The Chicks are delighted to welcome the fabulous Margaret Mizushima, author of the award-winning Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries!
Going to the Dogs
When I married my veterinarian husband thirty-seven years ago, little did I know that my life would soon be filled with dogs of all kinds, but mostly big ones of the working dog variety. The dogs that have joined our family over the years have included Australian shepherds, border collies, Labradors of various shapes and colors, German shorthair pointers, a Rottweiler, and several mixed breeds. We usually have four dogs at a time, and our furniture, floors, and clothing are often fuzzy with dog hair.
Having dogs in my life began when I was born, but in my parents’ home it was one dog at a time, two at the most. I grew up on a cattle ranch without other kids my age, and I spent hours observing dog behavior and their interactions. I learned about play posing (down in front and up in the rear with front legs stretched forward and an open-eyed grin), warning (bristled hackles on the neck with an upright, stiff-legged stance and a quivering upper lip to show glimpses of bared teeth), and the intense stare of a border collie as she herds sheep, cattle, or children, whichever the case may be.
When I decided to write a mystery series, it seemed only natural to include a veterinarian as a protagonist. I knew the vet’s life—I’d lived it for decades. But I was driven to write a police procedural, which led me to create a tough, female K-9 officer named Deputy Mattie Cobb and—of course—her German shepherd partner, Robo. The veterinarian, Cole Walker, became Mattie’s love interest and together they solve crimes in their small fictional town in the Colorado Rockies.
Robo grew rapidly into one of the main protagonists. I was lucky enough to have several K-9 handlers offer to let me shadow and watch them train. I attended police dog trials and competitions to observe police dog behaviors and skills, which gave me ideas for Robo’s skillset and for how he could be used to help solve crimes. When it came to describing Robo’s body language and facial expressions, all those years of dog watching paid off.
The Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries are police procedurals with heart and a focus on family and social issues, crossing over to cozy readers who love dog stories. But Gentle Reader beware! There is a smattering of bad language in the books—cops gotta cuss—and a small amount of violence on the page. I do promise my readers one thing, however—Robo will never die while on my watch! No repeats of Old Yeller for me!
Roger Caras once said, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Although there are folks who’ve had bad experiences with dogs or are just not “dog people,” I think dog-lovers would agree with Caras. I know one thing for certain: dogs will always be a part of my husband’s life, and so they’ll always be a part of mine. Putting up with dog hair in our home isn’t too bad…as long as we’ve got a good lint roller and vacuum handy.
Please tell us about your animal companions, dear readers!
Active within the writing community, Margaret serves on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America and was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals.
She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, on Twitter @margmizu, on Instagram at margmizu, and on her website at www.margaretmizushima.com.