Meet the Author:
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Guest Post: Characters in Fur Coats
By Lauren Carr
Anyone who has read even one of my murder mysteries learns one thing instantly about me—I love animals. That’s love with a capital “L”. I can’t help it. I was raised on a farm surrounded by dogs, cats, cattle, horses, rabbits. When I moved out on my own, it was a given that I would have a cat or dog. I didn’t care which. If it has fur, feathers, paws or claws, I’m all over it.
So, when I started writing books, I naturally had to include furry characters. Now, if you haven’t read one of my mysteries, then don’t assume that I have animal detectives. No, my fur-covered characters are more realistic. They don’t talk or even do detective work. But, they are still characters who interact with the humans enough to be worthy of being listed in my cast of characters at the front of the book.
Let me illustrate.
Yesterday, we took Storm, our female German shepherd, to the vet for a check up. I was concerned that she has been looking more pudgy than she should. Now Storm (aka Sweetheart) is the sweetest, gentlest darling-est canine you would ever want to meet. But she gets very nervous when she goes for a ride in the car and my husband went along to hold her paw. When the vet came into the office, Storm squeezed in behind Jack’s knees. The vet had to get down on her hands and knees to examine her. As she was putting the stethoscope to Storm’s ribs, she turned to me and said, “You’re right. She is overweight.”
Suddenly, Storm’s eyes bulged and she lunged for the vet–barking and snarling. The vet jumped up to her feet and backed away. Jack held her back saying, “It’s okay, Storm. You look good.”
As the vet was backing out of the office, she apologized and said she should have been more sensitive. “Most women react that way when they’re told they’re overweight.”
Storm prefers to think of herself as “voluptuous.”
Now, any dog expert will immediately declare that Storm was not reacting to the vet’s comment as much as she attacked out of fear when the vet got too close. However, the imaginative writer in me, and my husband and vet as well, saw the pure humor in Storm’s timing to become violently offended at the vet’s comment about her full figure.
As a writer, I am constantly watching and studying people in my search for interesting characters. Often, one or two traits in a real-life individual will serve as a jumping off point to make for a wildly memorable character. I can honestly say that this is abundantly true with my fur-covered characters as well.
The famous Gnarly (Or should I say infamous?) is based on Ziggy, an Australian shepherd, that my son acquired as a puppy at a football game. I had had dogs all my life, but never did I have a dog who was as mischievous and smart as this one—until years later when I adopted a German shepherd puppy who I had named Gnarly after my fictional character. Ziggy was so troublesome that I had him analyzed by an animal behavioral expert who said that the pup was so intelligent that he was easily bored. Therefore, he looked for trouble to amuse himself.
Thus, Mac Faraday’s Gnarly was born!
Cat owners, have you ever met a one-person cat? Irving, the black and white Maine Coon who is identical to a skunk in my Lovers and Crime mystery series, is based on Duchess. Unlike Irving, Duchess’s markings were the reverse of a skunk. She was white with a black stripe down her back.
But, like Irving, Duchess was a one-woman cat. She was intensely jealous of my husband when he stole me away from her. One evening, I had spent a whole evening making a romantic dinner—chateaubriand for two for my new husband. We had candlelight, fire in the fireplace, champagne, the works. In our small first apartment, the dining area was in a great room, with the table set up next to the back of the sofa.
We had just started to eat when Duchess jumped up onto the back of the sofa and made her way down the whole length of it to where Jack was sitting. We couldn’t help but notice her because she slithered toward him with such a sense of purpose.
“Look at that,” Jack said as she moved up to his shoulder.
Looking right at Jack, Duchess moved in closer and then shot a giant hairball straight at his plate. Two points as the hairball landed right on top of the chateaubriand!
Jack and I screamed. Duchess flew off the sofa and disappeared for a very long time. No one missed the fact that she had deposited that hairball in Jack’s plate to send a message meant only for him—the homewrecker who had stolen her human.
It was that incident that inspired Irving, Cameron Gate’s one woman cat, who views her husband Joshua Thornton as competition for her affection. Recently, I decided to give Irving a break by giving him another human to attach himself to in Izzy, the Thornton’s adopted daughter.
I can’t resist using animal character because they are characters.
In Three Days to Forever and the Thorny Rose Mysteries, readers met Spencer is Jessica’s sheltie, a blue merle (her fur is bluish in color and she has blue eyes). Admittedly, Spencer is not very bright, but she is as adorable as can be. Murphy calls her Candi and she answers to that. The inspiration for this was my own family. My husband always renames our pets, who will then answer to anything.
Then, we have Newman. He is The Man in the Thorny Rose mysteries! Newman is based on our beagle, Beagle Bailey. A number of readers have told me about their canine couch potatoes. Newman has his chair, which no one is allowed to sit in, a television remote which he slaps with his paw to change channels, and he refuses to go for walks.
In a nutshell, Newman is the dog who doesn’t do anything—just like some people I know.
Some may arch an eyebrow at the notion of pets ranking high enough to be an actual character in a book. Those people, I must assume have never actually had a pet. Anyone who has welcomed an animal into their family knows that pets possess full blown personalities and even quirks just like humans.
Where does all these furry characters end? I really don’t know. Recently, I’ve been interviewing a horse in Texas who would like a role in the Mac Faraday Mysteries …
Meet the Narrators:
Over the past several years Dan Lawson has appeared in numerous spots for radio, television and the internet. He has worked with All-State, Sprint PCS, Mountain Dew and many more. His unique ability to mimic existing characters and celebrities has landed him diverse voice match work ranging from Charlie Sheen to Morgan Freeman.In 2008 Dan was cast as the first American voice actor for the Korean video game company, Nexon. Over the next several years Dan was the flagship voice of the company, appearing in such titles as Mabinogi, Maple Story, Vindictus, Dragon Nest, Dungeon Fighter Online and Atlantica. In total he has voiced nearly 100 characters for Nexon.In late 2012 Dan’s voice over career took an unexpected turn into book narration. His first audition landed him the job of narrating The Psychology of Twilight, a psychological look at the wide-spread obsession of the Twilight saga created by Stephanie Meyer. Eighteen more audiobook narrations have followed and show no signs of slowing down.
C.J. McAllister is an Audible Approved Producer — “Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business.” Only a small number are awarded this honor.
C.J. has produced best-selling audiobooks in multiple genres/styles, TV commercials/promo teasers, animation projects, interviews (TV and radio), corporate presentations.
James C. Lewis
Another Audible Approved narrator, voice actor James Lewis has established a solid reputation in fiction as well as non-ficton audiobooks. At latest count, he’s narrated nearly 50.
Although his specialty is noir fiction, James has done several non-fiction books as well on a range of people and subjects: Butch and Sundance, General Custer, Revolutionary War, psychic development, taxes.
James Lewis has been awarded the AudioFile Earphone Award for narration, “The Last Outlaws”. It’s about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
A broadcast veteran of over 30 years, Mike Alger is best known as the award-winning Chief Meteorologist for KTVN-TV in Reno, NV. He is also a successful author, having penned the Mystery-Thriller novel “Snow Storm,” and is the narrator of the audiobook of the same name.
May 8 – Library of Clean Reads – tour spotlight / interview with C.J. McAllister
May 8 – Corinne Rodrigues – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 9 – T’s Stuff – review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview / giveaway
May 9 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 10 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway
May 10 – TDC Book Reviews – review of Shades of Murder / author interview
May 11 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle / interview with Dan Lawson
May 11 – Blätterflüstern – review of Old Loves Die Hard / interview with James Lewis
May 12 – Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama – book spotlight / interview with CJ McAllister / giveaway
May 12 – Books, Dreams, Life – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 12 – The Cubicle Escapee – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 15 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 15 – Books for Books – review of Blast from the Past
May 16 – Books for Books – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
May 16 – And the Buck Starts Here – review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview
May 17 – Books for Books – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 17 – Lovely Loveday – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 18 – Blätterflüstern – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 18 – Writers and Authors – guest post / giveaway
May 19 – T’s Stuff – review of Shades of Murder / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
May 19 – Madison Loveday – book spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 23 – And the Buck Starts Here – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle / interview with Dan Lawson
May 23 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post by James Lewis
May 24 – Nighttime Reading Center – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 24 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – review of Dead on Ice
May 25 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – interview with James Lewis
May 26 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 26 – T’s Stuff – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
May 26 – Book Lover Promo – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 29 – Blooming with Books – review of Twelve to Murder / guest post / giveaway
May 30 – Literary Flits – review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 30 – Blooming with Books – review of Cancelled Vows / giveaway
May 31 – TDC Book Reviews – review of Blast From the Past / interview with Dan Lawson
June 1 – Working Mommy Journal – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 2 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review of Real Murder
June 5 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post
June 6 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – review of Dead on Ice
June 7 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – guest post by Mike Alger
June 8 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 8 – The Cubicle Escapee – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 9 – Nighttime Reading Center – review of Twelve to Murder
June 9 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Shades of Murder / giveaway
June 12 – Book review nature photos – review of Kill and Run / author interview
June 12 – Literary Flits – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 13 – Books for Books – review of Three Days to Forever
June 14 – Laura’s Interests – review of Cancelled Vows / interview with James Lewis / giveaway
June 15 – My Reading Journeys – review of Shades of Murder / author interview / giveaway
June 16 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 19 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 19 – By The Book – review of Kill and Run
June 20 – A Holland Reads – review of Dead on Ice / guest post / giveaway
June 21 – Laura’s Interests – review of Killer in the Band / guest post by Mike Alger / giveaway
June 22 – Melina’s Book Blog – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 23 – Melina’s Book Blog – review of Open Season for Murder
June 26 – Book review nature photos – review of A Fine Year for Murder / interview with C.J. McAllister
June 27 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Real Murder / giveaway
June 28 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Dead on Ice
June 29 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
June 30 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
June 30 – Outset – review of A Fine Year for Murder
July 1 – Writers and Authors – review of Dead on Ice
July 3 – A Holland Reads – review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 3 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 4 – Outset – review of Twelve to Murder
July 5 – The Journey Back – review of Dead on Ice / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
July 6 – Jessica Cassidy – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post / giveaway
July 7 – JBronder Book Reviews – review of Shades of Murder / guest post
July 10 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Three Days to Forever
July 11 – Rainy Days Reviews – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 11 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
July 12 – JBronder Book Reviews – review of Blast from the Past
July 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight
July 13 – Rainy Days Reviews – review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 13 – Elsie’s Audiobook Digest – review of Old Loves Dies Hard
July 14 – Jessica Cassidy – review of Shades of Murder
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