Friday, January 12, 2007

The Other Hero . . .

I know I've said that the hero of The Santorini Bride is called Theo. And he is. Really. He's the one who gets the girl. The hero, like I said.

But don't tell that to Ted.

Who's Ted? you ask.

Well, Ted is, if you will, the other hero of the book.

He is the hero on the spot. The guy who steps in when Theo is on the other side of the earth and captures Sadie's heart.

Ted is everything a hero should be -- loyal, kind, devoted, smart, clever, honorable, creative, protective.

He's also a dog.

A very special dog. A French bulldog.

When I was in the process of writing The Santorini Bride and discovered that Sadie needed a new "man" in her life -- preferably a canine gentleman -- I knew she couldn't have my time-honored wonderful golden retriever or flatcoat retriever. She lived in a tiny apartment. She needed a dog who would fit.

But not being a "small dog" person myself, I didn't know the first thing about small dogs (except that I didn't care for the one my dad had -- breed to remain anonymous -- who barked constantly and tried to kneecap me every time I got up to answer the telephone). Suffice to say Chewy (aptly named though he was) was not a French bulldog.

But with the luck of a writer, I had recently regained contact with a friend of many years ago. And she came not only with all the wonderful things I remembered about her, she also came with a friend who was a muralist (which is what Martha is) AND a houseful of French bulldogs.

Wonderful dogs, she assured me. "Think Golden Retriever in a small quiet package -- with a creative mind," she told me.

And she introduced me to Chuck.

Chuck (formally known as Champion DuchWar FullMoon Chuck the Ace) was Ted's inspiration. I have piles of emails about Chuck. I had long telephone conversations about Chuck. I learned about Chuck's battles with the vacuum cleaner, about his on-going war with recycleables, about his determination to keep his family safe from all harm (as well as the rug-shampooer). I was regaled with tales of Chuck's brilliance, Chuck's devotion, Chuck's charm.

And I believed every bit of it because it was there in her voice: the love she felt for Chuck brought him to life for me. It gave Ted life, too. Everything he became he owes to Chuck. In fact he probably doesn't hold a candle to Chuck the Ace who, sadly, passed away this past year. He was supposed to get a dedication in the book, but someone along the line left it out.

Chuck deserved better. Still he, like Ted, would have been philosophical. He would have accepted a treat as recompense (provided it was one he approved of).

Writing about Ted was great fun. As the book went on he captured my heart as well as capturing Sadie's. And when Theo turns up, he has his work cut out for him. He has to convince Ted as well as Sadie of the sincerity of his intentions. It isn't easy.

And of course, Ted -- being Ted -- has the last word. Did you think he wouldn't?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anne! He is so gorgeous, bless his little squashed nose! I can't wait to meet him.

13 January, 2007  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

He certainly stole my heart, Liz! I hope you enjoy him.

13 January, 2007  

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