When I was a kid, I used to doodle this scruffy little black dog in the margins of my papers. I don't know where she came from. We never had small dogs when I was growing up, though a few Labs and a German shepherd crossed my path. But once this little black dog flowed out my pen, she kept popping up, decorating my notebooks and class notes with her melancholy face.
Fastforward many years. I'm grown with a DH and kids of my own. My parents have just lost a dog. I thought I could ease their sorrow by picking up a new one at the pound and housetraining it for them. (I'm a firm believer in rescued pets.)
"Yes," the lady at the shelter said. "We have one small dog, but she's been pining so I don't know if she's adoptable. We may have to put her down."
When I came into view of her cage, the little dog that had been unresponsive leaped up and pawed the air like a stallion. The dog seemed to know me and the shelter worker was astonished. "I've never seen her act like that," she said.
"It's my little black dog!" I said disbelievingly, remembering my doodles of her. The resemblance was as uncanny as her immediate joyful response to me. "I have to take her."
Susie and I formed an instant bond and needless to say, she did not go live with my parents. Instead, she became my almost constant companion. She was always ready to go wherever I went. Susie logged so many miles flying under the seat in front of me I wished I could get her a frequent flyer number.
I never forgot that sense of immediate connection when I first saw her. I knew her. I'd been drawing her for years.
So, since nothing is ever wasted on a writer, I decided to use that experience in STROKE OF GENIUS. My hero Crispin has been plagued by a recurring dream of a woman he's never met, so to exorcise this 'ghost' he sketches a nude portrait of her. Imagine his surprise when he meets her in the flesh. If you'd like to try an excerpt, click here.
Have you ever had a sense of instant recognition for someone whom you haven't met before?