KISSES LIKE A DEVIL, the latest episode in my Devil books, just arrived in your bookstores this week. (Whoopeee!) It’s about Brian Donovan, the second son of William and Viola Donovan, who you may remember from THE IRISH DEVIL. Teddy Roosevelt sends him off to the Grand Duchy of Eisengau in 1900 where he meets with many adventures, including meeting Meredith Duncan, the young student radical who steals his heart. (She has no use for marriage and the Russians want her at least as much as he does.) But I digress.
When I first started working on this book, Meredith announced very firmly that she had a black Standard Schnauzer. Nobody was more surprised than yours truly to hear this. She had a dog when she spent her days in school and her nights promoting revolution in turn of the century Europe? Huh? Could he handle keeping bullies away from one of the first young ladies to attend a university? Was he intelligent and strong enough to cope with the varied surroundings – and dangers – of beer halls, back alleys, firing ranges, and her mother’s drawing room?
Not to mention, just why did he have to be jet-black? Meredith was very, very clear her dog had to be completely black, as opposed to the more typical salt-and-pepper.
At the same time I was fumbling through this bit of characterization, a friend at Virginia German Shepherd Rescue announced there was a German Shepherd Dog in urgent need of a foster parent. She was petite, shy, and jet-black and had been rescued from a pound hundreds of miles away. Could we look after her for a few weeks until something more permanent could be found? One look into those deep brown eyes ringed by all that black fur and I was a goner.
Honey is now a permanent part of the household. In fact, I have to be very careful when I get up in the middle of the night. She patrols her new home – and there’s no way an intruder can spot that pure black dog moving through the shadows.
Research soon told me that Standard Schnauzers are great watchdogs and were well known before World War I. Some have always been pure black, including one of the earliest favorites. I named Meredith’s dog “Morro” after him.
I began writing and Honey watched me do it, just the way Morro guarded Meredith’s adventures. Heck, he even discreetly protected her from her abominable parents if he could. And whenever I needed a little extra inspiration for a scene with Morro, Honey was right there with an example. She was his guardian spirit.
I hope I did her proud. She’s certainly been a blessing for me and everyone in the family.