Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits with Kari: Featuring Pets in Mysteries

Good morning Tuesday readers :-)

I woke up today thinking about my work in progress: Corpse in the Crystal Ball, and how I was going to handle the characters. What I was going to have them do, and what I was going to throw at them this time. This is book two of The Fortune Teller Mystery Series.

In Tempest in the Tea Leaves (book one), I created the character Morty. He's a big beautiful white cat with jet black eyes and fur that seems to glow at times. You never see him eat or sleep and he seems to literally appear out of thin air at times.

There's no proof that he's immortal, but my main character, Sunny, suspects he is (that's why she names him Morty) because of the reasons above, as well as the fact that he was in the house when she moved in. The house had been locked up tight for months so who had been feeding him and how did he survive? She also suspects that the house everyone thinks is haunted is really Morty's doing to keep people away.

Morty is very regal acting. A cat with attitude, who acts like he rules the house. He doesn't like many people, acts snobbish at times, like he's better than most, can be finicky. Yet he is fiercely loyal and very protective of Sunny.

This all got me thinking about my characters and how pets are really characters, too. And Morty is one of my main characters. That being said, I thought I should really develop him. Give him a back story. Where did he come from? How did he become immortal? How did he end up living in Vicky (the ancient Victorian house Sunny bought)? Does he have any goals, motivations or conflicts. Maybe show some sort of growth and change in each book, even if it's just a minor one like softening a little or coming to accept a certain character, etc. Taking his character and his bond with Sunny could be a really cool, fun part of this series.

What do you all think? Do you have pets in your books? How have you handled them as "characters"? Any tips or ideas?

Inquiring minds want to know...

So bring on those comments, then sit in your chair and write :-)



Anita Clenney said...

Hi Kari. I LOVE the title of the book, and I can't wait to read the first book when it comes out.

The second book in my secret warrior series has not really a pet, but a mysterious cat and an owl that show up. I love bringing in other elements like a pet and giving them a special part.

I think you could give him goals and motivations and show him changing as a character would, but I also think just keeping him constant and floating throughout the story works well too. Morty sounds great.

Liz Lipperman said...

Kari,not only do I love Morty's name, I love him. He is hysterical and so loyal to Sunny. I like that you're developing him as a character.

I don't have pets in my stories, but if I did, it wold be a dog since that's what I'm familiar with. However, that said, I associate magic with cats for some reason.

Goo luck with book 2. I am 2/3 of the way home with mine!!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks Anita! I love the title, too :-)

Morty has tons of personality already, but to really develop him would be fun.

Can't wait for your stories to come out.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Liz, you're so sweet!

I love Morty's name, too. He's so much fun to write about.

And holy cow....you are 2/3 of the way through your book two, and mine is due in 3 months yet I'm just starting it.


Wanna trade places? LOL.

Donna Cummings said...

I have a cat, Serena, in my romantic comedy, and she's devious and fussy and spars with the heroine. LOL Serena has a character arc, though, that helps the heroine with hers, so it's fun. I'm not a cat person, but it just worked somehow. :)

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Ha ha, your cat sounds awesome, Donna! Can't wait to read that book :-)

Mary Martinez said...

Great post. I love pet's as characters, you can make them quirky, in fact the quirkier the better.

Good luck!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks Mary :-)

Lindsay said...

In my currently, as of yet unsold book, I've got a collie. I had always wanted to work a pet into a story and it really fit in the story. Not only does she have her own personality, partially taken from my collie of the same name, Kebi, but she helps save the day. Or in this case the hero.
And her offspring will appear in future stories. Thereby carrying on the legacy of being brave, with a serious touch of mischievousness.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

That sounds great, Lindsay! Pets can really add so much to books.

Lindsay said...

No kidding Kari. And in some cases either carry a scene or save one.

Marilyn said...

I added a dog named Ears to my novel CHILD OF THE MOUNTAINS. I realized after I named him Ears that the protagonist desperately needed someone to listen. I am thrilled that my editor says they want to have Ears on the cover with my protagonist.