning on book covers and blurbs, if a book deals extensively with child abuse’.

This comment then led to a debate about the pros and cons of trigger warnings. Trigger warnings are defined as: a statement cautioning that content (as in a text, video, or class) may be disturbing or upsetting.

As the discussion was taking place in a crime fiction group, many people didn’t see the need for warnings as they’d expect topics such as murder and abuse to be included anyway. The overall opinion was that the book description should make the content of the book clear, so that readers are aware of anything they’d prefer not to read before buying the book. I think that this approach is easier for both publishers and indie authors to implement

I asked best-selling crime thriller author, Peter James, for his opinion, and he told me that he never would put warnings on any of his books. His personal belief is that we live in an age where there are far too many warnings anyway. Continue reading

Why I Love The Fictional Bad Guy

Ebb-standing“Edward Ebb opened the door and walked a few feet into the Revelation Room. He put the petrol can on the floor and walked back outside and retrieved the shotgun. He aimed it in the general direction of the people cowering in the corner. ‘Good afternoon, bunnies.”

Welcome to Edward Ebb, the fictional bad guy in my first book, The Revelation Room. I love the baddies. They really seem to get my creative juices flowing. The bad guy prowls around in the back of my mind, demanding to be let out. He wants to cause mayhem, and he wants to cause it now! He’s been really patient, watching me plot all the nasty things that I have in store for him and now he can’t wait to get going. He even resents me for holding him back. Why create him, he argues, if he has to sit locked up inside my head like a prisoner on death row? He even accuses me of being no better than him, arguing that he is merely an extension of my own macabre nature. At this point, I generally laugh and try not to sound as nervous as I feel. Continue reading

An Interview with a Fictional Psychopath

Ebb-interview-slihouette

Today’s post is an interview with Edward Ebb, the antagonist from my upcoming book, The Revelation Room. The Revelation Room is the first in a series of psychological mystery thrillers written with a touch of dark humour. Ebb is the psychopathic egocentric leader of The Sons and Daughters of Salvation, a small religious cult who have taken the protagonist’s father captive.

This post was inspired by an interview in which Maggie James asked questions of her antagonist from her book The Second Captive http://www.maggiejamesfiction.com/blog/five-questions-for-a-fictional-sociopath.

1. Hi, Edward. Tell me about The Sons and Daughters of Salvation?

Please address me properly. We are not close enough for you to assume such familiarity. You must call me Father at all times if you want to continue this interview. In answer to your question, I set up the group with Brother Gerald some ten years ago. The idea? To prepare for The Rapture. This is the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. All dead people of faith will rise, and all true believers still alive shall go with them to meet the Lord. They will then continue on a journey into the Kingdom of Heaven. Non-believers will be left behind. Of course, it’s not simply a matter of faith, because there are many among us who are masquerading as believers. I fear they are in for a rude awakening. They will be ordered to stay behind with the non-believers to face eternal damnation. The Lord has told me to build a spaceship to prepare for this magnificent event. Continue reading

Have Books Lost Something With Their Lack of Description?

There was a time when you couldn’t pick up a book without massive blocks of descriptive prose. It was an art form all of its own.These descriptions were seen to be adding more depth to the story and giving the reader more information about the characters and setting.

Modern writers tend to steer clear of vast expanses of informative, yet mostly unnecessary writing. In fact, authors have gone in the opposite direction, giving only what is needed to leave the reader to imagine the rest. There also tends to be less time given to journeys and the transition of time.The modern method seems to be to get there as quickly as possible and cut out the filler. Again, this works well for me as a writer and a reader Continue reading