Thursday, 22 December 2016

Guest Post - Christmas Dog by T.A. Williams - #CuteChristmas

There are two question that I keep getting asked. Seeing as there’s always a black Labrador in my books, the questions are:

   Why the Lab?   and

   Which is my favourite Lab?

The answer to the first is easy, the second not so easy. The reason there’s always a Lab is because of good old Merlin. We got him as an abused child and he’d had a horrific first year of his life. He was pitifully thin and the vet told us he might live to 4 or 5. In the end, he managed to stay with us until he reached the ripe old age of 13. He wasn’t just a good dog, he was an exceptional dog and, if you believe in reincarnation, he must have been somebody really, really great. So, slipping a black Lab into my books is my homage to him.

   The answer to the second question isn’t so easy, because all the Labs in my books share certain characteristics.

   In common with all Labs, they all suffer from an eating disorder. When I say disorder, I mean they can’t stop eating. They are always hungry, and food disappears like magic when offered to them.
   They are all very good listeners. Now, I know we men aren’t supposed to be very good listeners and, I suppose I would have to admit that I’m not great. At least, that’s what my wife says. My Labs, on the other hand (or paw), are great listeners. Not great conversationalists, I must admit, but they’ve definitely got the listening thing off pat.

   They all offer solace and support. Merlin was the expert at this. If anybody in the house was feeling a bit down, the big black head would appear at their side. A heavy, hairy chin would rest on their thigh and a pair of soulful brown eyes would look up sympathetically.

   Choosing a favourite isn’t easy. So, here goes, in time-honoured tradition, I’ll give them in reverse order: 

3. In third place, Noah from my first book, Dirty Minds. Apart from an unfortunate tendency towards flatulence, and the fact that he dribbles whenever Chocolate Hobnobs appear on the table, he was a very good dog.

2. In second place, Dante the Italian Lab from What Happens in Tuscany. Dante, as well as the supportive thing and the listening thing, had the uncanny knack of suddenly appearing every time Katie set out on a walk. He never needed a lead, never bit the postman, never ran in front of cars and was always a reliable friend and companion.

1. But, in first place, it has to be Stirling from What Happens at Christmas. The thing I love most about him is his devotion to his dead master, Holly’s dad. Holly finds Stirling lying on an old sweater belonging to her father and it brings a tear to her eye. She takes him to the pub and he leads her to her dad’s favourite table. He forms a real link between her and the father she didn’t really know. 

   I’m a sucker for dogs and I love them all so it’s been a difficult choice. Anyway, if you want a Yuletide Canine fix, I would suggest you give Stirling a try.

   A very happy Christmas to my good friend Rachel and to you all.

And a very Merry Christmas to you too. I love your labradors in all your books, so clearly I need to read Dirty Minds to meet Noah, and Merlin is a cutie too. 

About T.A. Williams
My name is Trevor Williams. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, "Dirty Minds" one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn't possibly comment. Ask my wife...

 I've written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I'm enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it.

 I’m originally from Exeter, and I've lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away down here in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.

 My most recent books, published by Harper Collins, are the What happens… series. What happens in Tuscany reached #1 in the Romantic Comedy chart recently and What Happens on the Beach, the last in the series, came out in July. I’ve just finished writing two more romcoms, the first one, To Rome with Love, coming out next February and I also have a timeslip romantic thriller, Chasing Shadows, coming out in March, so it’s going to be a busy time for me.

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