Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner. She is the author of over thirty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and she has also been honored with a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and Harlequin Heartwarming. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.
My writing is going to the dogs lately. No kidding. It's strange how life parallels art sometimes. As I worked on Sit, Stay, Love, my first dog-themed book about a pro baseball pitcher and a geriatric pooch named Tippy, my own sweet old doggie was about to take her final walk. Nala was a part of our family for thirteen years and I knew that she was entering her final weeks as I pounded away on my keyboard. I found the scenes I wrote about the fictional Tippy were extra poignant, as I watched my sweet Nala enjoy napping in the sun and eagerly plodding along through her (slow) morning walks.
In addition to Sit, Stay, Love, I was working on a K-9 continuity for Love Inspired Suspense! I delved into the world of bloodhounds, otherwise known as “noses with dogs attached" for that story. So while my fictional dogs flourished, my own darling Nala passed away, just as both books were headed off to the editors. Oh how I cried. I still do. There will never be another dog like my adorable Nala, my writing partner, my devoted friend. For a long time the house felt empty without the jingle of her collar, and I looked for her in the hallway and lying on the grass in every patch of sunlight.
But time has a way of passing, doesn't it? Spring has brought us a wild, wiry little mutt named Junie. We went to the Animal Rescue foundation in search of an older, mid-sized dog and we emerged with a ten-pound puppy who adores her squeaky toys and steals my pencils at every opportunity.
Odd, that a similar wild, wiry little mutt named Jellybean is currently finding his way into my work-in-progress. Junie's a bundle of zany energy, she eats absolutely everything and as I type this, she is knocking all the pillows off the sofa. Will this insanity be a part of Jellybean's character in Paws for Love? Oh you betcha. I wonder what our box turtle will think after she awakens from her three-month hibernation to find out there's a puppy waiting to sniff, poke and pester her? "Doggone it!" I imagine she'll say before she goes to find a nice hole to hide in.
I don't even want to know what the parakeet thinks!