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Author Pet Of The Month
Penelope Janu

My first victim is the delightful Penelope Janu, an award-winning author friend of mine who writes rural romance (aka small town romance in USA/Canada). As well as great human characters and beautifully evocative settings, her books have the best pets as characters ever. Who could resist Lottie the Lamb, or a border collie called Wickham? Her next book is due for release on Jan 4 and I have just received an arc in the mail. Yay.

The Fast Five.

Q1. Serial pet monogamist? Or ménage a pet?

We’re often a two-dog family, but currently have one dog (a Great Dane called Hermione) and one cat, called Siegfried.

Q2. Set the scene. – where do you hang out with your pet/s?

At home and in the garden and on long rambling walks with the dog!

Q.3 Pet character profile

Hermione. On a good day, loving and friendly. On a bad day, needy and slightly neurotic.

Siegfried. King of the World.

Q 4. Muse, distraction, or disruptor?

All three – which is exactly what a writer needs!

Q 5 Best pet in a book?

Can I talk about horses, not pets? When I was around ten years old, I fell in love with Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. I’m writing a horse character called Merrylegs in my current WIP. I’d like to have written a Ginger but would have spent the whole year in tears. I was also a fan of the Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby novels.

Beautiful depiction of an animal’s character always stays with me.  I hope I achieved something of that when creating an animal character in Clouds on the Horizon – a therapy border collie named Wickham. Like Jane Austen’s Wickham, the dog was not suited for the role expected of him, but was charming and likeable.


Part 2. Now we’re talking, or panting, or purring…Questions for both author and pet. 

Favourite treat.

Hermione: Penelope likes tea and chocolate

Penelope: H likes chicken necks

Siegfried: I don’t care what Penelope eats

Penelope: S likes tuna


Worst habit.

H: P sits on her bum all day

P: H follows me everywhere (including to the bathroom)

S: I don’t notice anything Penelope does

P: Siegfried baits Hermione and it’s Hermione who always gets into trouble

Best quality

H: Penelope getting off her bum and taking me for a walk

P: Hermione loves me unreservedly

S: Penelope feeds me

P: Siegfried doesn’t care whether he pleases you or not – he knows his own mind.


Bedroom truths – On the bed, under the bed, next to the bed, closed bedroom door. 3 in the bed. ????

 Hermione can’t fit under the bed. And as she is too large to share the bed* she sleeps in her own bed in the laundry. This also gives her access to her outdoor trampoline bed and her bouncy porch bed. In other words, Hermione has a lot of beds – just not mine.

* According to Hermione, this is absolute bullshit


Siegfried is a nocturnal and notorious bed-hopper, sleeping wherever the hell he wants (be warned, house guests)

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