We are so delighted to welcome back Annette Dashofy, Agatha-Award-nominated author of the Zoe Chambers mysteries!
Cats in Fact and Fiction
A friend recently asked me if I plan to include horses in all my books. It’s a fair question. In my Zoe Chambers mysteries, Zoe owns a horse and has managed a boarding and training facility in the past. During the last few books, she has moved onto her own fixer-upper farm and is once again boarding horses. In my recent single-title, Death By Equine, Veterinarian Jessie Cameron goes to work at a Thoroughbred racetrack and is surrounded by horses.
I may or may not include horses in all future books, but more than likely, cats will be a part of all of my protagonists’ lives.
Zoe owns two felines, both orange tabbies. Police Chief Pete Adams, Zoe’s partner in life, can’t tell them apart. But I know Jade and Merlin quite well. Jade is a female classic tabby with bullseye swirls on her sides. Merlin, the male, has tiger stripes plus white chin, bib, belly, and paws. How do I keep them straight? They’re based on two of my own cats who have long since crossed the rainbow bridge. Sammie Jo was the model for Jade. BooBoo was Merlin. Even the real cats’ personalities find their way into their fictional counterparts. Jade (and Sammie) loves to be petted but not held. Merlin (BooBoo) will cuddle and snuggle all day long. I really don’t understand how Pete can’t tell them apart.
In Death By Equine, which was written years before the Zoe mysteries even though it only came out this past May, Jessie also has two cats. Molly is a seventeen-year-old black and white long-haired tuxedo and is deaf. She meows loud enough so she can hear herself. Her model was Fluffy (yes, I know; not a very original cat name). Fluffy was still with us at the time I wrote the book but passed away shortly after its completion. She’s the reason I continue to immortalize my angel kitties in my fiction. By having the cats in the books, I get to keep their memories and their quirks alive.
Jessie’s second cat is a kitten who remains unnamed until the very end of Death By Equine. He’s based on my Alexander, right down to the near-tragic accident that brings the kitten to Dr. Jessie’s clinic and the surgery that saves him and gives him an unusual gait—and an unusual way of sitting.
Anyone who follows me on social media or gets my newsletter knows about my current cat, Kensi. I’ve been asked why she hasn’t appeared in any of my books. The reason is simple. I don’t follow a lot of superstitions, but since Fluffy died once “her book” was finished, I’ve been afraid to put one of my live cats in another. In other words, I hope Kensi won’t appear in my fiction for a very long time.
Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the multi–Agatha Award nominated Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township.
Her latest release, a standalone, is Death by Equine, about a veterinarian at a second-rate thoroughbred racetrack seeking the truth about her mentor’s mysterious death. She and her husband live on ten acres of what was her grandfather’s dairy farm in southwestern Pennsylvania with their very spoiled cat, Kensi.
For more information, please visit annettedashofy.com.
Veterinarian Jessie Cameron agrees to fill in for her mentor, Doc Lewis, at Riverview Racetrack so he can take a long-overdue vacation. When he’s tragically killed by one of his equine patients the night before he’s supposed to leave, Jessie quickly suspects the death is anything but accidental. Her search for the truth is thwarted by everyone from well-meaning friends to the police, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Undaunted, she discovers layers of illegal activities and deceit being perpetrated by the man she thought of as a father figure, creating a growing list of suspects with reason to want Doc dead. Too late, she realizes that her dogged quest for the truth has put her in the crosshairs of a devious killer desperate to silence her. Permanently.