Susan Wilson Gives Insight into Her Writing Process

Susan Wilson, author of The Dog Who Saved Me, gives insight into her writing process.

I’ve been asked many times if my terrier cross, Bonnie, is my inspiration for the fictional dogs in my books. The answer is, not really. She is certainly a dog, and a handy reference point for all things canine.  However, her personality doesn’t line up with the characters I write, i.e. she’s a diva. She is secure in her position in life, unlike Chance who needed safety and a home, or Mack who needed to be reunited with his owner. Pax needed to be needed. In the latest book, The Dog Who Saved Me, the yellow dog of the story needs rescue. The only thing Bonnie needs is two cookies in the afternoon. 

I started writing about the relationship between dogs and their people after Bonnie came into our lives twelve years ago. Having a dog has meant that I have become part of the Tradewinds dog walking community, and that has given me ample opportunity to study dogs and their interactions with each other and with their people. My work is informed by watching dogs meet, greet, romp and race around enjoying the freedom of the unofficial dog park. Tails up, ears folded, dominance and submission are there to be studied like a textbook on canine behavior. 

But, is Bonnie herself my muse? She is my constant companion, my pal.  My wingman and my navigator. My confidante. Not my child, although she began her life here as an empty-nest surrogate. What she has taught me is that a good dog isn’t necessarily a heroic Lassie or brave Rin Tin Tin, she’s the dog sleeping next to me while I work and the reason to get up and go for a walk. So, yes, I guess that she is my muse.

—Susan Wilson

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