Writers and Their Beasts: J. Kathleen Cheney

Yes, every once in a while, I mention my beasts. I’ve got two of them, a brother/sister pair, who control most hours of my days. It seems like most of the cleaning I do is picking up hairballs and mopping up after dirty feet.

But they do keep me sane. They give me much needed distraction when I’m struggling with that plot point that won’t click.

They guard the house from squirrels. Evil, devious squirrels.

And as I’m going to be regularly asking other authors to talk about their beasts, I should start with mine:

1) Let’s start with the obvious: Tell us about your pets.


Above we have Alwyn (top) and Penelope (Al and Penny to their friends). They are litter mates, unregistered Airedale Terriers, and weigh in at about 75lbs each.  And they’re a handful, although not as destructive as they could be, in the last two weeks they have destroyed the passenger side seatbelt in my car and yesterday they broke a dog bowl. Could be worse….much worse.

2) How do they help/hinder your writing?

I’ll start with the hinder, since it’s more obvious. They bark. Endlessly. LOUDLY. They’re insistent, and don’t heistate to paw me or shove their long pointy noses up under my arm to get my attention. It’s hard to work with that kind of distraction.

The help part is more abstract. They keep me from sitting in one place too long, and they certainly give me something to blog about.

3) Do they appear in any of your works?

Actually, no. In fact, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of dogs in my work (except for The King’s Daughter, which isn’t published.) Something I’ll have to consider.

4) How does being a pet owner affect your writing (philosophically?)

I’d like to think that being a dog owner makes me more empathetic.

And less judgmental. That person with the insanely barking dog? Yeah, that’s me. And I know those of you with your German Sheperds are looking at me wondering why I can’t train them not to bark. So if I want you not to look down your noses at my wild dogs, I’d better work hard not to look down at other people for…well, just about anything. Please be forgiving!


(Here’s where, for other authors, I would have a blurb about their recent work and a bio, but seriously….you can find all that on my website. Which is where you are ;o)  )


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