From the time Lee McKenzie was ten years old and read Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, she knew she wanted to be a writer, just like Anne and Jo. In the intervening years she has written advertising copy, magazine articles, and an honors thesis in paleontology, and edited conference proceedings, educational material and technical publications. Along the way her imagination demanded a more creative outlet, and she soon discovered the world of romance. Becoming a four-time Golden Heart finalist and a Harlequin author are her proudest accomplishments yet. Lee and her artist/teacher husband live on an island in the Pacific Northwest, and she loves to spend time with two of her best friends—her grown-up children. You can visit Lee at http://www.leemckenzie.com
If I Were Queen of the Universe…
… I would abolish cruelty to animals and there would be no need for animal shelters and rescue societies. All pets—furred, feathered and finned—would have loving forever homes, just like the animals in the books I write.
In my first book, The Man for Maggie, there were no pets. The hero and heroine were in transition and pets wouldn’t have worked. By my second book, though, I’d hit my stride and an Old English Sheepdog named Max appeared in With This Ring. http://www.leemckenzie.com/books/2010/8/19/with-this-ring.html Max did a series of guest blogs when that book released! If you’d like to meet him, click on the title and scroll down.
In my two San Francisco-set books, the heroine in Firefighter Daddy http://www.leemckenzie.com/books/2010/8/20/firefighter-daddy.html has a tuxedo cat named Buick, named for the sound of his purr. And in The Wedding Bargain, http://www.leemckenzie.com/books/2010/12/30/the-wedding-bargain.html the hero’s younger brother Ben has a little white bichon frise called Poppy because as a puppy she resembled a piece of popcorn.
In my Ready Set Sold series, readers met Hershey the chocolate labradoodle in The Christmas Secret, http://www.leemckenzie.com/books/2011/6/15/the-christmas-secret.html.In The Daddy Project, http://www.leemckenzie.com/books/2012/9/6/the-daddy-project.html the heroine has a Yorkshire terrier named Hercules and the hero has a St. Bernard called Hegemone. And the hero’s German shepherd, Rex, in Daddy, Unexpectedly, http://www.leemckenzie.com/books/2013/2/8/daddy-unexpectedly.html who is afraid of cats, has to learn to love Chloe, the heroine’s Siamese.
My favorite thing about starting a new book is getting to know the characters, and the kinds of pets they have tell me a lot about them. Are they cat people or dog people? Do their pets share some of their character traits? What can I say? I love animal-lovers, and whether or not the people I meet in stories and in real life have pets of their own, they are more special to me if they love animals, too.
So yes, if I were Queen of the universe, pets would have humans who provide everything they need to live a long, happy and healthy life…and they would never ever have fleas!
Do you have a favorite pet you’d like to tell us about? A favorite book that has animals in it? Please tell us about them! One commenter on this post will win autographed copies of my Ready Set Sold series. Happy reading!
An excerpt from The Daddy Project (Harlequin American Romance © 2012)
Kristi Callahan rang the doorbell of her dream home. A sprawling 1960s rancher with two fireplaces, a breezeway separating the house from the two-car garage, and enough West Coast flair to appeal to potential buyers searching for their own dream home in one of Seattle’s family-friendliest neighborhoods. And it was just her luck to be on the wrong side of the door.
This house was well beyond the reach of a single mom raising a teenage daughter on a single mom’s income, but that didn’t stop her imagination from playing with the idea of actually living in a house like this someday. And since she’d been hired to get this one staged for the real estate market, she would at least get to put her personal stamp on the place before returning to reality. Her modest two-bedroom town house was no dream home, but it was hers. Or it would be hers in twenty-three and a half years.
The other reality was that by the time she and her team at Ready Set Sold were finished here, this client would get top dollar, even in today’s less-than-stellar market, putting this house even further out of her reach.
Speaking of clients, she had an appointment and she was only five minutes late. Okay, eight, but surely Mr. and Mrs. McTavish hadn’t given up on her and gone out. There was a big silver-colored SUV and two pink plastic tricycles parked in the driveway but that didn’t necessarily mean anyone was home.
She dug her phone out of the side pocket of her bag. No messages, no missed calls. Taking care not to get tripped up by a tattered teddy bear missing half its stuffing and three small yellow rubber boots strewn across the wide front step, she rang the bell again, and waited. A moment later her patience was rewarded with footsteps, lots of them. Two identical faces with earnest blue eyes and blond Cindy Brady pigtails appeared in the glass sidelight next to the door. One had her thumb in her mouth; the other’s pigtails were oddly askew. No doubt these were the tricycle riders. And then they were dwarfed by a huge dog whose head appeared above theirs, a panting, drooling Saint Bernard.
“Is your mommy home?” Kristi asked, loud enough so they could hear.
Their pigtails shook from side to side.
The dog pressed its moist nose against the glass.
Hmm. The children stared at her but made no attempt to summon a grown-up. Surely they hadn’t been left here on their own with only a dog to look out for them. A dog that let loose a strand of drool that now slithered down one of the blond pigtails.
Gross. Kristi quickly looked away and reached for the doorbell yet again, pulling her hand back when another set of footsteps, heavier ones, approached from the other side of the door.
The man who opened it was wearing faded blue jeans, a gray T-shirt with what appeared to be a complicated chemical equation in green lettering stretching across his chest, and the annoyed expression of someone who wasn’t expecting anyone.