The Writer’s Dog : Guest Blog by Anne Gracie

Anne Gracie writer's dog

Anne Gracie

Libertà’s very first guest blog comes from much-loved Australian author Anne Gracie whose captivating stories have won her fans all over the world.

Anne Gracie started her first novel while backpacking solo around the world, writing by hand in notebooks. Now published by Berkley USA and Penguin Australia, her Regency-era romances have been translated into more than eighteen languages — including Japanese manga (which she thinks is very cool).

A life-long advocate of universal literacy, Anne also writes books for adults just learning to read.

 

Move over TK, the Writer’s Cat. Make room for…

Anne Gracie and Milly, the Writer’s Dog

I grew up with animals, all kinds of animals, and a house without at least one animal seems empty to me. I’ve had a variety of pets, including cats, but the one animal that’s a constant in my life is a dog, and my current companion is Milly.

writer's dog Milly 1
She’s a rescue dog and came to me half grown, after I saw her on a dog rescue website, and brought her home, all gangly and uncoordinated.  She’s a little kelpie/cross (about 55cm, almost 2 ft.)

I sometimes tell people who ask about breeds that she’s a Baluchistan Hound. (And if you don’t know what a Baluchistan Hound is, you need to read Georgette Heyer’s Frederica.)

 

writer's dog Milly in boa
She’s a happy little soul and will dress up and be glamorous when required, especially if she thinks she’s about to go out somewhere interesting. I have to say Milly isn’t as keen on accessories as my previous dog, Chloe, who loved wearing scarves or boas and never once tried to take them off.

Milly likes boas — to chew.

Dogs are excellent  companions for writers. They love to keep you company, but unlike cats, they don’t walk on your keyboard. And once they learn that books are not for chewing, they will happily snooze beside your desk for hours.

writer's dog Milly providing inspiration

Apart from the good company, a dog will drag you out at least once a day for a walk. Writing is such a sedentary occupation that exercise is essential, but it’s also something that’s all too easy to put off. Or avoid. Not with a dog in the house.

The very first thing any dog learns as a puppy is Silent Reproach.

writer's dog Milly time for walkIf the hour for walking has, in their opinion, passed, they will sit patiently at your elbow, perhaps giving you an occasional nudge with a damp nose, gazing at you with tragic brown eyes, doing an academy award-deserving (or blue ribbon prize) imitation of a dog who not only hasn’t had a walk, but who has probably been kept in a cardboard box her whole life, has never been fed, or ever experienced a single moment of happiness.

You sigh. You save your document and say “Oh, all right.”

And suddenly there is a little black creature frisking madly at your feet, racing to the front door and back a dozen times a minute, tail wagging frantically. You reach the front door, where the lead hangs and suddenly Tornado Dog turns into a frozen statue of Noble Dog Sitting and Waiting for Her Lead. Never did a dog deserve a walk more.

writer's dog Milly out on walk

The walk itself is not only a source of fresh air and exercise and possibly inspiration for the writer, it will contain a dozen laughs at the very least, because dogs are funny. They’re funny with other people and they’re especially funny with other dogs. And if there are no other dogs around, they will find wonderful smells and disgusting things to roll in, and birds or rabbits to chase. You will also meet a variety of other humans, all interesting and some delightfully eccentric — dog people come in all varieties, and almost all of them are lovely.

So if you want to be a writer, get a dog.

Huge thanks to Anne Gracie for being Libertà’s first guest

Thanks also to Milly for graciously posing for those pictures. We can see why Anne believes that a writer’s best friend is a dog, especially a dog like Milly.

“Get a dog” sounds like great advice, Anne, especially to the pet-challenged members of the Libertà hive. Sophie has the famous TK, but the most Joanna can boast is borrowed pet time, plus the occasional splurge of frog spawn in the pond.

Connect with Anne Gracie

summer bride by anne gracie
Anne Gracie blogs regularly with Word Wenches where you can read about subjects as diverse as Regency Christmas and chimney sweeps.

Anne’s new website is having a makeover right about now but will be available again very soon. She also has a lively author page on  Facebook and can sometimes be found on Twitter.

Anne Gracie’s next book in the Brides series will be available in July. The gorgeous cover of The Summer Bride  is on the left.

 

If you can’t wait till then, try one of the earlier brides stories.

autumn bride by Anne Graciewinter bride by Anne Graciespring bride by Anne Gracie

 

21 thoughts on “The Writer’s Dog : Guest Blog by Anne Gracie

  1. Sue McCormick

    Very good entry. I believe you, Anne. There is only ONE problem in this household. The dander sensitivity is to dogs as opposed to the more common sensitivity! So this household will remain a home to cats rather than dogs, even though we appreciate the good sense and good companionship of the dog.

    1. AnneGracie

      What a shame, Sue. I think there are some dogs breeds that have a low allergy rating, but cats are lovely anyway. Mary Jo Putney and Sophie Weston would very much think you were better off with cats, and having met their cats, I can see their point, even if Milly is Doing Reproach at me for even suggesting such a thing. 😉

    2. Sophie

      My goddaughter was allergic in her teens and her parents got round it by taking on a Schnauzer, which was a super little dog, full of vim and vigour and extremely funny. I think their coats are like wool, or something, so they don’t harbour the allergy-inducing chemicals, I suppose.

    1. AnneGracie

      Dogs are excellent company, Lesley. And if lady Godiva is of the feline persuasion, she could always train a puppy to submit to Catly Rule. My old cat Harrie-cat ruled two dogs with a Paw of Iron.

  2. Elizabeth Bailey

    Unfortunately can’t have cats now as I have an allergic person in the house. But do remember trying to type with cat on lap and having to reach over it to get to the keyboard – which annoyed same cat enough to nip at my fingers. An earlier cat insisted on being cuddled so I had to type one-handed. As you say, Anne, dogs are much more accommodating, though I don’t have one of those either. But either animal is pretty good at ruling the roost.

  3. AnneGracie

    They do tend to rule the roost somewhat, Elizabeth, but they can always be put outside when necessary. Mind you, Milly does it in a slow motion, whipped-dog-off-to-the-guillotine walk, so it takes some firmness of mind. 😉

  4. Christina Courtenay

    I totally agree that a dog is essential to an author – although I went a little too far and acquired three :-). The youngest is my constant writing companion though and mostly very patient but I think he could compete with Milly in the sad eye stakes

    1. AnneGracie

      Thanks, Christina. I think all dogs are born with the emotional blackmail gene. They are actors, and so hammy it’s funny and adorable.

    1. AnneGracie

      Milly thanks you. She thinks she’s adorable too. 😉 But it’s quite hard to photograph a black dog — their expressions don’t show up very well. All my previous dogs had eyebrows of a different colour — usually tan — and they do a lot with their eyebrows. Milly is doing it, but you can’t tell by the photos.

  5. Barbara Hannay

    Gorgeous blog, Anne. I love Milly. We’re currently raising tadpoles for a rare rainforest tree frog and as we live in the wild, prefer not to have domesticated pets that might want to eat our little critters. But I think of our free range chickens as pets.

  6. AnneGracie

    Wow, Barbara, what a lovely thing to do — raising rare rainforest tree frogs. I used to love catching taddies when i was a kid and watching them turn into frogs and hop away. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Elizabeth Rolls

    Dogs are essential. We actually have three of them and find that works brilliantly. I love the conversations I strike up with other people when I’m out with one them. I love it when children want to pet my dog, although I do say they have to ask their mum or dad and not mind getting licked. My dog was run over a few months ago and I cried for a week, but we have a new puppy now, Robbie, and it’s so much fun watching Fergus the Lab teach him what’s what. And Fergus is happy again having a buddy. He and Pippa-dog are mates but she doesn’t romp any more. He missed that although I think he’s getting more than he bargained for just now😃.

  8. AnneGracie

    Dogs are a constant adventure, aren’t they Elizabeth? Dreadful when one dies, though — hugs on your loss. They take a piece of our heart with them, that’s for sure. I still miss my beloved Chloe-dog. Thanks for dropping by.

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