Carolyn J. Rose
When I wrote NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MURDER I thought of it as a single story, a standalone. Many readers, however, let me know they saw it as the beginning of a series. They liked the characters, they liked the voice, but most of all they liked Cheese Puff, the protagonist’s entitled dog.
Readers got in touch to suggest things that could happen to the ten-pound orange mutt. Those ideas got into my head. They grew. And more stories emerged.
Before I knew it, Cheese Puff, although neutered, fell in love with a long-legged Golden Retriever named Lola. He acquired a number of outfits, including formalwear. He went on shopping excursions, to plays and movies, and out to gourmet dinners with Mrs. Ballantine and members of the Cheese Puff Care and Comfort Committee. He was even kidnapped by a drug dealer.
In the latest book, NO SUBSTITUTE FOR MISTAKES, someone starts a cat-bashing blog in his name, his life is threatened, and he tangles with a rogue duck. To his chagrin, a cat comes to the rescue.
I’m grateful to Bubba, the pound puppy we took in 15 years ago this month, for providing the inspiration for Cheese Puff. She’s given me unconditional love, plenty of attitude, and constant reminders that it’s not all about me. “Small dogs,” Dr. Blair Ferguson told me when we took Bubba to his veterinary clinic for her shots, “rise each morning with one thought in mind—I will bend you to my will.”
Boy, did he nail it. But, I have to admit, there’s a certain freedom to knowing I’m not in charge.
Bubba won’t be with us much longer, but she’ll live on as long as Cheese Puff has adventures.